Miniature Chocolate Soufflé Cakes

Adapted from Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven
Preparation time: 50 minutes (15 minutes of work)
Yield: 6 small cakes
There's something about getting served your own individual chocolate cake--and getting to devour it all in one sitting – especially this one, which I daresay verges on perfection. Everyone deserves to feel like royalty once in a while, even if the experience is fleeting. (But then you can always make these again.)
  • Separate the eggs while they're still cold; cover, and let come to room temperature.
  • Melt the chocolate and butter about 20 minutes ahead of time, so they have time to cool, but won't harden.
  • If you don't have ramekins, you can use custard cups.
A little butter for the ramekins
5 eggs
6 ounces semisweet chocolate (1 1/4 cups chocolate chips)
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 drop almond extract

Whipped cream
Raspberries, puréed or left whole
Slices of kiwifruit or mango
sprigs of fresh mint
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the bottoms of six 4-ounce ramekins, and place them on a baking tray.
  2. Separate the eggs, placing the yolks in a small bowl and the whites in a medium-large one. Cover tightly and let come to room temperature.
  3. Gently melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler or a microwave at low power. Transfer to a medium-large mixing bowl, and allow to cool for 20 minutes or so.
  4. Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks, gradually sprinkling in the sugar. (You don't need to clean the beaters before proceeding to the next step.)
  5. When the chocolate has cooled down to the point where you can touch it comfortably with your finger, beat in the egg yolks. Continue to beat for a few minutes, gradually adding the extracts.
  6. Slide the beaten egg whites into the chocolate, and fold together deftly and gracefully with a rubber spatula, bringing the chocolate up from the bottom, until the batter is well blended. (It doesn't have to be perfect.)
  7. Spoon the batter into the prepared ramekins, and place the whole tray of ramekins on the center rack of the oven. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until puffed up nicely. The centers of the cakes should still be a little soft.
  8. Remove the tray from the oven, and let the ramekins rest for about 10 minutes. Loosen the sides with a dinner knife, and transfer the cakes to individual serving plates. Spoon some whipped cream and/or puréed raspberries on the side, and decorate with additional fruit and small sprigs of mint, if desired.
  9. Serve soon, as this tastes best fresh and warm.
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