Deborah is a writer, healer, and teacher. Her goal is to help people live their best lives every day by sharing her joy and love of life.
The Perfect Cake For Any Occasion
I discovered this delicious cake in a dessert cookbook by Maida Heatter. I've made it for years, and over that time I've tweaked it some to fit my own life (the actual recipe is quite complex).
The result is a relatively easy-to-follow recipe that is definitely worth the time and effort. In addition, it is perfect for anyone with a wheat allergy or gluten intolerance. There is no flour in this cake!
Please note that the cake must be made at least a day ahead and placed overnight in the freezer. This is not a last-minute dessert.
First, the Soufflé
Begin by baking the soufflé, which will create the cake layers. You must make two soufflés, each of which will form one layer. The ingredients below are for one layer.
Make one soufflé (cake) by following the directions completely. Then wash all the utensils, bowls, and pans, and make the second soufflé from the very beginning.
Please don't try to take shortcuts. They will only frustrate you. If you use a dirty bowl, the egg whites won't beat properly (I've done this more than once).
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Ingredients for One Cake Layer (Soufflé)
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Instructions for Baking Soufflé
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Prepare a large cookie sheet or jelly roll pan as follows (and remember, you will do this all over again for the second soufflé): Completely cover cookie sheet with foil (I've also tried parchment paper, but the foil is much easier to work with), and fold the edges neatly and cleanly over the edge of the pan. Butter the foil completely, then sift about two tablespoons of cocoa powder over the butter (it is usual to use flour to coat the pan, but to keep it gluten-free, use cocoa powder) Set pan aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine egg yolks with half the sugar and the vanilla. Beat at high speed for 5 minutes. Yolk mixture will be thick and will form a thick ribbon when beaters are lifted. Slowly add cocoa, first gently folding by hand, and then beating slowly with mixer. Set yolk mixture aside.
- Thoroughly wash and dry beaters. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and salt until whites hold a soft shape. Gradually add remaining sugar, then beat on high speed until whites hold a stiff peak. Do not beat until dry.
- Gently fold about half the egg whites into the chocolate-yolk mixture, using a spatula. Fold all of the chocolate mixture into the remaining egg whites, gently. Do not handle more than absolutely necessary.
- Turn the mixture onto the prepared cake pan. Smooth lightly with spatula, evening out the batter. Place cake in oven and reduce temperature to 375 degrees. Bake about 30 minutes, until top of cake springs back when lightly touched. Note: Soufflé will rise dramatically while baking, as it should. It will also collapse when removed from the oven, as it is supposed to. Do not be alarmed!
- While cake bakes, place a clean kitchen towel (or three paper towels) on clean flat surface (You'll need a space with enough room for two cake layers to cool. I use my kitchen table.) When cake is done, invert onto towel and remove pan. Allow cake to cool for 20 minutes. Gently remove foil from the edges of the cake, then remove from the remainder of the cake. Allow cake to continue cooling. Repeat entire process from the beginning for the second layer.
Yolks, Whites, and Mixture for Soufflé
Ingredients for Chocolate Mousse Filling
- 1 quart heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
- 1/4 cup dark rum
- 6 eggs, separated
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules (or 1/4 cup coffee)
- 1/4 cup boiling water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
Directions for Chocolate Mousse Filling
- In a large bowl, beat whipping cream with sour cream until soft peaks form. Refrigerate.
- Place chocolate chips in a medium bowl over hot water (double boiler). Cut butter into pieces and add to chocolate. Add rum. Cook until almost melted, then stir until smooth.
- Remove chocolate from double boiler and beat in 6 egg yolks, coffee dissolved in hot water, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Transfer this mixture to a large mixing bowl, and set aside, until cool.
- With clean beaters, in a small bowl, beat six egg whites with salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, then beat on high until whites hold a stiff peak. Set aside.
- Remove cream from refrigerator and whisk briskly until slightly firm. Add about a third of the cream to the chocolate mixture and fold gently. Fold remaining cream with egg whites, then gently fold in the chocolate mixture. Gently fold until color is even.
Assembling the Cake
- Place one layer of cake into a cake pan. (If you want to display your cake, you can first line the pan with foil, this allows you to remove the entire cake and place on a platter for serving.)
- Spoon mousse over first cake layer. There will probably be some mousse left over, unless you use a very deep, disposable cake pan. I highly recommend using a disposable pan, not only for convenience, but for a nice, deep layer of mousse.
- Place second cake layer gently on top of mousse.
- Cover cake tightly with foil and freeze overnight. Remove from freezer about one hour before serving.
Cake can be refrigerated for up to a week, and stored in the freezer up to a month. But it probably won't last that long!
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© 2018 Deborah Demander