cranberry – orange chocolate soufflé cake

So I really really really heart this recipe.
Not just a little. A whole heck of alot.

Enough to make it twice … in the course of 4 days … once on Friday and again last night.  Enough to make it on television (check it out on ctv ottawa morning live)

It’s delicious. Heck … it’s ab-so-lute-ly pos-i-tive-ly delightful!

Tart cranberries poached in an orange, cinnamon, allspice simple syrup and soaked overnight … piled high on top of a bed of chocolate whipped cream and supported by a moist, rich, sinfully delicious dark chocolate – orange soufflé cake.

Mother of pearl.

Who wouldn’t love that combo? 

I do promise that the soufflé cake is easy to make (I’d never made a soufflé before … and knowing that it was supposed to sink in the centre certainly relieved me of any stress) … but you do need to plan ahead when making this.

1.  The cranberries need to poach in the simple syrup overnight.  The longer they sit … the better they get.

2.  The egg yolks and egg whites need to be at room temperature … so pull those out before you start on the soufflé.

3.  You also don’t want to bake the cake too much in advance of serving it … I found the recipe in bon appétit’s desserts cookbook and they recommended only baking it 6 hours ahead of serving …

Those three points don’t seem too challenging do they?  Nah.

You can do this.  Plus … once you make it … you’ll probably want to make it again and again.  Heck … I’m already thinking about attempting this cake as mini soufflé cakes in cupcake liners.

poached cranberries
2 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. water
3 c. cranberries
1 orange, zest only
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice

chocolate orange soufflé cake
10 ounces dark (semi-sweet) chocolate, chopped
10 tbsp butter (1/2 c. + 2 tbsp)
7 large eggs, separated, room temperature
1 c. + 1 tbsp sugar
1/3 c. freshly squeezed orange juice
zest of 1 large orange

chocolate whipped cream
3 ounces semi-sweet dark chocolate, chopped
1 c. heavy cream, cold

The night before:

In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil over medium – high heat; stirring initially so that the sugar dissolves. Once at a boil, add the cranberries, orange zest, cinnamon and allspice. Stir well and allow to simmer for about 2 minutes – you’ll hear the cranberries start to pop.

Remove from heat and allow to sit in the spiced syrup overnight.

Day of:

Drain the cranberries before using – discard the syrup, you won’t be needing it again.  I also let my cranberries sit in the strainer until I was ready to use them … remember to keep the strainer over a bowl since more of the liquid will drain (and you don’t want to make a mess all over your counter) ;0)

Preheat your oven to 350 F and generously spray the base and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

In a double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate – stirring from time to time. Remove from heat.

In the bowl of your stand-mixer, using your whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks and 3/4 c. + 1 tbsp of sugar until light and creamy – about 3 minutes (beat at a high speed). Once the yolks have paled (they should resemble the colour of butter), reduce the speed of the mixer and slowly add the orange juice and zest. Beat until incorporated.

Turn off the mixer and fold in the melted chocolate mixture using a spatula.

Once fully combined, pour the chocolate – egg yolk mixture into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Clean the bowl of your stand-mixer and the whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form (medium-high speed). Slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar to the egg whites, increasing the speed so that stiff peaks form. You still want the egg whites to be glossy – so don’t over beat them.

Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate – egg yolk mixture using a spatula. The batter should be quite airy.

Bake for about 45 minutes – you’ll notice that the top of the cake has formed a crust … but you might not be sure about the centre. DON’T stick a tester into the centre … gently shake the pan … ensuring that no batter splashes around. The centre will be moist.

Now you’ll take out the highest chocolate cake … don’t be disappointed when the centre drops.  It’s all good. That’s what the chocolate whipped topping and poached cranberries will disguise.

Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Just before serving:

In a double boiler melt the chocolate (or in a microwave).  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

In the bowl of your stand-mixer, using your whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream until thick and creamy.  Fold in the melted chocolate … you’re beautiful white whipped cream becomes rich and chocolately in mere moments.  De-lish!

Remove the side from the springform pan.  Spoon the chocolate-whipped cream over the top – especially over the fallen centre.

Spoon the cranberries on top of the chocolate-whipped cream.

There you have it.  A beautiful, rich, insanely wonderful dessert.  Like I said … I absolutely heart this cake.  I think you will too.

higgledy-piggledy cranberry-orange cake

Or better known as a cranberry – orange upside down cake :0)

No matter what you call this … it’s AWESOME.  Actually … it’s FANTASTICALLY DELIGHTFUL!!!!

Yes … writing it all in uppercase letters will hopefully convince everyone to try this cake for the holidays.  It’ll be a great addition to your holiday spread … the tart cranberries and the sweet orange … with that brown sugar caramel glaze … mother of pearl.  This one is a keeper.

I first made it a couple of weeks ago … we were celebrating my uncle’s birthday and quite a few people came into town … my mother, her sister, her brother, my brother, my cousin (a grand total of 12 people around the table) … it was a Dumas family reunion of sorts … and one thing the Dumas Clan loves … is dessert.

My grandmother always baked up the perfect dessert … so I’ve taken it upon myself to keep her memory alive and come up with something I think she would like.

This is one of those recipes.

And the best part … it is quick and easy.  Simple really.

I promise.

After all … if you tuned into ctv ottawa morning live yesterday you would have seen me whip up the batter with Kurt Stoodley in about 5 minutes … ok … for reasons of accuracy … it does take longer than 5 minutes … but this is still a quick and easy one.

Even Kurt felt confident enough to whip this up at Christmas.  And to be honest … I hadn’t fully committed to making this recipe yesterday until about 60 minutes before I had to be in the studio … and I was able to make it, bake it, transport it, and serve it in just under 75 minutes.

Not bad.  And it makes for a pretty funny story.

I’ve made this as both a regular 9 – inch round cake and as a bundt cake (it resembles a holiday wreath) … both work really well.  The bundt is great because it doesn’t need as much baking time … and I needed to get that cake in and out of the oven as quickly as possible yesterday!

bakers note … if using a regular round pan … don’t use your  spring form pan … that’s not such a great idea … the caramel will likely leak out of the bottom and cause a mess in your oven.  We learned that lesson when I made that mistake for my uncle’s dinner.   :0)

higgledy-piggledy cranberry – orange cake



1/4 c. butter
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 package cranberries, fresh or frozen (don’t thaw if using frozen ones)


1/2 c. butter, room temperature
3/4 c. sugar
1 orange, zest and juice, use the entire orange.
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c. buttermilk

Pre-heat your oven to 350 F.  Spray your pan with non-stick spray and set aside.

Make your topping.

In a pan over low heat, melt the butter.  Remove from heat and add the brown sugar.  Stir the brown sugar – butter until you get that wet sand texture.

Spread the brown sugar mixture along the base of the pan and then spread the cranberries on top of that.

In the bowl of your stand – mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add the orange zest, eggs and orange juice and beat again until everything is incorporated.

Add half of the dry ingredients to the mix, beat until just incorporated.

Add all the buttermilk.

Once slightly incorporated, add the rest of the dry ingredients and beat everything together (always at a slow speed once you start adding flour to your batter).

That’s it.  Spoon the batter over the cranberries, take a spatula to smooth it out and then bake.

If it’s a bundt pan it should take between 40 – 45 minutes.  If it’s a regular round pan it should be closer to 60 minutes.  I always check a little before, just to make sure.  You want the batter to be firm but bounce when you touch it with your finger.

Allow to cool in the pan for 15 – 20 minutes on a wire rack.

Run a knife around the outside of the cake and then invert it on a serving plate.  I find that sometimes not all the cranberries come off – I just take them off the bottom of the pan and place them back on top of the cake.

Then dig in and enjoy.

I don’t think I’ve ever had so many requests for a recipe …  or for a cake.  I’ll be making this one again tomorrow and over the weekend.  It’s a real winner!