Chocolate Souffle Cakes [Project]

Souffle.  I have been wanting to make a souffle for a while, because A) It looks cool, and B) I’ve heard that it’s hard.  Actually, I think I got that impression from the old Audrey Hepburn movie, “Sabrina,” when she attends Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in France and learns to make a souffle.  In the movie, there are several scenes with the souffle, the first being “How to Crack an Egg,”  and the second (I think) being when they Bake Their Souffles

In the second scene, Sabrina is so preoccupied with her sorrow over disappointed love that she forgets to turn on the oven… So her souffle doesn’t get a chance to prove itself.  All of the other students have varying degrees of positive or negative results.  It’s actually quite amusing.  I love that movie.

At any rate, I have been wanting to make a souffle for a while… And today, to teach myself something new and test my fate with this technique, I decided to do it.  This is actually a souffle cake, which is similar to those molten lava cakes you see everywhere… They can be baked through, or with a soft (or partially unbaked center), yielding that hot gooey inside.  I hope to make many different kinds of souffles in the future, but this is a start– and I hope you enjoy reading about my experience!

Unfortunately, I can’t post the recipe, since I don’t own it.  It’s from James Peterson’s book, “Baking” (which I LOVE, by the way– and it is listed in the right hand column of this blog), so if you want to check out the recipe, check out that book!  It’s a keeper.  I intend to use a lot of his recipes in that book to teach myself new things, and consequently, to post on the blog.  
Regardless, here’s how it all went…

Like every recipe, I started by gathering up my ingredients.  I bought of a couple of little ramekins (about 4″ in diameter) to use for this.  Yay!  I’ve been wanting to own some, but never had an excuse to buy them till now.  🙂

Once I had everything assembled, I needed to get the ramekins ready.  This is done by coating the inside of the ramekins with room temperature butter and a dusting of cocoa powder.

Dun-na!

Next, eggs.  Eggs are the most important ingredient in a souffle, and I didn’t want to mess them up.  I kept thinking of that line from Sabrina, “It’s all in the wrist!” while cracking these eggs… Hehe, actually, I think I pretty much quote that every day, cracking eggs for various projects.

The eggs are whipped, whole, with a bit of sugar (not a lot) for a good 10-20 minutes, or until they form the “Ribbon” stage, which basically means they’re fluffy and hold their shape for about 5 seconds when you pull your spatula out to make them stand in a peak.  This is the entire body of the souffle– the recipe does not take any leavening.
The whites are then folded in with melted chocolate and butter, alternately with sifted flour.  The flour adds the cake texture, though the amount is extremely minimal.

Once combined, the batter is poured into the ramekins, and then…

YOU FREEZE IT!  Yup, freeze it.  The recipe says that if you want that molten lava effect, the best way to do it is to freeze it for a couple of hours before baking.  Genius! 

Then, frozen, you pop them into the oven for 17-20 minutes at a good high temperature.  I should have looked at the size of my ramekins more… The baking time was for 5″-6″ ramekins, and mine were smaller.  So, they were a little more baked than I would have wanted.  Next time, I’ll know.  Go easy on it.

But still, while not so much molten lava-y, they were perfectly baked.  Just under baked enough to be delightfully light and soft on the inside. 

The you dust with icing sugar…

And voila!

The recipe says to eat them warm– YAY!  I love eating warm baked things.  So, I did.

Eating the souffle was easy-peasy.  😉  And I definitely want to try out more souffle recipes in the future… Can’t wait to see how it goes.

What did I learn from this?  Well, I had a bit of a panic attack when I realized that I might have over-filled the ramekins– but nope, not at all.  They were perfect.  So, I learned that filling them 3/4 full was just right, and that next time I want to bake them less.

Otherwise, I was affirmed in my decision to follow the recipe carefully.  Because, I did… And well, the ever-so-difficult-souffle was not a hard thing to achieve.  Not this time, anyway. 

Have you conquered any great feats in the kitchen recently?  I’d love to hear about them.

Thanks for reading; back soon!

Happy baking,

–Naomi

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