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A Classic Julia Child Chocolate Cake Baked In Convection

Updated: Feb 18, 2023

Nothing is more disappointing than baking a recipe you have long perfected in your new oven only to achieve abysmal results. In fact, the majority of issues I have helped people troubleshoot over the years have been related to baking issues.

A classic Julia Child chocolate cake bake in convection to perfection
Reine de Saba Chocolate Cake

Should I Choose Convection or Traditional Bake?

Having a variety of oven modes to choose from is a great feature of modern ovens; however, since recipes don't reference the tools we cook with, then choosing the best oven mode to use can be confusing.

Many years ago a client reached out for help because she was having trouble achieving good results with this wonderful sponge cake recipe made popular by Julia Child. The client used the Convection mode to bake the cake but because she had not reduced the temperature by 25 degrees the results were uneven. Overbaked on the edge and not quite done in the center.

When baking in convection reduce the temperature to avoid uneven cooking results
Testing for Doneness

In order to help her get the results she was used to we baked the recipe twice. Once in Convection, reducing the recipe temperature by 25 degrees, and once in the Traditional Bake mode with no temperature adjustment.

Both cakes turned out really well however there was a noticeable difference in the crumb. The cake baked in the Traditional Bake mode had a slightly drier crumb while the cake baked in Convection was more on the moist side. Since both turned out well it really comes down to personal preference as to which mode will give the best results.

Other Factors to Consider When Baking in Convection

Ovens have changed dramatically in the past twenty years, not only has the oven cavity become much larger, the electric heating element is no longer exposed it is now concealed so it stands to reason newer ovens will cook differently from older ovens. Even gas ovens have better temperature regulation and improved door seals which helps avoid uneven baking.

So if you are baking a recipe you have had for a long time and are you are unhappy with the results you may need to make some tweaks. The cooking time may need to be adjusted or the item baked on a different rack position. You could also consider using convection for part of the baking and finishing the item in the bake mode, just remember to adjust the temperature accordingly.

Baking The Queen of Sheba Chocolate Almond Cake in Convection

This is one of those recipes where the choreography is really important. It is essential to have all the ingredients assembled and everything organized before you start because there are quite a few steps involved and having certain ingredients at the right temperature is important as is working quickly with a light hand.

Have cake ingredients ready before you start making the cake
Cake Ingredients

First, the butter and sugar are creamed and combined with the egg yolks then the chocolate is gently melted and combined with the warm coffee, egg yolk mixture, almond extract, and ground almonds. Meanwhile, the egg whites are whipped to stiff shiny peaks, which will take about 8 minutes before being combined with the chocolate mixture and cake flour.

The recipe calls for an 8” cake pan and unfortunately I only had a 9” pan so it was a little on the thin side, but the texture and flavor were wonderful. This is a recipe definitely worth perfecting.

In my next post, I will be focusing on ways to cook fish in the Steam oven…..there are so many options.

Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast

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