I have a thing for chocolate souffles. It’s embarrassing really. And creme brulees. I think I visibly salivate at the sight of either one of these desserts. A souffle is just so magical. The intensity of the chocolate, but the lightness of it’s texture… you can finish an individual serving and feel so satisfied but not like you are about to slide into food coma. You know?
But here’s the thing about souffles – I can only manage to serve individual servings. The idea of one huge souffle terrifies me. I already hover around the oven when my little babies are rising, I don’t think I’d survive watching a large souffle deflate. But I was craving some of that chocolate cloud magic, and I had a ton of eggs to use up (remember we talked about this last time?), AND I had a get together to go to so I needed to whip up a party friendly dessert.
That’s where this guy comes in. A baked chocolate mousse cake. Who thinks up these things? It’s crazy brilliant I tell you! It’s got a similar technique to my usual individual souffles – melt chocolate, mix with egg yolks, fold in whipped egg whites, bake, take a bite, sit on the couch (or slide to the floor) and have yourself a satisfying foodgasm – but there’s no fear of it deflating. Why you ask? Because you chill it. Yea. Wrap your head around that for a second. You chill the whole cake for hours and you are left with this super dense looking, but oh so light tasting chocolate goodness.
And if that’s not enough, get this, it has brown sugar. This way it retains this lovely moisture and gives this hint of caramely-ness (is that even a word?). It almost looks like a brownie, but melts in your mouth. God I could just keep going, but I’m going to stop now and just give you the recipe. Try it. I swear. It’s worth it. Rent yourself a RomCom, get into your comfiest pajamas, slice yourself a portion, dollop a bit of whipped cream and some berries if that’s your thing (it’s totally mine), and enjoy this cake. Then thank me
Baked Chocolate Mousse Cake from Cook’s Illustrated
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 12 pieces
- 1teaspoon unsalted butter, softened, for greasing pan
- Unbleached all-purpose flour for dusting pan
- 12ounces bittersweet chocolate (such as Hershey’s Special Dark), chopped
- 1ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 1tablespoon vanilla extract
- 8large eggs, separated
- 1/8teaspoon table salt
- 2/3cup packed light brown sugar (4 1/2 ounces), crumbled with fingers to remove lumps (see note)
- 1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter sides of 9-inch springform pan; flour sides and tap out excess. Line bottom of pan with parchment or waxed paper round. Wrap bottom and sides of pan with large sheet of foil.
- 2. Melt 12 tablespoons butter and chocolates in large bowl over large saucepan containing about 2 quarts barely simmering water, stirring occasionally, until chocolate mixture is smooth. Cool mixture slightly, then whisk in vanilla and egg yolks. Set chocolate mixture aside, reserving hot water, covered, in saucepan.
- 3. In clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt at medium speed until frothy, about 30 seconds; add half of crumbled brown sugar, beat at high speed until combined, about 30 seconds, then add remaining brown sugar and continue to beat at high speed until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted (see photo, below), about 2 minutes longer. Using whisk, stir about one-third of beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture to lighten it, then fold in remaining egg whites in 2 additions using whisk. Gently scrape batter into prepared springform pan, set springform pan in large roasting pan, then pour hot water from saucepan to depth of 1 inch. Carefully slide roasting pan into oven; bake until cake has risen, is firm around edges, center has just set, and instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers about 170 degrees, 45 to 55 minutes.
- 4. Remove springform pan from water bath, discard foil, and cool on wire rack 10 minutes. Run thin-bladed paring knife between sides of pan and cake to loosen; cool cake in springform pan on wire rack until barely warm, about 3 hours, then wrap pan in plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 8 hours. (Cake can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
- 5. To unmold cake, remove sides of pan. Slide thin metal spatula between cake and pan bottom to loosen, then invert cake onto large plate, peel off parchment, and re-invert onto serving platter. To serve, use sharp, thin-bladed knife, dipping knife in pitcher of hot water and wiping blade before each cut.