Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Chocolate Soufflé Cake
While I love summer's bounty of stone fruits and berries, all of which make lovely pies and cobblers, I crave chocolate all year round. A reliable chocolate dessert is an item that should be on your repertoire no matter the season. Enter chocolate soufflé cake: a pillowy, simply chocolate delight that can be whipped up with just five ingredients.
The texture of this dessert really sets it apart from the overly-dense and sticky flourless chocolate cakes I have tried. This one is soft and perfectly moist, the pieces crumbling as you remove a slice and almost melting on your tongue. The secret to this cake is in the technique: the whipped egg whites provide a beautiful lift and airiness. You know your egg whites are stiff when they hold their shape on the beater or they don't fall when you invert the bowl. Do not fall victim to perfectionism when folding the batter together in the final step; work smoothly and efficiently just until the egg whites and chocolate are combined. Since there are so few components to this recipe, good-quality chocolate is essential. I recommend Scharffen Berger or Cordillera, both of which can be found at Whole Foods.
Chocolate is a wonderful canvas for other flavors; you can dress this cake up according to your personal preferences. Serve it with a dollop of lightly whipped cream and fresh berries, a scoop of vanilla bean or coffee ice cream, or simply a tall glass of cold milk.
Recipe courtesy of The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup water
4 egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
5 egg yolks
1/4 tsp salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper and grease the sides with butter.
2. Place the 1/4 cup water and chocolate in a medium bowl and melt the chocolate over a double boiler; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until they reach the soft peak stage. Slowly stream in 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form; set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks, salt, and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar on high speed until the batter forms a ribbon (about 5 minutes). Add the melted chocolate to this yolk mixture and beat on medium speed for an additional minute just to incorporate the two. Fold the egg whites into this mixture in thirds, making sure not to overfold. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 25 minutes. The center of the cake should be moist but not raw.