Chocolate Souffle Cake

What to bring to a casual dessert and wine gathering of chicken-keeping neighbors? A cake that requires 9 eggs (well, I used 8 because the Golden Comets are laying jumbos.) I made Chanterelle’s Chocolate Souffle Cake from Luscious Chocolate Desserts by Lori Longbottom. There are only 4 ingredients: bittersweet chocolate, unsalted butter, eggs, and sugar. Quality of ingredients matters.  I like baking with Trader Joe’s 72% Bittersweet Belgian Chocolate. Whenever good butter (that is, organic, or the European-style) is on sale, I buy pounds and freeze. Yes, the flavor of butter comes through. Don’t scrimp!

The other thing that matters when doing a “simple” dessert like this is technique. When a recipe says to beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale, you can’t just take a whisk and combine. Those egg yolks need to go from almost orange in color to a pale lemon. The mixture should double in size. When a recipe asks you to beat the egg whites until a soft peak forms, you have to stop at that moment when the egg whites fall off the whisk like the tippy-top of a soft serve ice cream cone. Too early and the souffle won’t be airy. Too late and the egg whites stiffen and collapse. I learned the difference by purposely ruining whipped egg whites. I wanted to see what happened if I pushed them too far. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

The chocolate and butter gets melted, whisked and then cooled. But, not cooled to where it solidifies or separates. It should pour in a glistening stream. But, too hot and the folded in egg yolks curdle. With experience you’ll develop an eye for when it is right.

Even the baking requires care. If you don’t know what “puffed and jiggly means” you might take the cake out too soon and it will ooze and taste raw, or if baked too long it will be dry and grainy. I ended up leaving my cake in the oven ten minutes longer than the recipe suggested. It was perfect.

Describing all of this would take pages in a cookbook – it’s not usually done. Julia Child did, and that’s why people look at her recipes with both fear and awe. I try to do it in my books, but in a reasonable and edited way.

Don’t be intimidated! If you have hens, you have good eggs, and so you should bake! Find recipes that use ingredients you love. This cake, made with four wonderful ingredients – chocolate, butter, eggs and sugar – requires technique, but even if things go wrong, the end result will still be delicious. It might be better suited for an ice cream parfait, but it’ll still be good. It’s really hard to ruin good chocolate.

And never forget that inspired decoration can hide all sorts of faults. My cake cracked, but who noticed with those adorable hens stenciled on the top?



  1. Terry! The librarians would like you to Fed-Ex the leftovers! Would be willing to bet…there were none! Looks FABULOUS!!!!!!! Donna

  2. Looks yummmmmmmmmmmmyyyy!! Can u send us in CA some?? ROFLMAO!! All I eat is dark chocolate!!

  3. Terry, you are (as me old Dad used to say) The Bee’s Knees!! By the way, your new ladies might be named Lady Gaga and Madonna. I love their duct tape hats, and wonder if they have heard from ET yet.

    Many years ago I had two White Crested Black Polish, Senor and Senorita, they were a part of the flock that rarely came out of the trees, which included a rather eccentric Blue Andalusian named Dolly Madison. Most of my flock were White Leghorns (my Mom had Rhode Island Reds, which allowed us to sort out whose eggs for market were whose), but I tended to go “rogue.” I love Hencam (and Goatcam), I just wish it had sound. I have your interview with and tune it in occasionally just to hear the ladies “sing.” This is a none too subtle hint to Steve.

    So there you are. I am a fan. I love your “ladies,” as well as Pip and Caper, and Candy too.

    Judy Throm

    P.S. Much relieved to see that Eggers is feeling better.
    P.P.S. The chocolate souffle cake sounds yummy. I will try it out for a dear friend’s birthday party tomorrow!

    • We are trying to get a good audio of the girls singing their bedtime lullaby (for those of you without hens, you might not know that chickens sing on their roosts at dusk.) Will get back to work on that for you!

  4. Fantastic! I don’t have chickens yet, but I’m looking forward to when I do. In the meantime, I’ve started making my own butter from whipping/heavy cream the last couple of months. Just store-bought stuff so far. I need to see about picking up milk from the Farmer’s Market one of these days. I can’t wait to bake with both homemade butter and homegrown eggs!

    • Let me know if you try it with organic milk. Have you notice that organic milk doesn’t froth when whipped for lattes? I’ve got one of those little battery -powered frothers, and the organic stays flat. Don’t know why! Anyone?