Chocolate Souffle Custard Cake, A.k.a. Chocolate Magic Cake

by Ala
1 cake
1 hr 10 min

So remember how last week I wouldn’t shut up about this Vanilla Souffle Custard Cake (a.k.a. “Magic Cake”) that I made, and then some of you tried making it right away and it was a total hit?

This week I made the chocolate version (AGAIN–yes, this is a repeat recipe, it’s that friggin’ good) and nobody else who tried it will shut up about it, either. So really, I’m just the messenger here, and all chocolate lovers in your life will thank you for it. Cue the Chocolate Souffle Custard Cake choirs!

For those of you who are wondering why this recipe is called “Chocolate Magic Cake,” let me sum it up for you: one simple batter -> pan -> magic happens in oven -> three-layered dessert. Cake on the bottom, creamy chocolate custard in the middle, and a pillowy chocolate souffle on top! If that isn’t science magic, I really don’t know what is.

This Chocolate Magic Cake holds a particularly dear spot in my recipe file. The first time I made it, I shared it at a friend’s farewell party before she left the States and headed home for Spain. The second time was this past weekend, when a huge group of us gathered for a Friendsgiving party filled with dance battles, a wooden table groaning under dessert dishes, and one very boozed-up Mannequin challenge. And now I’m making it for our Thanksgiving family dinner, alongside the original Magic Cake that will forevermore remain in my top 10 favorite desserts.

What makes each of these experiences so beautiful for me (besides the obvious fact that they involve a chocolate dessert!) are the incredibly mixed feelings of love that I associate with them. I miss the old days when I would bake the same recipe over and over again because it was a significant other’s or close friend’s favorite dessert ever, but sharing this single cake with so many amazing people in my life recently has been a whole new kind of blessing: it has been a reminder to me that as we grow older, we continue to love in new and even bigger ways than we ever imagined possible when we were young. Once I graduate, I know that I will also miss the days when friends lived just a phone call and two blocks away, with a freshly-baked cake waiting on my stovetop for their arrival. All the same, I have no doubt that we’ll keep learning to open up our hearts and reach out to each other even as our lives drift, and not only during the holiday seasons.

For now, though, I’m sending all of my love to each and every one of you and your families this Thanksgiving! Served, of course, with a side of this magical chocolate cake.

Chocolate Souffle Custard Cake, A.k.a. Chocolate Magic Cake
Recipe details
  • 1  cake
  • Prep time: 20 Minutes Cook time: 50 Minutes Total time: 1 hr 10 min
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  • 4 eggs, room temperature and separated
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter or margarine, melted
  • 6 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups lukewarm milk
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8x8-inch baking pan and set aside.
In a metal bowl, beat egg whites with a hand mixer on low for 30 seconds, then add 1 tablespoon white sugar and continue beating on high until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
In a separate large bowl, use hand mixer to beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add vanilla and butter; continue mixing for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Fold in flour, cocoa powder, and salt.
Slowly beat in milk until completely incorporated.
Gently fold egg whites (1/3 at a time) into batter. Note: this will seem extremely difficult to do gently since your egg whites will float around in the batter as you fold. Don't worry: you should still see some white bits in the batter when you're finished. Be sure not to whisk the egg whites, since doing so will deflate your cake.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 40-55 minutes in preheated oven, or until custard layer has set and the center of the pan jiggles only slightly when shaken.
Serve warm or allow to chill overnight for at least 6 hours before dusting with powdered sugar and serving. Store leftovers in a tightly-sealed container in the refrigerator.
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  • RHEA RHEA on Aug 27, 2022

    Can this be made with another milk beverage?

    • See 1 previous
    • Ala Ala on Aug 28, 2022

      I often sub oat or soy milk with pretty minor changes to consistency, though I haven't personally tried it for this one. But based on my experience with this recipe, you could give it a fair try!

  • Kirsty Brown Kirsty Brown on Aug 27, 2022

    May I ask, why use unsalted butter, then add salt? Could I use the ordinary salted butter I already have?

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    • M M on Jan 18, 2024

      I always use salted butter and my cakes never taste salty.