Did you know that February 28th is National Chocolate Soufflé Day? Well, it is and that is something to celebrate! Chocolate soufflé is a classic, elegant dessert that is both light and fluffy while being rich and decadent at the same time.
It is also my kitchen nemesis. It has been my downfall more times than I care to remember when trying to impress my dinner guests. Chocolate soufflé somehow knows that I am terrified of it and delights in torturing me. Either its puffed perfection deflates as soon as I open the oven door or it remains gooey enough that I really can’t get away with explaining it’s supposed to be like that.
Chocolate soufflé cupcakes are my “workaround” for the traditional dessert and while they are not quite as elegant, they are casual enough to let me relax and enjoy them. Dark Chocolate Orange Soufflé Cupcakes are a taste of heaven with the rich bittersweet chocolate edged with bits of citrusy orange peel. Topped off with Grand Marnier Whipped Cream, these cupcakes will satisfy any cravings for chocolate soufflé today, National Chocolate Soufflé Day.
Dark Chocolate Orange Soufflé Cupcakes
2 3.5-ounce dark chocolate or bittersweet bars (I use Lindt Intense Orange chocolate bars but any good quality dark chocolate bars will do), chopped
6 tablespoons butter, cut up
grated zest from one large orange (save about 1 teaspoon for topping)
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (you can substitute orange extract for a very intense orange flavor)
pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a cupcake pan with paper cupcake liners.
- In a heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water or a double boiler, stir together the chopped chocolate, pieces of butter, and grated orange zest until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Separate the eggs.
- Beat the egg yolks together with 3 tablespoons of the sugar a couple of minutes until pale yellow. Add the cooled chocolate mixture gradually to the egg yolk mixture, beating until just blended.
- Thoroughly wash the beaters and dry them.
- Beat the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and salt until stiffer peaks form.
- Using a spatula, gently fold a third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Add another third of the beaten egg whites and gently fold. Add the remaining third of beaten egg whites and gently fold in to the chocolate mixture. It is OK to have some white streaks remain in the mixture. You just don’t want to over-mix as this takes all of the air out of the batter and will not result in fluffy soufflé cupcakes. Think airy, fluffy, heavenly.
- Divide the batter evenly into the prepared cupcake pan lined with cupcake papers. You want each cupcake paper to be about 3/4 full so this batter may only fill about 10 cupcake liners.
- Bake in the center of the pre-heated oven for about 15 to 18 minutes, until the tops have puffed and are dry. The tops may have little cracks in them and that’s OK. That just makes them look even better.
- Remove from the oven and let cool. The cupcakes will “fall” in the centers as they cool. Don’t worry. They are supposed to.
- While they are cooling, prepare the Grand Marnier Frosting (recipe below).
Grand Marnier Frosting
1/2 pint well-chilled heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier liqueur
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
- On highest speed, beat heavy cream, sugar and Grand Marnier together until it forms soft peaks. Do not over-whip as it will turn to “butter.”
- Place dollops of Grand Marnier Whipped Cream onto the “fallen” centers of the slightly cooled Dark Chocolate Orange Soufflé Cupcakes (recipe above).
- Sprinkle the tops lightly with the remaining grated orange zest.
For another easy chocolate soufflé alternative, try these Chocolate Soufflé Cookies.
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