Thursday, July 7, 2011
I don't crave desserts very much but when I do it's usually a bite of rich, dark, creamy chocolate.
I love this chocolate almond souffle cake! I made it with my students a couple weeks ago when I was teaching in the mountains of northeastern Georgia at the Beechwood Inn. Why do I love it so much? It's my favorite kind of dessert.... It's not very sweet but being ever so chocolate-y makes up for it. We used to make a version of this gem when I worked at Chez Panisse. And can you believe, I'm still making it years later.
A few tips about the cooking time... It's crucial that you cook it long enough or the center with be gooey and the sort of gooey that's not very enjoyable. It's more like uncooked cake batter. And if you cook it too long, the cake will be dry. So make sure you use a timer and that your oven temperature is accurate. The recipe has very little flour and the eggs are separated so it rises like a souffle and once you take it from the oven, it falls slightly. Don't be surprised!
OK, I saved the best part for last... You can make this cake 5 days in advance and leave it covered with aluminum foil on your counter (that is if no one eats it). Five days later, it's just as good as the day you made it. You can't say that about many cakes.
To serve, all I do is top it with a sprinkling of toasted sliced almonds and a dusting of powdered sugar. A dollop of soft cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream alongside and you have a chocolate cake that's almost as good as my Mom's!
CHOCOLATE ALMOND SOUFFLE CAKE WITH SOFT CREAM
1 cup unsalted butter
9 ounces excellent quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons brown sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ cup toasted almonds
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
Butter the sides and bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with butter and line the bottom with parchment. Dust with flour and tap out the excess.
In the top of a double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate just until melted and smooth. Set aside and keep warm.
Preheat an oven to 350o F. Beat the egg yolks, white sugar and brown sugar just until mixed. While the chocolate is still warm, whisk the egg mixture into it. Grind the nuts and flour finely in a food processor. Stir into chocolate mixture.
In a bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar to form stiff peaks. Carefully fold the whites into the chocolate mixture. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until the cake is completely set around the sides but still has a soft and creamy circle, about 6 inches across in the center, 35 to 45 minutes. The cake should jiggle just slightly when you shake the pan gently. Cool the cake in the pan.
Just before serving, add the vanilla and confectioner’s sugar to cream and whip to soft peaks. Dust the top of the cake with confectioner’s sugar. To serve, cut the cake into wedges and serve a dollop of the cream on the side.
Serves 8 to 10