You know you can make a baking soda and vinegar volcano to simulate a volcanic eruption or you can use other ingredients like yeast and peroxide or citric acid and baking soda, but have you considered how the cooking of a souffle is a volcano simulation?
How a Souffle Models a Volcano
While the bubbles formed by the chemical reactions that make ‘volcanoes’ behave somewhat like magma and gases, a souffle is a better simulant because the egg whites of a souffle harden much like lava hardens into rock. Lava can be foamy as the gases in magma come out of solution, forming bubbles of steam, carbon dioxide, and other gases. When a souffle is cooked, the air bubbles and steam trapped by the egg expand, causing the souffle to rise. When the gas bubbles form in magma expand, they forcefully bubble the magma up so that it erupts as lava. If a souffle overflows its dish, you get a foamy mess that rolls down the side of the pan and eventually hardens as the egg cooks. When lava erupts from a volcano, it can cascade down the side of the cone, with the lava hardening into rock.
Are you ready to try out an edible chemical volcano? Here’s a chocolate volcano souffle recipe. It’s a little more complicated than mixing baking soda and vinegar, but it tastes a whole lot better, so it’s worth the trouble.
How to Make Individual Chocolate Volcano Souffles
Don’t feel intimidated by a souffle. It’s not complicated or difficult!
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped or grated
- 3 egg yolks, room temperature
- 6 egg whites, room temperature
- pinch of salt
- butter or nonstick cooking spray
- granulated or powdered sugar or cocoa powder
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Butter or spray 6 personal-size ramekins. Sprinkle the inside of the ramekins with granulated sugar.
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl that you have set inside of a pan of very hot water.
- Once the chocolate is melted, remove the bowl from heat and whisk in the egg yolks.
- In a separate bowl (preferably copper), beat together the egg whites plus a pinch of salt until soft peaks form.
- Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar. Continue beating the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks.
- Stir a spoonful of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg whites. Continue folding until the mixture is uniformly-colored.
- Equally divide the mixture between the 6 prepared ramekins.
- You can bake the souffles right away or can allow them to rest for up to 30 minutes. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the souffle is set and the tops are crusty.
- Sprinkle the souffles with your choice of powdered sugar, granulated sugar, or cocoa powder. Or, top it with ice cream or whipped cream for lava that runs down the sides of the cake.
- Enjoy your treat and try to imagine the tasty chocolate confection is molten lava, which is what it will feel like on your tongue if you don’t let the ramekins cool enough before diving in.
- Peterson, J. (2012). Glorious French Food: A Fresh Approach to the Classics. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 130–132. ISBN 978-0-544-18655-2.
- Sehlke, A.; Whittington, A.; Robert, B.; Harris, A.; Gurioli, L.; Médard, E. (2014). “Pahoehoe to ‘a’a transition of Hawaiian lavas: an experimental study”. Bulletin of Volcanology. 76 (11): 876. doi:10.1007/s00445-014-0876-9