Sunday 6 November 2011

Chocolate Chestnut Soufflé Cake

Some of the ingredients for Chocolate Chestnut Soufflé Cake.
Chocolate Chestnut Soufflé Cake is a recipe I make when I have accumulated a lot of egg whites in the freezer. I make icecream and custard often, which just take yolks, so I am always searching for yummy ways not to waste the whites. This recipe is an adaptation of Sally Schneider's Chocolate Angel Food Cake, and since I have been living in France I have been making it with chestnut flour.

The cake in the oven, nearly done.
This post is especially for John, my brother-in-law and my friend Elizabeth, both coeliacs, and for Liselle, who brought us the chestnut flour from Corsica, and who we wish lived closer so she could visit more often.

Err...oops...this is one reason for making the muffin sized versions.
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp instant coffee powder
Pinch cinnamon powder
¼ cup boiling water
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp brandy
1 cup chestnut flour
1¾ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
16 egg whites
2 tsp cream of tartar (optional)

  1. Heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Put the cocoa, coffee powder and cinnamon in a large bowl (it has to accommodate the beaten egg whites later).
  3. Whisk in the hot water, add the vanilla and brandy, then put aside.
  4. In a small bowl combine the chestnut flour, ¾ cup of sugar and salt.
  5. Beat the egg whites in another large bowl until frothy.
  6. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until at the soft peak stage. The cream of tartar is an acid which helps stabilise the large quantity of egg whites. If you don't have any you can leave it out and just rely on the sugar.
  7. Gradually beat in the remaining cup of sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
  8. Sift about ¼ cup flour mixture over the egg whites and fold it in. It is crucial to sift because chestnut flour is extremely finely ground and prone to cake up into lumps.
  9. Fold in the remaining flour mixture, sifting in ¼ cup at a time.
  10. Fold a cup of the egg white mixture into the cocoa paste. (You can add a little more water if it has dried out - it needs to be liquid enough to blend easily with the beaten egg whites.)
  11. Tip 2/3 of the egg white mixture into the cocoa mixture and fold until it is fairly well blended.
  12. Pour the chocolate batter into an ungreased pan. It needs to be something large and with lug type handles, or a bundt tin with a hole in the middle.
  13. Pour the plain batter over the top and run a knife through the mixture several times to cause a marbled effect and to eliminate any overly large air pockets.
  14. Bake for 50 minutes. The cake should spring back to the touch and a skewer inserted should come out clean.
  15. Cool the cake upside down by balancing it on two jam jars (or slipping it over a wine bottle if you have a bundt tin). This helps the cake retain its loft.
  16. Once it is completely cool you can run a knife around the edge and turn it out on to a platter.

...still, it's an opportunity to show you the highly
aerated interior of the cake.
The cake keeps very well for several days. You can also make smaller versions by cooking it in muffin tins. The recipe divides easily to make a smaller quantity and halving the recipe makes 18 regular muffin sized cakes or 6 jumbo muffin sized.

Here served with homemade vanilla icecream
and strawberries picked on 2 November!
Serve it with homemade vanilla, strawberry or blueberry icecream (how else are you going to get the necessary egg whites?)

The recipe looks complicated and the 3 bowls make a bit of washing up, but it is actually surprisingly simple and a delicious treat for all.



Colin and Elizabeth said...

It certainly sounds delicious and we will be trying as soon as we've been to buy more eggs.... Colin has just offered to make one for me so I'm posting this before he changes his mind! Thanks Susan!!

Ken Broadhurst said...

The cake looks delicious. Is chestnut flour easy to find around here?

Another good way to use extra egg whites is French financiers, made with poudre d'amandes.

Thanks again to Simon for his help with my Trojan Horse...

Anonymous said...

Mmmmm, I'm slobbering already.


chm said...

I'll try this if and when I have enough egg whites. It sounds and looks so yummy!

I make crème anglaise from time to time and I have unused egg whites. That might be the occasion!

That's an idea. Why not have this soufflé with crème anglaise?

Susan said...

Ken:yes, chestnut flour is fairly easy to get. Good idea about the financiers - better get my cup cake tins out of storage!
SP: too late we've scoffed the lot!
chm:another good idea - next time...

Anonymous said...

I'm 'borrowing' the financiers idea and definitely bookmarking this recipe. Delia Smith makes a 'squidgy cake' which works on the same kind of principle, I think.

Susan said...

LadyJ: yes, I've made Delia's squidgy chocolate cake in the past. It's more like a sponge than a soufflé I seem to remember. I'll have to make it again now that you've reminded me!

Pearl said...

looks phenomenal.

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