September 6, 2019 - Written by: Nancy Pollard
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Paul Child's photo of Louisette Bertholle, Simca Beck and Julia ChildShe was considered the “real” cook from the trio that made a name for Julia Child.  Julia was the technician, Diabolo chocolate cake made by Wendy Battaglino, Louisette was apparently the dreamer, but Simca was considered a tour de force in recipe development.  Especially chocolate as that was her husband’s favorite dessert flavor.  Simca Beck’s Diabolo chocolate cake is from her first independent cookbook, Simca’s Cuisine, released over thirty years ago in the US.  This single layer chocolate cake is easy to make with a thin chocolate glaze. Full of flavor without being a fudge bomb. It promises a happy ending to any celebration with one of two buddies – whipped cream or ice cream.



Le Diabolo
A simple one layer cake which packs not only keeping power, but the flavors are just seductive
  1. 5.5oz (156gr) caster sugar
  2. 4 large eggs, separated
  3. 6 oz (170gr) mild bittersweet (55-62% cocoa solids) chocolate, chopped
  4. 5.75oz (163gr) unsalted butter
  5. 4 tbs (37gr) cake flour
  6. 2tbs (15gr) almond flour or powder.
  7. pinch of fine sea salt
  8. For the glaze
  9. 5oz (142gr) mild bittersweet chocolate (55-62% cocoa solids), chopped
  10. 4.5tbs (67ml) coffee or water or combination of both.
  11. 2.25oz (64gr) unsalted butter
  12. Instructions
  1. Butter an 8 inch (20cm) by 2 inch (5cm) cake pan and place a round of parchment on the interior base.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375F(190C)
  3. Butter the paper, then flour or use almond flour (or a combination of almond flour and cocoa) to coat the entire interior surface.
  4. Beat the sugar with the yolks until they are pale creamy yellow.
  5. Melt the chocolate and butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat (or over simmering water if your pan is thin) until the two are smooth and thoroughly mixed.
  6. Add the egg and sugar mixture, and stir briefly until well blended.
  7. Stir in the cake flour and the almond flour and set aside.
  8. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until the mixture is stiff. (I was taught to place a raw egg in the shell on the meringue and if it did not sink to the base, the consistancy was correct)
  9. Stir in one fourth of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, before folding in the remainder.
  10. Fill the cake pan (the batter should level off at about 1/4 inch from the rim) and tap it on the counter to distribute the batter evenly.
  11. Bake 20-23 minutes - the outside should be solid and the center a bit creamy, but not runny when tested with a sharp knife.
  12. Allow cake to cool before unmolding onto a cake rack.
  13. For the glaze
  14. Melt the chocolate with the liquid over hot water until smooth.
  15. Remove from heat and stir in butter.
  16. When the glaze has cooled somewhat so that it is pourable, but not syrupy, place the cake on the rack on a sheet pan.
  17. Pour over the glaze from the center and gently swipe it over the sides with an offset spatula.
  18. Swipe around the sides with glaze too.
  19. You can wipe up the drips in the sheet pan and finish the edges or top of the cake.
  20. You can toast some slivered almonds and decorate the cake with them.
  1. I refrigerate the cake and then bring it to a cool room temperature for serving.
  2. Rather than the slivered almonds, I use the croquant recipe (which keeps for months) in the Setteveli post of Kitchen Detail.
  3. Delicious with a garnish of whipped cream or ice cream.
Adapted from Simca's Cuisine
Adapted from Simca's Cuisine
Kitchen Detail
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