Teff Love: Queen of the Nile

queenofnile8I don’t do resolutions. Not really. My resolutions are probably just watered down versions of presumably good ideas (i.e. eat only one bowl of ice cream per night, not two OR buy more lotto tickets).

This year’s mini-resolution is something I have been working on (or meaning to work on) for the past couple of years: bake more with alternative flours. While I do not demonize regular old white flour, I do like the idea of exploring teff and buckwheat and ancient grains (who can resist the allure of the sexy sounding ancient grains?).


Luckily one of my favorite cookbook authors, Alice Medrich, wrote a new book, Flavor Flours, and it is ALL ABOUT baking with alternative flours. YES!!!

The first recipe I tried (on January 1st mind you) was a riff on Alice’s immensely popular Queen of Sheeba cake. This new version is equally delicious (if not more so) and it is made with teff flour and almond powder. Oh, and she renamed it Queen of the Nile cake…because why not? Teff flour by the by (from Alice’s book, Flavor Flours) is “150 times smaller than a grain of wheat and consist mostly of germ and bran.” Also: teff “…is loaded with calcium, protein, iron, vitamin C, and fiber as well as other nutrients.” Yup, this is a good resolution cake.


A few brief notes about this cake:

  • Teff flour is easy to come by these days and most local grocery stores have it. I picked mine up at a Whole Foods.
  • This is a super easy cake to make and pairs well with vanilla ice cream and fresh whipped cream (of course).
  • I always wrap my springform pan in tinfoil to prevent leakage onto the oven floor (just in case).

Queen of the Nile cake by Alice Medrich from her book Flavor Flours


½ cup whole almonds (with skins or blanched)
¼ teff flour
6 ounces 70% chocolate, coarsely chopped
¾ cup sugar
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
⅛ teaspoon salt
4 large cold eggs


Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 375℉.

Grease (with vegetable oil or butter) bottom and sides of 8-inch springform pan with removable bottom. Pulse the almonds and teff flour in a food processor until finely ground. Set aside.

Put the chocolate in a large stainless steel bowl, set it in a wide skillet of barely simmer water, and stir occasionally until nearly melted. Remove the bowl from the water bath and stir the chocolate until completely melted and smooth. Let cool to lukewarm. Add the almond-teff mixture, sugar, butter chunks, and salt and beat with the handheld mixer on medium speed until the ingredients are well blended and the mixture thickens and lightens slightly in color. Beat the eggs, one by one. Continue beating on high speed for a minute or two, or until the batter is fluffy and lighter in color; it should resemble fluffy chocolate frosting.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the torte comes out with a few moist crumbs. Set the pan on a rack to cool. Slide a thin knife or a small metal spatula around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake and allow the thin crust on top to sink as the cake cools. Let cool completely. Remove the pan sides and transfer the cake to a serving platter. The torte ca be kept at room temperature, covered, for up to 3 days.