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Monday, January 2, 2012

Chocolate Soufflé Cakes

Chocolate Soufflé Cakes with Vanilla-Thyme Ice Cream

* Contributed by Adolfo Muñoz


These soft, chocolaty sponge cakes are a cross between angel food cake and a firm soufflé. Adolfo Muñoz bakes his soufflé cakes in individual cake rings with parchment-paper collars. We simplified the recipe by using ramekins and had good results.

Recipe: Chocolate Soufflé Cakes with Vanilla-Thyme Ice Cream


1. 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted, plus more for dusting
2. 4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3. 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
4. 6 large eggs, separated
5. Salt
6. 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
7. Vanilla ice cream, for serving
8. 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, coarsely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Butter eight 1-cup ramekins and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter the paper and dust the bottoms and sides of the ramekins with confectioners' sugar.
2. In a glass bowl, melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave oven, checking every 10 seconds. Stir until smooth.
3. In a large stainless steel bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt at high speed until soft peaks form. Add 1/4 cup of the confectioners' sugar and beat the egg whites until they are firm and glossy peaks form.
4. In another large stainless steel bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining 1/2 cup of the confectioners' sugar until the mixture is thoroughly blended. Whisk the melted chocolate and butter mixture into the egg yolks, then gradually whisk in the all-purpose flour. Using a large, clean rubber spatula, fold in one-third of the beaten egg whites to lighten the mixture, then fold in the remaining beaten whites until almost no white streaks remain.
5. Spoon enough soufflé cake batter into each of the prepared ramekins to reach three-fourths of the way up the side. Bake the cakes for about 15 minutes, or until they are puffed and just set in the middle. Leave the oven on.
6. Let the soufflé cakes cool in the ramekins for about 5 minutes, or until the edges of the cakes start to pull away from the sides of the ramekins. Invert the cakes onto a large baking sheet, then peel off the parchment paper and set the cakes upright on the baking sheet. Reheat the cakes in the oven for 2 minutes.
7. Transfer the soufflé cakes to plates and serve them with vanilla ice cream that has been sprinkled with the chopped thyme.

Make Ahead The soufflé cakes can be prepared through Step 5 and stored in their ramekins at room temperature for up to 3 hours. Remove the baked soufflé cakes from their ramekins, peel off the parchment paper and reheat them on a large baking sheet in a 425° oven for 2 minutes.
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