This week's Sweet Melissa Sundays was selected by my buddy Jeannette of Whimsical Cupcake: speakeasy. It's a fitting name given that the recipe is essentially a chocolate souffle cake that includes a healthy dose of brandy - 2/3 of a cup, in fact! Confession time - after checking out the recipe I almost decided to sit this one out. I've made enough of these chocolate souffle cakes (minus the alcohol) to know that I almost always feel like they're too rich for me. Also, I generally don't like to mix huge amounts of alcohol in with my baked goods; often I find that the alcohol overwhelms the other flavors. Neither of these reasons would be a big deal if I had someone to share the cake with, but I'm currently house sitting for Shane's parents while they're on vacation so I either need to freeze things or eat them myself for the next week.
All that said, we're nearing the end of our time with SMS so I'm trying to make as many of the recipes as possible. Luckily, this one scales pretty easily, which allowed me to quarter the recipe and bake my little cake in a 4.5-inch springform pan (versus the 8-inch pan called for). The batter consists of melted chocolate, butter, brandy, egg yolks, sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt, which is lightened by folding in egg whites and sugar that have been whipped to stiff peaks. Having done the math to scale back the recipe, I knew I couldn't quite fit all of the batter in my pan, so I had a bit of leftover, which would have worked well in a ramekin had I been that motivated.
The baking time was somewhat tricky, as the recipe calls for baking the full size cake for 80-90 minutes, but not checking it until 70 minutes in, so you don't risk deflating the batter. I didn't know what the total baking time would be for my mini, and I had even less idea how long I had to wait to avoid deflating the batter. I wound up testing for the first time when the cake looked sufficiently risen and appeared to have a firm surface, about 20-22 minutes after I put it in the oven. The toothpick I inserted came out clean immediately so I pulled the cake, slightly worried I might have overbaked it.
I skipped the chocolate glaze in the recipe, figuring the cake would be plenty rich for me without it. The verdict? The cake surprised me, in a good way. It wasn't overly rich and though I could detect the brandy in the recipe, it wasn't overpowering. The chocolate and alcohol actually complemented one another nicely. It's still probably not the first dessert I'd choose in a line-up, but I won't have any problem eating my mini. Many thanks to Jeannette for hosting this week. You can find the recipe for the speakeasy cake on her blog or on pages 201-203 of The Sweet Melissa Baking Book.