Molten Chocolate Soufffle and Lava Cakes

Back when the gooey-centered individual cake craze was happening, I just couldn't get on board. Why would I get excited about cake that wasn't cooked in the middle? So when I saw Rose had a take on these in her book, I was skeptical. I noticed she had replaced the gooey centers of uncooked batter with melty ganache, and thought they must be much better.

October 10, 2010
Name of Cakes: No raw batter!
Occasion: HCB
Constituents: chocolate souffle cakes with ganache centers

molten lava souffle cakes

Many people who saw the film Julie and Julia fell in love with Meryl Streep's Julia Child and loved her story of learning to cook while living in Paris. Pretty much everybody who saw the movie also then complained about how little they enjoyed the scenes about Julie and her attempts to cook her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Critics complained that the Julie character just wasn't likeable. I have to say that I didn't like the Julie character in the movie so much, but I did love the Julie in the book on which the movie is based. That Julie (the author) seemed a lot like me, especially in her habit of swearing at and about the food, and for throwing major tantrums when she couldn't get something right. It was nice to know that I wasn't the only one to throw a fit when there was (in my case) cake trauma. In my early days of baking there would be cake trauma almost every time, and the f-bombs would be fall like rain. My poor friend Regenia, my first roommate, was present for most of the tantrums, and she learned very quickly to not take them seriously, even when I would slam shit on the counter to punctuate the swearing. I loved reading about Julie's cooking tantrums, and I will always remember when she was trying to cook rice and pitching a fit and her husband walked in, grabbed her by the shoulders, and yelled, "IT'S JUST RICE." I try to remember that when cake trauma rears its ugly head.

In fact, just this morning I was metaphorically grabbing my own shoulders and yelling, "IT'S JUST GANACHE" but I metaphorically punched the self that was saying that and kicked her out of the way.

Those damn ganache balls never got hard--they stayed soft and runny the whole time, even after 20 min in the freezer. Rose warns this could happen if the chocolate is less than 61%. Unless the packaging lied the chocolate I used was 61% so it should have been fine. But it wasn't. And it was a mess. I have never wanted ganache to go [do nasty things to itself] more than I did today at 11 am.

molten lava souffle cakes

The souffle part of the cakes was really quick to prep and fast to mix together. I thought my silicone cupcake cups were 3 oz capacity, same as the silicone brioche molds, but it must be less because I ended up with 11 cupcakes.

The recipe requires the souffles to cool in their molds for half and hour, then turned out onto a lightly greased non stick pan, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for at least eight hours. To serve, each cake should be reheated in the microwave for about half a minute.

molten lava souffle cakes
by this point in the process i was already so over these things

When a recipe veers off the beaten path into what seems like crazytown, I would like to know why. Alas, there is no why. There is also no microwave in my apartment, so I brought the entire tray to Cookie's house this evening to reheat and try.

molten lava souffle cakes
i know, the photo is poor, but i haven't figured out the best settings for night shots at cookie's house

As you probably have figured out, I didn't care much for these. The cake is very light and spongy, when I wanted something substantial like a butter cake. The ganache centers weren't very gooey--but that is all my own fault for having subpar ganache balls. Cookie didn't like the parts of the cake where there wasn't ganache--too eggy she said. Cabbage enjoyed them so I told them they were all his and I didn't want to see them again. They offered their chocolate-peanut butter ice cream as a trade and the deal was done.


  1. ב''ה

    Yours look really great. If you liked the Julia parts of that film you would enjoy reading her autobiography of it: "My life in France."

  2. LOL! I like your trade with your friend..:D I too didn't really like the souffle part..i like my molten lava cake dense..cake inside and out..

  3. You're pretty funny. Sorry you weren't a fan of these guys. I don't know what kind of chocolate you used, but I often use Nestle Chocolate Chips when I make ganache, which is definitely less than 60% caocao, and it always turns out.

    As for the movie, I agree that I didn't like the Julie part very much, especially when she was cooking. I would have loved if the movie much more if it had focus entirely on Julia. I know that would be different than the book, but I didn't read it, so no loss for me there ;).


  4. I love your post! I had the same problem with the ganache, and I'm pretty sure I was swearing at mine as well.

  5. I have noticed a certain trend amongst myself that my language has certainly become colorful since baking with Rose. I try to bake alone because if the little ones are here, the internal swearing in my head is going to make me spontaneously combust one day. My ganache was fine at 61% with milk choc thrown in but it sure didn't flow. I felt better calling them 2 Bite Brownies. Your ice cream deal made me howl with laughter. For Monday morning, that's pretty good!

  6. You and I need to compare on the swearing part.

    I totally believe that when I do that the recipe just gets in line with the program.

    Of course, this happens like 1% of the time, the rest it just gives me the finger back.

  7. You reminded me of myself as well. Not much swearing in my house, but I do get frustrated - started banging things - and looked very very sad. To which hubby usually said "it's okay, we don't have to have dessert for next week."

    I actually loved Julie & Julia (saw it twice). I thought it did a good job of going back and forth between the two. Haven't read the book though so can't compare.

  8. Man, I just wrote some nice replies to all your comments, then lost all of it.

    I will try later.

  9. I just realized you have a "failed" category on your blog--love it! I missed Rose's note about the ganache not hardening properly with a lower cocoa percentage, but that explains why my ganache was still very gooey after several hours in the freezer. I had to scrape it off the plastic wrap. Anyway, I'm sad you didn't like the recipe, but the whole molten lava fad has run it's course. It's time to say goodbye :)

  10. Hee! You're hilarious! I don't mean to laugh at your cooking traumas, but you sound just like me in the kitchen! I don't take failure well. So disgusting to put so much time and effort into something that doesn't turn out. It's going to be hard to bite my tongue in the kitchen, since I soon won't be able to curse like a sailor anymore(<4 weeks!). At least you got a good trade out of the failed recipe...

  11. Yes, I too, have Kitchen Baking Tourettes Syndrome. My husband hides.

    Your cakes don't look so good, Blanche. Leave the cakes, and take the ice cream.
    You know I love you anyway.

  12. okay, here i go again.

    Mendy, I know, I have been wanting to read her book for years now!

    faithy, yes, a dense rich cake would have been preferred.

    butteryum, i used guittard 61% chocolate, which has never failed me before. you are not alone in wishing the movies could have just been called "julia."

    andrea, i am glad i wasn't the only one with shitty ganache!

    vicki, i wonder if we can measure our baking skills by how colorful our language has become? there does seem to be a correlation.

    monica, yeah most of the time, the recipe gives me the finger back. and laughs. cruel, cruel recipes.

    jenn, that is very nice and supportive of your husband! i hope you don't punch him in the face when he says that.

    sarah, yes, i realise the failed posts are usually more entertaining than there they are! yep, that's what i had to do--scrape them off the plastic. and pick the torn plastic out of my ganache, and swear a lot.

    amanda, exactly--the waste of time, energy, money, and good ingredients kills me! cabbage is apparently enjoying those things so i'm glad they weren't a total waste. and the ice cream was delicious.

    melinda, i know you say it with love! i wouldn't punch you. your poor husband. we should start a support group for all the roommates/partners of those with baking tourettes.

    regenia would just leave, but joelf would try to help, which meant he hovered, which made me angrier. poor guy.

  13. I've never read the book that Julie and Julia is based on but now I'm thinking it might be interesting to compare it to the movie. My husband and daughter laughed when they saw Julie throwing tantrums because that's what I do too. Luckily I have a very supportive husband when it comes to my baking adventures.


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