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

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

Stir about 1/3 of egg whites into chocolate mixture. Carefully fold the remaining egg whites into chocolate mixture. Fold just until blended.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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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  1. laura September 6, 2012 Reply

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

  2. Juliana Walters September 6, 2012 Reply

    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. Caramel et Fleur de Sel September 6, 2012 Reply

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

  5. jennifer September 6, 2012 Reply

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

  6. Clarissa September 6, 2012 Reply

    Happy Birthday! The cake looks gorgeous, and it looks messy, sticky and gooey :-)

  7. Riley September 6, 2012 Reply

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

  8. Lindsay September 7, 2012 Reply

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

  9. Carla September 7, 2012 Reply

    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. Julia September 8, 2012 Reply

    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. Jenny @ BAKE September 10, 2012 Reply

    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. Alowa December 4, 2012 Reply

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

  14. jennifer December 4, 2012 Reply

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

  15. Alowa December 5, 2012 Reply


  16. Suzanne February 25, 2013 Reply

    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.

  17. Josee March 8, 2013 Reply

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

  18. jennifer March 8, 2013 Reply

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

  19. 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!

  20. Joyce Werdermann September 27, 2013 Reply

    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!

    • Author
      jennifer September 27, 2013 Reply

      Joyce, the cream that goes into the topping does not need to be whipped.

  21. juli gasque October 5, 2013 Reply


  22. Author
    jennifer October 5, 2013 Reply

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

  23. Tina November 27, 2013 Reply

    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 :)

  24. Author
    Jennifer McHenry November 27, 2013 Reply

    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.

  25. Sharon April 17, 2014 Reply

    Can I use a regular cake pan?

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry April 17, 2014 Reply

      You could, Sharon, but I’m afraid it will be tough to get out of the pan. The springform pan simplifies that by being able to remove the sides.

  26. Lauren October 4, 2014 Reply

    Would this cake be good refrigerated and served cold?

  27. Mary Jane December 5, 2014 Reply

    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!)

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry December 5, 2014 Reply

      I’m so glad you liked it, Mary Jane! It’s one of my favorites!

  28. LINDA BELL April 27, 2015 Reply

    what can be used in place of the bourbon?

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry April 29, 2015 Reply

      Hi, Linda. Another liquor or liqueur will work, or you can dry substituting 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract.

  29. Betty September 24, 2015 Reply

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

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry September 25, 2015 Reply

      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.

  30. Dianna October 13, 2015 Reply

    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?

  31. Author
    Jennifer McHenry October 14, 2015 Reply

    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!

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