Fallen Chocolate Soufflé Cake
Looking for an impressive but low-effort dinner party dessert? This chocolate soufflé cake is simple to make and has a rich and gooey mousse-like centre; a sophisticated dish.
Soufflés are super fussy. Not only do you have to whip and fold perfectly, but also your guests better be ready when it is. This soufflé cake is the complete opposite. You want it to fall, so the top buckles and cracks while the inside grows mousse-y and rich. It’s really more like the lovechild of a brownie and a chocolate soufflé, sophisticated but simultaneously a rebel. Get the best quality dark chocolate you can get your hands on, but no more than 72% cacao, otherwise the cake can become dry and chalky. I like to use Valrhona Guanaja 70%. The chocolate here isn’t simply adding flavor, it’s important to the structure and texture of the cake. Low-quality, waxy baking chocolate or chips will make a low-quality cake. I like to have a slice of this alongside an ice-cold glass of milk or a White Russian.
|softened butter or cooking spray for the pan|
|315g (about 2 cups)||high-quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped|
|140g (10 tbsp)||unsalted butter, cut into pieces|
|53g (¼ cup packed)||dark brown sugar|
|20g (¼ cup)||Dutch process cocoa powder (see notes)|
|2 tsp||pure vanilla extract|
|2 tsp||Diamond Crystal kosher salt|
|5 large (about 275g)||eggs, separated|
|100g (½ cup)||granulated sugar|
|vanilla ice cream or cold milk|
You will need: 9 in (23cm) springform pan and a stand mixer or
Set up: Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan with butter or cooking spray and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.
Make the batter: In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate and butter and heat in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until melted. (Alternatively, combine the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Heat, stirring often, until melted and smooth.)
Add the brown sugar, cocoa, water, vanilla, and salt to the chocolate mixture and whisk to combine. Whisk in the egg yolks until evenly combined.
Whip the egg whites: In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk (or a large bowl if using a hand mixer—see Notes), whip the egg whites on medium speed until just beginning to look opaque and foamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and whip on medium-high until glossy and the meringue holds stiff peaks, 12 to 14 minutes. (To check, stop the mixer and remove the whisk from the mixer. Swirl the whisk in the meringue, lift it out, and flip it over. The meringue should hold straight with a tip that curls back onto itself. If it’s not there yet, continue to mix in 30-second intervals, stopping to check after each.)
Fold the meringue into the batter: Thoroughly stir half of the meringue into the chocolate base until smooth and evenly combined. Gently fold in the remaining meringue in two batches: Using the head of a stiff silicone spatula, cut down the center of the meringue, then turn the bowl while scooping the bottom of the meringue up and over the top. Repeat until the meringue is evenly distributed.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Firmly tap against the counter to distribute the batter and to burst any big bubbles.
Bake: Transfer to the oven and bake until the cake is puffed, cracked, and feels set, but when you insert a toothpick in the center it’s still moist, with an internal temperature between 180° and 185°F (82° and 85°C), 25 to 30 minutes. (Do not overbake or the cake will be crumbly and dry.) Transfer to a wire rack to cool, for at least 1 hour. (The cake will fall as it cools.) Unclip and remove the springform sides. Slide the cake off the springform bottom and onto a serving plate.
Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a glass of cold milk. (Tightly wrapped, leftovers can be stored at room temperature for 2 days, in the fridge for 1 week, or in the freezer for 1 month.)
If using a hand mixer, you will need to increase the speed by one level and double the mixing times.
If measuring the ingredients by volume, be sure to sift the cocoa first before measuring.