Fallen Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Cream Sauce / by Chelsea Zwieg

I sort of love Valentine's Day and I'm not really sure why. 'Romantic gifts' of the stuffed bear and heart-shaped box of chocolates order kind of make me want to vom. And as nice as the gesture of flowers is, my unpredictable allergic reaction to pretty much anything that grows outside will most likely lead me to place any well-intentioned flowers as far from my person as possible. Not that anyone gave me flowers this year, so I guess I really dodged a bullet there. Right? So really, why this inexplicable affection towards Valentine's Day? 

Well I traced it back through 21 years of Valentine's Days and it all comes down to one thing: Sugar. My number one Valentine's Day memory is Valentine's parties at school where we would pass out cards and candy to everyone in the class and then I would come home from school so completely high on sugar that my wired, shaking, sugared hands could barely hold the giant bag of candy hearts and chocolate that I accumulated throughout the day. It's hard not to love a day that takes away things like class, homework and sitting at a desk and replaces them with candy, soda and little love notes from all your friends. And even though my days of SpongeBob valentines and fifth grade parties are behind me, I still get a little flutter of excitement when I see an entire aisle of the grocery store decked out in pink and red candy. So it doesn't really matter if you're single, dating, married or tinder-ing. What's not to love about a day that gives you conversation hearts, pink M&M's, heart shaped lollipops and chocolate of every kind? 

And speaking of chocolate of all kinds, let's add fallen chocolate cake with marshmallow cream sauce to the why-i-love-valentines-day roster, shall we? I have long been a fan of flourless chocolate cake, which is basically eggs, butter and chocolate baked together into the most ridiculous, fudgy, rich concoction that typically makes people eyes roll back into their heads for a good 20 minutes until they come to and beg for the recipe. It's a time-honored family tradition and I was so close to sharing the recipe today. But then, I came across Bon Appetit's fallen chocolate cake.

The ingredients aren't too far off from my beloved flourless cake, but it has whipped egg whites which push it into soufflé territory. Now, soufflé territory is not somewhere that I am all too comfortable, but it is somewhere I would undeniably like to be. And so, enter the beauty of the fallen chocolate cake. It has all the components of a chocolate soufflé, the intense chocolate, the light airiness, but it is actually intended to collapse in on itself as it cools, thereby eliminating the whole collapsed soufflé humiliation factor. And then, hot out of the oven, it is topped with a cool, creamy marshmallow sauce that essentially turns this into hot chocolate in cake form and restores Valentine's Day to the chocolate-centered sugar love song it has been all along. 

Fallen Chocolate Cake 

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Makes 1 9" cake or 6 minis

| Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 10 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or you can use chips)
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 
  • 3/4 tsp. salt

| Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9" springform pan or mini cocottes with butter. Set aside. 
  • In a small bowl, melt chocolate, butter and oil in microwave, stirring often to prevent chocolate from burning. 
  • Separate 4 eggs. Place yolks in a medium bowl and whites in the bowl of stand mixer. Add remaining 2 eggs to the yolks and whisk to combine. Add cocoa powder, vanilla, 1/4 cup sugar and salt and whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk melted chocolate into yolk mixture until combined. 
  • Meanwhile, in a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg yolks until frothy. Add 1/2 cup sugar and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. In two additions, fold egg whites into chocolate and yolk mixture until just combined. Transfer batter to prepared pan, smooth top and sprinkle with sugar. 
  • Bake 35-45 minutes (15-20 minutes if you are using cocottes), until the top is puffed and beginning to crack and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Allow to cool on a wire rack. Cake will collapse and crack as it cools. 

Marshmallow Cream Sauce 

Adapted from Bon Appetit

| Ingredients

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup corn syrup (finally, a way to use up my giant bottle of leftover corn syrup from December's marshmallow adventure)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

| Instructions

  • In an electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  • Lower speed and slowly add corn syrup and 2 tbsp. water. Increase speed and beat until sauce doubles in volume, about 5 minutes.
  • Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla.