Happy Valentine's Day! Whether you're celebrating the holiday or boycotting it, I think we can all agree it provides the perfect excuse to indulge in chocolate. As if we needed one :)
For weeks I've been planning to make a rich chocolate cake for Valentine's Day. The one I had in mind was completely over the top - the kind of cake I imagine you only need about two bites of to feel satisfied. The recipe was fairly involved and required some advance planning, and because procrastination is a way of life for me I ran out of time and couldn't make it happen. Well, not for Valentine's Day anyway. But, it just so happens that my birthday is later this month so I'll get another crack at it! I'm all about making my own birthday cake, no matter how many family members object and try to talk me out of it...
So I guess it's sort of true that this dark chocolate soufflé cake was my plan B, but it doesn't really do it justice to refer to it like that. It's impossibly dark and chocolatey thanks to the inclusion of not only cocoa powder, but also both semisweet and unsweetened chocolate. The recipe also calls for a hefty dose of instant espresso powder, which further enhances the chocolate flavor. While it's rich, the cake also has a light, airy texture and because it's from Cooking Light, it's actually not all that indulgent calories-wise. And that's a good thing because it means you can top your cake with a huge dollop of sweetened whipped cream without an ounce of guilt! The cake itself isn't very sweet, and I think the whipped cream would be the perfect accompaniment.
Whether you bake this dark chocolate soufflé cake as a last minute treat for your Valentine or enjoy it all on your own, just make it :) I'm spreading the love and sending most of ours to work with Shane tomorrow as a gift to his co-workers. Chocolate for everyone; it is Valentine's Day after all!
Dark Chocolate Soufflé Cake
from Cooking Light, November 1997
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
2/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Kahlua
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup cake flour
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
confectioners' sugar, to garnish
Preheat oven to 300 F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large saucepan, stir together 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar, the brown sugar, water, and espresso powder. Set the pan over medium heat and, stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cocoa powder, salt, semisweet chocolate and unsweetened chocolate. Whisk until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the Kahlua and the egg yolks just until combined then stir in the flour until incorporated. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, combine the egg whites and the cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until the egg whites are foamy, then (with the mixer still running) gradually add the remaining 1/3 cup of granulated sugar. Increase the mixer to medium-high speed and beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add 1/4 of the egg white mixture to the chocolate mixture and gently fold in using a rubber spatula. Fold in the remaining egg white mixture in three additions.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool completely in the pan. Remove the sides of the pan and dust the cake with confectioner's sugar before serving.