These charming little Fallen Chocolate Soufflé Cakes are flourless, elegant, outrageously rich, and deceptively easy to make. A little taste of heaven perfect for those seeking to keep things simple, yet fabulous.
Here’s a no-fail, impressive dessert to bake for the one(s) you love and easy enough for the novice baker to pull off. Light, fluffy, and decadently chocolatey, these little soufflés promise loads of sweet comfort. They are devilishly fudgy on the inside with a craggy, crispy top and I know that just by looking at them, they hardly need any selling at all.
If the word soufflé conjures images of deflated cakes gone wrong, you will be elated to learn that these are supposed to deflate, crack, and sink once cooled. How fun! When baked, the edges and top develop a delicately crisp crust while the moist and soft center collapses in the middle.
Yes, these little cakes are screaming to be made for Valentine’s Day, but make them once and you will be making them over and over, even in the absence of anything to celebrate. Serving them all by themselves, is perfectly fine. But to truly guild the lily, serve your cakes with an evocatively indulgent whipped mascarpone cream. Because should you do so, you will be telling everyone that cares to listen that you have never eaten anything so good in your entire life.
About Fallen Chocolate Soufflé Cakes
Chocolate soufflés cakes are very old-school but their appeal has proved to be timeless for good reason: delightfully rich, fudgy, yet light and fluffy and easily made in under an hour. Some of the most experienced bakers are afraid of soufflés fearing they will never rise, or that they need to be served immediately before they fall. Fallen soufflé cakes eliminate all those fears.
The individual servings are perfect for those seeking to indulge their sweet tooth with something small and fudgy, but you can absolutely make this in a regular sized cake pan.
Ingredients For Fallen Chocolate Soufflé Cakes
This recipe has a very short main-ingredient list. You can play around with the sugar quantity, as well as using a sweeter chocolate, without negatively impacting your cake.
- Chocolate – Chocolate is the star ingredient in this cake so it important to use a high-quality brand. The recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate, so use one with at least 60% cacao. I used Ghirardelli. You could use semi-sweet chocolate if you prefer a sweeter cake.
- Eggs – The eggs in the cakes need to be separated. The yolks will give structure to the cake and the whipped egg whites make it light and airy.
- Butter – The butter gives this chocolate soufflé its creamy richness. I have used salted and unsalted and both work great. If you use salted butter, reduce the extra added salt to just a pinch or eliminate it all together.
- Sugar – I use 2/3 cups sugar and this makes my soufflé cake plenty sweet. If you have a very sweet tooth, go with 3/4 cup.
- Salt – Adding salt to this dessert is essential to sharpen the flavours.
- Vanilla – I don’t believe the flavour is that noticeable in this dessert but I seem to always want to add it anyway. You choose.
- Powdered sugar – as an optional topping
- Cocoa powder- as another optional topping.
- Whipped Mascarpone Cream – It is optional to serve this deliciousness on the side. But do trust, you really want to give this one a try at least once in your life. So, so good.
Tips For A No-Fail Chocolate Soufflé
Making a successful soufflé is not as difficult as you may think, but it does require attention to detail.
Here are my best tips for success:
- Use good quality chocolate. I know I mentioned this already, but it’s important. Your chocolate soufflé will only be as good as the chocolate you use.
- Butter and sugar-coat your ramekins. Liberally butter the base and walls of your pan or ramekins. Be sure to go all the way to the top. This will ensure the soufflés have something to catch on to as they rise up.
- Don’t burn the chocolate. Make sure the bowl does not touch the simmering water when you are melting the chocolate. Melt it gently and don’t let it get too hot. Remove the bowl from the water pot as soon as everything has melted.
- Don’t over-whip, or under-whip the egg whites – Over-whipped egg whites become dry and foamy which will in turn make your cake dry and foamy. No bueno. Under-whipped egg whites will not provide enough lift and airiness to the batter. This will prevent the soufflé from rising. Also, no bueno. Whip until the whites form glossy, soft peaks.
- Add the whipped egg whites gently. Pay careful attention in the recipe instructions on how to fold the egg whites into the chocolate mix. You will do this in stages to first lighten the mixture, then carefully, but fully, incorporate the rest.
How To Make Fallen Chocolate Soufflé Cakes: Step-By-Step Instructions
At its simplest, all this recipe requires is melting chocolate and butter, whisking half of the sugar with the egg yolks, combining both of those mixtures together, then beating the egg whites with remaining sugar. You then fold the egg whites with the chocolate mixture, pour into a pan, bake, and enjoy.
Here is the step-by-step with photos:
Brush the ramekins with butter then sprinkle with sugar. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites.
Melt chocolate and butter over simmering water.
Whisk the eggs, half of the sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl then slowly pour the egg yolk mixture into the chocolate mixture.
Beat the egg whites and remaining sugar until soft and glossy peaks form. Gently fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Use large deliberate but gentle strokes by gliding your spatula down the middle of the mixture, then folding it over to incorporate the whites without deflating them. Fold in remaining egg whites in two additions.
Pour the mixture into the prepared ramekins right to the top. Smooth the tops gently with an offset spatula or knife. Bake for about 15-17 minutes until puffed and starting to crack.
Let cool, and serve with optional toppings such as powdered sugar, cocoa powder, fresh raspberries, and mascarpone cream.
Chocolate Soufflé Toppings
These fallen chocolate soufflé cakes look and taste absolutely wonderful plain. But they are even more aesthetically and gastronomically desirable if dressed up a little. Dust with a bit of icing sugar or cocoa powder, or both. Fresh raspberries are yummy with chocolate and will also enhance the Valentine’s Day theme.
Go all out and serve them with a side of whipped cream or ice cream but if you want true glory, serve them topped with whipped mascarpone cream. An absolute dream come true.
Ramekins or Springform Pan To Use
Various sizes of ramekins or a springform pans all work for this fallen chocolate soufflé cake recipe.
Depending on the size of your ramekins or pan, this recipe will make the following:
- Eight 6-ounce ramekins
- One 9-inch springform pan
- Four 8-ounce ramekins
I had only four of the cute 6-ounce ramekins you see in the photos so I filled the remaining batter with with other mismatched ramekins (not shown).
Make Ahead And Freeze
Chocolate soufflé cakes are best served the day you make them to get the full effect of the crispy top and the soft interior. That said, I have made them up to 2 days ahead and they are no less delicious.
To make ahead: Bake the chocolate soufflé cake(s) and allow to cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and store on the counter up to two days. If you prefer to serve them warm, you can cover the unbaked, batter-filled ramekins (or pan) with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for up to two hours. Bake as directed.
Other Desserts You Might Enjoy
Fallen Chocolate Soufflé Cakes
For the ramekins (or pan)
- 8 6 ounce ramekins or use a 9-inch springform pan
- 1-2 tablespoons soft or melted butter
- 3-4 tablespoons sugar plus more, if needed
For the chocolate soufflé
- 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate 60% cacao or higher, coarsley chopped
- 8 tablespoons salted or unsalted butter (1 stick) cut into 1-inch pieces
- 5 large eggs yolks and whites separated (preferably at room temperature - *see notes)
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar, divided
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt omit if using salted butter
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
For the whipped mascarpone cream
- 1 cup mascarpone
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar or more to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°. Brush insides and rims of ramekins with butter, using straight upward strokes all the way around sides. Place the 3 tablspoons sugar inside 1 ramekin (or pan) and swirl it around to coat. Tap out excess into the next ramekin and repeat until all ramekins are well coated, using more sugar if necessary. Set aside.
- Combine the chopped choclate and butter pieces in a large heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a large saucepan with just a few inches of simmering water. (The bowl should not be touching the water). Stir gently with a rubber spatula just until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and set aside to cool slightly.
- In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks, 1/3 cup sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Slowly whisk yolk mixture into chocolate mixture and combine well.
- Using a stand mixer, or handheld electric mixer on medium speed, beat egg whites until frothy, about 30 seconds. Once the egg whites look frothy, increase speed to medium-high and with mixer running, gradually add remaining 1/3 cup sugar; beat until glossy and soft peaks form that hold their shape but aren't too stiff or dry, about 2 to 3 more minutes.
- Using a large spatula, very gently fold about one-third of egg whites into chocolate mixture to lighten it. Use large deliberate but gentle strokes by gliding your spatula down the middle of the mixture, then folding it over to incorporate the whites witout deflating them. Using the same technique gently and carefully fold in remaining egg whites in 2 additions, until barely any streaks remain.
- Spoon into prepared ramekins right to the top and gently smooth the tops with a knife or offset spatula. Place ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet and transfer to oven. Immediately lower temperature to 375° and bake soufflés until they have risen and wobble slightly when jostled, 14 to 16 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is, or how fudgy you like them. If baking in a 9-inch pan, the batter will not come to the top; cook for 30 to 40 minutes.
- While the cakes cool, make the whipped mascarpone cream. Place the mascarpone, cream, and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a handheld mixer). Beat on medium low to combine the ingredients then increase speed to high. Beat until thick and creamy, about 2 minutes.
- Serve the chocolate sufflés with optional toppings, and whipped mascarpone cream, if desired.
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