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Chocolate Caramel Pecan Souffle Cake

My birthday was last week, and in keeping with tradition, Quinn baked me a cake. I feel a little bad because the recipe I picked involved a lot of steps including making caramel, which is usually a dicey proposition. I offered him an out, but he decided to dive in and make my initial cake choice.

I know that it was just a couple of days ago that I was extolling the virtues of simple cakes. Well, my friends, this one does not fall into the Simple Cake category. It’s not that any part of it is particularly difficult. There are just a lot of parts to it. It adds up.

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Souffle Cake is a rich, delicious dessert that's worthy of a special occasion.

The recipe comes to us from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey. It’s a cookbook I’ve had for a while, but I recently rediscovered it in the midst of our packing madness. Quinn followed the recipe closely with just one exception. Instead of trying to time the topping to be done just as the cake was done baking, he split the two components into two days. If I were making this, that is likely what my approach would be, just to make things a little simpler.

My biggest advice for making this cake is to be sure to read all the way through the recipe before baking. Now, I know that is one of the top rules of baking. Surely none of us ever just dive in without first reading every detail. You know, that’s my approach in theory, but I don’t always stick to it. But, trust me. You’ll want to read through this and avoid any surprises.

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Souffle Cake is a rich, delicious dessert that's worthy of a special occasion.

This cake is incredibly good. If you’re a fan of all things chocolate and caramel and pecans, this is for you. It’s also incredibly rich. That slice you see up there is in no way a serving suggestion, unless you’re sharing it with a couple of friends.

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Souffle Cake

Yield 10 to 12 servings
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes

This Chocolate Caramel Pecan Souffle Cake is a rich, delicious dessert worthy of a special occasion.

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Souffle Cake


For the cake:

  • 2-3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup superfine sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 16 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 8 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon


To make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Brush a 10-inch springform pan with melted butter and coat the bottom and sides with superfine sugar. Tap out excess.
  2. Place chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave for 90 seconds at half-power. If chocolate does not melt when stirred, heat in 30-second intervals until chocolate melts when stirred. Stir mixture until smooth. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat egg yolks and salt until smooth. Gradually add 1/2 cup superfine sugar and beat until thick and pale yellow (4-6 minutes). Whisk in bourbon and vanilla. Gradually whisk egg mixture into melted chocolate and butter.
  4. Place egg whites and cream of tartar in a stainless steel bowl. Using an electric mixer on low speed, whisk until foamy. Increase mixer speed to high and beat until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1/2 cup superfine sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form.
  5. Stir about 1/3 of egg whites into chocolate mixture. Carefully fold the remaining egg whites into chocolate mixture. Fold just until blended.
  6. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until cake rises and is puffy and firm. The cake should be moist but not liquid in the center. A pick inserted into the center should come out with moist crumbs.
  7. Allow it to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. The top will fall some as it cools. Remove the sides of the pan.

To make the topping:

  1. Combine sugar, water, and cream of tartar in a large, heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar has dissolved and starts to change color. Increase heat to high. Boil mixture 4-5 minutes, or until it turns a deep amber color. Be careful not to burn the mixture.
  2. Remove pan from heat and stir in pecans, cream, and salt. Place pan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, 3-4 minutes, or until caramel thickens. Remove from heat. Stir in bourbon. Set aside and keep warm if not using immediately.
  3. Spoon warm topping over cake. Allow cake and topping to cool completely before serving. Use a very sharp knife to cut cake.


Recipe adapted from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey.

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    47 Comments on “Chocolate Caramel Pecan Souffle Cake”

  1. Wonderful! Could you tell me the measure of the pan please? Thanks a lot!

  2. Wow, my birthday is coming up this weekend! Maybe I will make that for myself. I can’t believe how amazing that looks! If the texture is how I think it will be by looking at the cake and its ingredients I am in for a treat! Thank You!

  3. This cake is stunning! Awesome idea!

  4. This looks heavenly! The combination of caramel and pecans sounds really wonderful.
    Lovely blog!

  5. Laura, you’ll need a 10-inch springform pan.

  6. Happy Birthday! The cake looks gorgeous, and it looks messy, sticky and gooey 🙂

  7. There’s nothing better than chocolate and caramel! Yum!

  8. I’ll have to try this. It looks so good! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Looks like Quinn did an exceptional job! I have that same cookbook and have been dying to use it. I also tend to not read recipes completely through, especially when you have to let something rest or chill for an hour or more haha

  10. I’m a huge fan of pecan pie so this looks right up my alley. Will definitely have to try this out in the near future.

  11. happy birthday! what a gorgeous cake!

  12. Wholly , molly! It looks so delicious! I simply adore your sauce, the only bed thing is that I’m hungry now :).

  13. Can you leave out the bourbon? Would you need to replace it with anything?

  14. Alowa, I would either leave it out or replace at least part of it with vanilla extract.

  15. Thank you so much for this recipe. I made it with just vanilla extract. It was so incredibly delicious. I’m now trying to figure out a reason to make it again.

  16. Hello, i want to do this cake for my husband’s birthday. Can i do it the day before?

  17. Josee, you can make it in advance. I would keep the topping separate and heat it just before serving.

  18. This cake looks divine. I must make this for my husbands birthday, he would absolutely love it! Thanks for the recipe! Love your photos and website!

  19. Did you whip the heavy cream for the topping before you added it, or did you just pour into mixture as is? Thank you for reply. This recipe looks like a keeper!


  21. Hi, Juli. If you’re viewing on your computer, make your window larger. That should resolve the issue.

  22. Hi Jennifer,
    Just making this wonderful soufflé, unfortunately I’m already at 40 mins baking and the center is still extremely liquidy!!
    Would that be normal? Did something go wrong with my ingredients?

    Thanks 🙂

  23. Hi, Tina. I’m sorry I didn’t see your comment sooner. I hope your cake turned out well. If you didn’t change any of the ingredients, the ingredients shouldn’t be the problem. Is it possible your oven temperature is inaccurate? That’s a common problem among ovens. I like to check mine periodically with an oven thermometer. I know that doesn’t help you much right now, but it’s something to think about for the future.

  24. Can I use a regular cake pan?

  25. Would this cake be good refrigerated and served cold?

  26. Oh my goodness, this is such a delicious cake! The first time I made it, I didn’t catch the fact that you need a 10 inch springform pan. I have a 9 inch, so the first time I made it, it took way more than 30 minutes to bake, and it didn’t have the lightness a soufflé cake should have. Still yummy though. This time I caught the error and poured a small portion of the batter into a smaller round pan and baked it alongside the 9 inch springform. It was kind of nice to be able to give the smaller cake away! (Though I’m still putting a 10 inch springform pan on my wish list!)

  27. what can be used in place of the bourbon?

  28. The sauce recipe didn’t work for me. Should there have been butter in the recipe?

    • I’m sorry you had troubles, Betty! The sauce recipe is correct. I find that caramel can be a bit temperamental. It’s possible it didn’t get hot enough or cook long enough. You might also check that your cream of tartar is fresh.

  29. If you make the cake the day before do you store it at room temperature or refrigerate it? After you put the warm topping on how long should you wait to cut and serve it? Do you serve it with a dollop of whipped cream or just the way it is?

  30. Hi, Dianna. You can store it at room temperature. Let the topping cool to room temperature before serving it. The whipped cream is up to you!

  31. Just made this again and it’s as wonderful as ever.  If I am ever organized to make the cake a day before I want to serve it, I think it would be worth it for letting the bourbon flavor develop a bit more.  I really notice it more when I’m eating the leftovers!

  32. Hi
    Thanks read this recipe it’s yummm would definitely give it a try ,my only query was there is no all purpose flour mentioned in the recipe, would the cake be really stable,I know this recipe calls for 8 eggs but just was a bit doubtful,if you could please clear my doubts so I could go ahead and give it a try thankyou so much and God bless.

    • The lack of flour isn’t really an issue with this type of cake. Flourless chocolate cakes tend to be really rich, dense, and fudgy. The finished product should look like the cake in these photos.

  33. Hi! This looks amazing, but I only have a 9inch pan. Would the cake still bake properly? Thank you! 

    • Hi, Anna. The cake will be thicker, so it will take longer to bake. Given that, it’s possible that the edges will be a bit over-baked in order to get the center baked thoroughly.

  34. Aren’t those walnuts though

  35. Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Dear Jennifer, Happy Birthday to you. 
    OM Goodness, that cake smothered with scrumptious caramel !  I am a caramel freak. One of my favorate things on earth. I could spoon that caramel right off that cake and eat every bit of it. It would not be safe in our house. 
    Hope you had a wonderful birthday.

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