A friend’s birthday called for the making of something celebratory. I was told she loves chocolate, so a chocolate soufflé cake seemed like a natural choice. The original recipe was a cranberry-chocolate cake; however, I adapted it somewhat to allow for the fact that I couldn’t find cranberries.
adapted from Bon Appetit Desserts
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), chopped
10 tbsp unsalted butter
7 extra-large eggs, separated, room temperature
1 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar, divided
⅓ cup Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
3 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), chopped
1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
⅓ cup fresh strawberries. sliced
Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and sugar 9″ diameter springform pan with 2½” high sides. Melt both chocolates and butter in top of double boiler set over simmering water, stir until smooth and remove from over water. Using electric mixer, beat egg yolks with ¾ cup plus 1 tbsp sugar until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Gradually beat in Grand Marnier on low speed. Then stir in chocolate mixture until just incorporated. In another bowl, with clean dry beaters, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add in remaining ¼ cup sugar and continue beating until stiff but not dry. Gently fold into chocolate mixture.
Pour batter into springform pan. Bake until top forms crust but inside is still moist, about 45 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack (cake may fall in the center as it cools).
For the topping, melt chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water until smooth. Remove and cool until just warm to the touch. With electric mixer, beat cream until soft peaks form. Fold in melted chocolate and then Grand Marnier. Place cake on platter and spread with 1½ cups of chocolate cream, leaving ½” border around edge of cake. Arrange strawberries into whatever pattern you’d like and sprinkle lightly with sugar.
A few notes on preparation: The original recipe actually called for poached cranberries on top; however, I couldn’t find fresh cranberries but could actually find inexpensive fresh strawberries. Strawberry and chocolate is always a good combination.
The cake seemed to be a hit, with party goers repeatedly expressing their admiration for it. It was a bit difficult to serve, as the outer crust was somewhat crumbly. The cake was quite dense, so I could see perhaps cooking it for a few minutes less. I did have leftover chocolate cream topping, which I think I would layer on even thicker next time. The topping lightened the richness of the cake itself, so more topping would lighten things up nicely. All in all, a delicious job well done!