Friday, April 29, 2011

Fallen Chocolate Souffle with Berries

This cake is for my nephew, Sean's 13th birthday. He wanted a cake that is not airy and with strawberries. When I asked him what he meant, he couldn't actually describe it to me. So I asked him is it like brownie that is dense and fudgy, he said yes. Thus began my search for a cake with this texture. I do not want it to be a brownie but a cake that can be adorned with lots of berries. Took out my Bittersweet book by Alice Medrich. This  
book is all about chocolates. It has recipes not only for sweet desserts but savoury ones too. Flipping through the pages, I came across the Fallen Chocolate Souffle cake. It's a very rich and dense chocolate cakes. It is good enough to be eaten on its own or with a dollop of whipped cream. Two types of chocolate - dark bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder go into this cake. It uses very little plain flour and ground almond flour, almost like a flourless chocolate cake. No leavening agent is involved. That's why it is a dense cake. Why is it called a fallen cake? That's because the cake sinks in the middle after removing from the oven. Its top layer is thin and crispy and it requires you to handle the cake gently while removing it from its pan. It's not an easy job. Some of it broke while I was trying to unmould the cake. You can see the broken pieces at the edge of the cake from my pictures here. To make the cake look pretty, I top it with lots of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. And it did look pretty and inviting enough.
The verdict : Sean likes it and six of them finished up the cake at one go. That's very encouraging for me. So glad that they liked the cake.
Since I have extra batter, I poured the balance into a small heart-shaped cake pan for my family. My son, Ryan, loved the dense and fudgy texture too.


22g plain flour
27g ground almond, extra fine
46g cocoa powder
90g bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
160g sugar
½ cup (120g) boiling water
2 large eggs, separated
1 tbsp brandy
¼ tsp cream of tartar

Position the rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat oven at 190°C.
Line the bottom of a 8” by 3” round, removable bottom cake pan or 8” round springform pan with parchment paper. Grease and flour the bottom and sides.

1. Combine cocoa powder, bittersweet chocolate and ¾ cup of the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the boiling water and whisk until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate is completely melted.
2. Whisk in the egg yolks and brandy. Set aside.
3. In another clean mixing bowl free from grease, beat the 2 egg whites on low speed until foamy. Add in the cream of tartar.
4. Increase speed to medium until soft peaks form. Gradually add in the sugar in a steady stream and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.
5. Whisk in the flour and almond mixture into the chocolate mixture.
6. Fold about a quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it.
7. Fold in the remaining egg whites.
8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
9. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until a tester inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean with a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
10. Cool the pan on a wire rack. The cake will sink like a soufflé.
11. Taking care not to crack the edges of the cake, run a knife between the cake and the sides of the pan to release the cake.
12. Remove the sides of the pan and invert the cake onto a plate.
13. Remove the pan bottom and liner. Re-invert the cake onto a plate.
14. Sift some powdered sugar on top of the cake.
15. Decorate it with strawberries, raspberries and blue berries.
16. Brush the berries with some apricot glaze.

Apricot Glaze
Pour some apricot preserves or jam into a saucepan. Heat and stir until the jam turns into a liquid. Brush it onto the fruits.

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