I THINK I’m the only person I know who doesn’t like chocolate.
In a food column I used to write for the newspaper, the signature question I asked the subject every week was “What would your last meal be?”. Many of them said chocolate, and I never understood it. What’s the big deal about chocolate? If I were to answer the same question, I’d say anything with whipped cream or butter.
Anyway, there is one chocolate item that I really like – my auntie’s Queen of Sheba. I don’t know why it’s called that, my auntie doesn’t either – she adapted the recipe from some baking class she took ages ago. But it was the first chocolate cake I ever liked.
I think it’s because it’s so moist and rich in butter, with spots of grated chocolate bits scattered throughout, that it’s in effect a chocolate chip butter cake. Not surprisingly, it’s a bestseller in her bakery in Kota Kinabalu.
The good news is, I’ve learnt how to make this cake on my trip to KK two weeks ago to visit my auntie. No more asking my mum if she’s brought back any Queen of Shebas every time she returns from a holiday there. I can make it myself now.
And I must say, it is a curious recipe. As far as I know, it breaks three basic baking rules: Use cold, hard butter, use cold eggs, and whip eggs whites beyond stiff – till it’s clumpy and almost dry. Somehow, the cake still emerged super moist, super tender and with a great crumb.
How does it work? I don’t know. I just eat.