Holiday Brunch and Chocolate Souffle Cake

The brunch foods shared yesterday with our guests, today I share with you.  Enjoy.  My wish is that every one of you may gather at the holidays with good friends and family over your own special soul-nourishing meals.

Holiday Brunch 2011

Menu

Eggs in Purgatory

Baked Lemon-Raspberry French Toast

Leek & Celeriac Soup with Sour Cream, Chives, Pancetta Garnishes

Molasses Cured Salmon, Bagels, Cream Cheese, Capers, Chopped Red Onion

Arugula Salad with Fennel & Pink Grapefruit, Buttermilk-Parmesan Dressing

Fresh Pineapple, Greek Yoghurt, Wildflower Honey with Mixed Nuts

Morning Glory Muffins

*     *     *

Honey & Nut Tart

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Cream

Coffee

Merry Christmas, Everyone! 

eggs awaiting their fate in purgatory

"purgatory" is a spicy mix of tomatoes, artichoke hearts, capers and red pepper flakes

eggs also played a role in baked lemon-raspberry french toast

our youngest guest said the finished dish tasted like ice cream, high praise, indeed!

salmon home-cured in molasses, soy sauce, and spices, then thinly sliced

a favorite, most refreshing salad

sweet, tart, crunchy with nuts

a sweet tart, crunchy with nuts

chocolate souffle cake, chocolate whipped cream, milk chocolate curls

kitchen table doubles as bar, resting place for chilled cava and prosecco

glasses for the specialty cocktails are ready

Chocolate Souffle Cake with Chocolate Whipped Cream

Here’s how to make that show stopper of a cake.  Believe it or not, it is super easy – another no fuss but absolutely delicious offering from Nigella Lawson, the domestic goddess with a treasure trove of recipes for simple but full-flavored foods.   Originally printed in the New York Times in 2003 as Easter Egg Nest Cake (Nigella rested tiny chocolate robin’s eggs in the soft billows of chocolate whipped cream that tops the cake for the spring holiday), the rich chocolate confection is equally at home at a winter holiday meal.  Simply top it with chocolate curls instead, as I did by shaving slivers off a bar of milk chocolate with a potato peeler.  You could also opt to leave the chocolate whipped cream alone, or give the top a dusting of snowy powdered sugar.

  • 8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, melted (I’ve used anything between 60% and 72% successfully)
  • 6 large eggs: 2 whole, 4 separated
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided use
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate (see note above), melted and cooled
  • chocolate curls, if desired

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a circle of parchment.  Set aside.

For the cake, stir the soft butter into the warm melted chocolate.  It will melt and combine.  Let cool.

Beat the 4 egg whites at high speed until foamy.  Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar to these and continue to beat just until the eggs whites begin to form glossy stiff peaks.  Do not overbeat.  Set aside.

In another larger bowl, whisk the 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks with the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar and 1 tsp. of vanilla until combined.  You can do this by hand or using a hand held mixer.  Fold in the cooled chocolate-butter mixture and stir to blend.

In three additions, fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture by hand.

Fold gently but until all the whites have been incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cake rises, cracks a bit on the top, and the center is no longer wobbly.

When done, remove pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool completely in the pan.  The cake will fall and the top and upper sides will crack and collapse.  This is normal.  See below for the stages of cooling.

When the cake is completely cooled, remove the outer ring of the springfom pan and set the cake on a serving plate.

To make the whipped cream, melt the chocolate and let it cool as much as possible without it re-setting and hardening. Whip the cream with 1 tsp. of the vanilla until firm but not stiff.  Fold the melted chocolate into the cream.  The cream and chocolate won’t blend completely smooth; the chocolate will form fine chocolate flakes in places, as in stracciatella (fine chocolate chip) ice cream.

Spoon the chocolate cream onto the top of the cake and top with chocolate curls for garnish.

photos ©2011  Jane A. Ward