If you’re looking to impress someone special on Valentine’s Day, then it may finally be time to tackle the soufflé. While it has a reputation for being difficult to master, this dish is perfectly doable once you take the pressure off yourself and carefully read the instructions.
Something to keep in mind is when the instructions say “fold,” it means “fold.” The magic behind this dish are the tiny air bubbles you’ve whipped into your egg whites so treat them with care. In the end, it’s perfectly OK if your soufflé deflates! In fact, most soufflés fall shortly after being removed from the oven. So if you want your guest to see the puffed up dish in all its glory, serve it immediately after removing it from the oven and let it sit before digging in (warning: it’s hot).
And if all else fails, remember: practice makes perfect! It may a few tries but in time, you'll fall in love with this dish (if you haven't already).
Chocolate Soufflé Cake
Makes one 10” cake or 8-10 8 oz. ramekins
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped, + more to prepare the cake pan
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
9 large eggs, separated
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided, + more to dust cake pan
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon water
1 pinch table salt
1/3 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
whipped cream (optional)
fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced (optional)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 10x3-inch round cake pan or 8-10 ramekins. Cut a circle of parchment paper to line the bottom of the pan; butter the parchment; dust entire pan with sugar. Clean the lip of the pan so no butter or sugar is on it. Reserve.
In a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water, melt the chocolate and 2 tablespoons of butter. Keep warm; reserve. In a large bowl, mix the egg yolks and 3/4 cup of sugar, using a Cuisinart® Hand Mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, until pale and thickened. Whisk in the cooled chocolate mixture. Reserve.
Wash and dry the whisk attachment well and whip all the egg whites, water and salt until foamy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add the remaining sugar and whip to a medium-stiff peak, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir a very small amount of the meringue into the chocolate/yolk mixture. Gently fold 3/4 of the meringue into the lightened chocolate/yolk mixture, using a large rubber spatula until the ingredients are incorporated. Sift in the flour and gently fold into mixture. Gently fold the remaining meringue. Pour into prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes, until cake has puffed and appears dry, but still soft to the touch.
Turn cake out onto serving plate and remove pan and parchment. Top with whipped cream and strawberries, if desired. Serve immediately.