No points for guessing what happens next.
A trope that is little-used these days without actually being discredited
, this could be found occasionally on Dom Coms
up until the early 1970s, particularly those with child characters. A cook is attempting to bake a souffle for a fancy party or important dinner. Unfortunately, they must do so under riotous circumstances, with a consequent paranoia about the souffle collapsing. Naturally, some event — rambunctious children or a slamming door or a car backfiring — does indeed make the souffle fall, thus "spoiling" the event.
Two variations on this trope exist: In one, the rambunctious behavior around the souffle is quieted down with no ill effects, only to have a relatively-distant disturbance (slamming door, car backfire) collapse the souffle after it is "safe" (the souffle can be replaced by say, a sleeping baby). The other works much the same, except that it is the cook him- or herself which triggers the collapse.
In reality, the only way to drop a soufflé into a puddle of goo is to:
- Open the oven prematurely (sponge cakes are also subject to this)
- Improperly construct it so that the fat in the yolk mixture destabilizes the foamy whites mixture. Refer to the relevant Good Eats episode. What Alton Brown doesn't say, though, is that it is laughably easy to do this, especially given mid-20th century ingredients and equipment.
See also Carrying a Cake
- Gaston Lagaffe once bakes an enormous souffle to cheer up his chronically depressed cousin. Initially it seems to work, but collapses at a critical moment, resulting in the "most depressing sight ever." Probably justified, since Gaston is a Cordon Bleugh Chef often bordering on a Lethal Chef.
- He also accidentally transformed a Grand Marnier bottle into a rocket grenade while trying to flambee some crepes, missing the french president's limousine in a nearby parade by only a few meters.
- Used straight but comedically in the notorious Sith Academy Slash Fic series; the humor of the situation comes from the fact that the person baking the chocolate souffle is Darth Maul, a vicious-minded Sith Lord who otherwise has the patience of a hyperactive weasel, while what causes it to collapse (and Maul to fly into a homicidal rage) is two Jedi Knights (Obi Wan Kenobi and Qui Gon Jinn, as it happens) having noisy sex in the apartment next door.
- In Beetle Bailey, a similar thing is a recurring theme with Cookie's cakes, which can apparently be deflated by loud bangs when in the oven — he even has a cake of potential Guinness World Records size fail due to a massive simultaneous artillery practice barrage being initiated at the critical moment.
- A variation on The Muppet Show: The Swedish Chef's soufflé comes out of the oven so light it actually floats into the air. He shoots an arrow at it in an attempt to get it to fall down. It falls down, all right...in both senses of the word.