Awesome Hot Chocolate Souffle Cake Recipe

Hot Chocolate Cake with Serving Spoon by Bake This Cake

A light and delicate hot chocolate soufflé cake resurrected from the well-worn pages of a retro cookbook. Dust it lightly with powdered sugar and serve it up hot from the oven with a BIG silver dipping spoon.  Pair it up party-style with a fab little custard sauce for a fun flavor spike.

Hot Chocolate Souffle Cake with silver fork by bakethiscake

LA Skinny Palm Tree photo by Leslie Macchiarella for BakeThisCakeI decided to give this recipe a spin after having so much foodie fun with our Lemon Pudding Cake. This chocolate soufflé results in the same type of light and tender cake, except that its made with chocolate instead of lemons (of course) and without the creamy pudding bottom layer, and this cake batter starts with a stove top custard before it bakes up in a water bath. We scoured hard for the recipe and found it “The Cordon Bleu Cook Book” published by Little, Brown & Co. Boston, 1947 (my book is the 1951 edition, page 277, “Hot Chocolate Soufflé”) by Dione Lucas.

Cordon Bleu Cook Book by Dione Lucas 1947 1951 BakeThisCake

Ms. Lucas was the first female graduate of Le Cordon Bleu and later opened a branch of the famous cooking school in NYC . The printed recipe is rather difficult to follow, IMHO, (sorry, Dione) but we’ve sorted it all out and put out the steps in the actual order needed to create this puffy little masterpiece. We didn’t change the recipe ingredients except for subbing out rum in the batter. The whipped custard sauce is actually an old-fashioned zabaglione (“za-bah-lone-ay”) made with Marsala sweet Italian wine, sugar and eggs, all beat for about 7 minutes over a boiling water bath on the stove. (For the proper Italian pronunciation of zabaglione, just click >>HERE.)

1951 Timeline Events by BakeThisCake

Slow Food Warning: This recipe is a food crafting project but you’ll have to settle in and knuckle down for it. Just punch up some kick-it Pandora music and have some fun with it. Expect to spend an hour perhaps prepping your pots and pans, getting ingredients ready and creating the final event. There’s a water baking bath and the luscious Italian sauce to beat on the stove over boiling water. So yeah, it’s a project. But, heck, this soufflé is heartier than a very fragile egg custard because it has a little flour and a cooked custard batter so it shouldn’t deflate as some soufflé dishes tend to do. It’s great warm from the oven, so let your guests sip champagne while you “perform”. Better yet, hand them a whisk (or a clean-up sponge) and let them join in the fun!

Introducing the “Smoky Date Not Ketchup” mmmmm Factor:

Smokey Date Not Ketchup bottle photo by Leslie MacchiarellaMy very clever friend, Ericka, has invented an amazing dipping sauce called Not Ketchup and I had so much fun using it in this cake recipe to replace the original splash of rum. The change from rum to smoky date gives the cake an amazing taste zing — the same way strong coffee changes but enhances a chocolate cake. You know… That little something that no one can really put their finger on but makes you take pause and say. “mmmmmm!” This little switch-up adds a light savory flavor to the cake that I hope you’ll enjoy.

Tools Needed for Hot Chocolate Soufflé Cake:
1-1/2 quart Soufflé Dish (we used a 1-1/2 quart deep casserole dish)
Large baking pan (larger size than the soufflé dish for hot water bath)
Tea kettle or large pot (for boiling water for the hot water bath)
2 Small bowls (for melting chocolate and fork-beating egg yolks)
Medium or large deep mixing bowl (for beating 5 egg whites)
Medium or large pot (for the main custard batter)
Whisk, spatula, measuring cups and spoons

Hot Chocolate Soufflé Cake Ingredients:
2 teaspoons butter (for greasing the baking dish)
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar (for dusting the baking dish)
4 ounces (about 3/4 cup) finely grated sweet dark chocolate (or about 1 cup dark sweet chocolate chips)
3 Tablespoons hot water (for melting chocolate)
5 stiffly beaten egg whites
4 egg yolks (reserving 5th egg yolk for the custard sauce)
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk (we used 2%)
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons Smoky Date Not Ketchup (substitute the original 2 Tablespoons rum, or you could flavor it with 2 Tablespoons strong coffee)
Optional: powdered sugar (for dusting finished cake)

Vanilla Custard Sauce Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 Tablespoons Marsala wine (a sweet Italian red wine often used in tiramisu)

vintage hot chocolate souffle cake recipe in round casserole dish by bakethiscake

Directions for Hot Chocolate Soufflé Cake:

1) Special Prep of Pans:

Butter a 1-1/2 quart soufflé dish (we used a 1-1/2 quart deep casserole dish) and dust the inside of the buttered dish with granulated sugar.

Baking Dish with butter and sugar for chocolate souffle by bake this cake

You will need a larger baking pan to hold a water bath around the soufflé dish when it bakes in the oven so get your tea kettle or large pot filled with water and start the heat to have the water boiling by the time you’re ready to pop the cake in the oven. We fired up about 2 quarts of water for our dish set-up.

boiling water in a tea kettle bake this cake

2) Melt the Dark Sweet Chocolate:

Using a fork and a small bowl, heat and stir to melting and set aside:
4 ounces (about 3/4 cup) finely grated sweet dark chocolate (or about 1 cup dark sweet chocolate chips)
3 Tablespoons hot water
Tip: I placed the chocolate and the hot water into the microwave for about 30 seconds with few good stirs to get the chocolate melted and shiny.

Melted Chocolate for Hot Chocolate Souffle Cake by bake this cake

3) Prep the Eggs:

In a medium mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat on high-speed until stiff peaks form, and set aside:
5 egg whites

Whipped Egg Whites for Hot Chocolate Souffle Cake by Bake This Cake

In a small bowl, using a fork, beat thoroughly and set aside:
4 egg yolks
Tip: Be sure to remove one of the egg yolks from the 5 egg white eggs so you only have 4 egg yolks and set the extra yolk aside for later use in the topping.

Beaten Egg Yolks for Hot Chocolate Souffle Cake by bake this cake

4) Prep a Stovetop Custard Batter:

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir over low heat until melted, smooth and slightly thickened (but not boiling):
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Milk (we used 2%)

Flour Butter Milk Custard for Hot Chocolate Souffle Cake by bake this cake

With a wire whisk, beat in:
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons Smoky Date Not Ketchup (substitute same quantity of rum or strong coffee)

Mixing Smokey Date and Sugar into custard for chocolate souffle by bakethiscake

With a wire whisk, stir into the saucepan until thoroughly incorporated:
the prepared melted chocolate-water mixture

Stirring Melted Chocolate for Chocolate Souffle by bake this cake

With a wire whisk, beat in:
the prepared yolks

Stirring yoks into hot chocolate souffle cake batter by bake this cake

With a wire whisk, beat in:
the prepared egg whites

Whisking egg whites into hot chocoldate souffle cake by bake this cake

5) Get This Thing a’Baking:

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and place the dish in the center of a pan of hot water and bake at 350 for 45 mins.
Note: We reduced the temperature from 375 degrees to 350 degrees to prevent accidental sinking or shrinking of the cake — so if you try this recipe at 375 degrees for 45 minutes (as specified in the original recipe), please add a Comment and tell us how it goes.

Chocolate Souffle Batter in a Water Bath by bake this cake

Carefully remove from the oven (being ever-so-careful with the hot water bath).

Hot Chocolate Souffle Cake Ready to pull from the oven by BakeThisCake

Dust the baked cake with powdered sugar or top it with the special custard topping.

Zabaglione Custard Sauce for Hot Chocolate Cake by Bake This Cake

6) Custard Sauce Directions (Zabaglione, “za-bal-yone-a”):

In a heat-proof medium glass bowl (or double boiler) over a boiling pot of water, beat with an electric hand mixer (or by hand with a whisk for a good, long time) until thick:
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons sweet red Italian Marsala wine

Whisk the ingredients as they warm a bit then, using a hand electric mixer, beat the mixture on high-speed in a double boiler over a low heat for about 7 minutes until thick and creamy.
Tip: DIY Double Boiler: Use a large heat-safe glass bowl (as we did) set over a large pot of boiling water as a substitute for a double boiler.

Beating Zabaglione Custard Sauce for Hot Chocolate Souffle by bakethiscake

Serve the rich sauce with the soufflé by drizzling a little next to each serving.

Hot Chocolate Souffle Cake w Zabaglione by BakeThisCake

I had so much fun upping the modern quotient on this retro cake with Erica’s new product. She gave me a bottle of “Smoky Date Not My Ketchup” to test (and I’m already planning my next creation for it). My sister used the Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup flavor for her blog, Recipes And Relationships to make a way-fresh LA Tex Mex salad.

Thank you for joining me on this vintage cake-ly journey! I do hope you’ll join us on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook for some photo fun and chat.

Happy vintage cake baking!


Leslie Macchiarella 2 photo by Julie Macchiarella

Our doggies in the kitchen and downtown LA by Leslie Macchiarella

Our little doggies at the kitchen door and downtown LA sights

8 thoughts on “Awesome Hot Chocolate Souffle Cake Recipe

  1. I know that you know I love this — not only because I ate half of it with (as our breakfast, lunch and dinner) but your Blog is really, really good! So is this Post! Go-Girl! 🙂

    • Thank you, Cathy! It was fun working up various cake recipes for the Not Ketchup match-up. I selected the Smoky Date for the chocolate soufflé but I also want to try some different cakes with the Cherry and Blueberry too. 🙂

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