I know it's been a bit heavy on the baking here this week but what with the holidays upon us and my lost week last week, I'm playing catch up and besides we can always make room for chocolate cake, right? Especially when the words dark and soufflé are included! If I had to narrow it down to just one chocolate cake to eat for the rest of my life (and this is a biggie folks) I would probably choose this one, because it is an intensely and thoroughly chocolate-y experience and I don't say that lightly. It's also one of the easiest cakes to make and whenever and wherever you serve it, people will swoon!
Chocolate soufflé cakes are not new--they were all the rage in the '90's when nearly every fancy restaurant had some version of it on their menu, but they have since fallen out of limelight and I'm here to say, it's time to bring 'em back, baby!!
Hard to believe but there are only 5 ingredients at play here: butter, sugar, chocolate, vanilla and eggs. But oh, how they come together. Partly what gets me every time is that crisp almost crackly top juxtaposed with that velvety smooth, decadent, but not overly sweet interior. Sheer heaven!!
When the cake first emerges from the oven, it's all puffy but as it cools, it sinks, so you get that neat crater-like effect.
If you're still looking for a show-stopping holiday dessert, you can't go wrong with this. In addition to being really easy to make, it's also flour-free so it's perfect for guests with gluten issues. Now, I've managed to say quite a bit about it, but really doesn't the picture say it all? Happy Holidays!!
Dark Chocolate Soufflé Cake
Serves about 10 people (maybe more-this is very rich)
Prep Time: Only about 15 minutes active, but you need to leave time for the chocolate mixture to come to room temperature; Bake Time: 30-35 minutes
- 8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter cut into 8 pieces, plus additional butter for buttering the pan
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus more for dusting the pan
- 8 ounces of the best-you-can-afford semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I often use Lindt 70% or Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bar)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 large eggs, separated
1. Make sure oven rack is centered and preheat oven to 350ºF and butter a 9-inch springform pan. Dust lightly with sugar and tap out excess. Set aside.
2. Place the chocolate and butter in a medium, heavyweight saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring constantly. Once smooth and melted, remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Let cool to room temperature.
3. Use an electric mixer to beat the egg yolks and sugar together on high speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is thick, pale yellow and ribbons form when you lift up the beaters. Carefully fold about 1/4 of the egg mixture into the cooled chocolate to lighten it. Then, pour the lightened up chocolate into the rest of the egg mixture and fold together gently to combine.
4. In a separate large bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Gently fold about 1/4 of the whites into the chocolate batter to further lighten it and then fold in the remaining whites until just incorporated. Try not to over mix or the cake will be heavy and dense.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with a rubber spatula and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the edges of the cake are set but the center is still soft. It will finish setting as it cools. Cool the cake on a wire rack for about 5 minutes, then run a thin knife around the edge to loosen it from the pan and release the springform sides. Technically you could serve this hot but I like it better when it's fully cooled. It's great on its own or with some whipped cream on the side. Cut small slices--this is rich and wonderful.
Note: Recipe adapted from Fresh Every Day by Sara Foster. I tinkered around with this, cutting out the Kahlua and cinnamon. The pure chocolate flavor is just so good!