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Molten Chocolate Cakes

Monday, February 17, 2014

Recipe adopted from Food & Wine.  [Recipe makes 4 cakes].

This dessert is one I've tried once before, but didn't get the results that I had hoped for.  After seeing similar recipes posted all over the place this past Valentine's Day weekend, it sparked me to give this classic a second chance.  Although different than the previous recipe I've tested, all molten chocolate cakes (aka chocolate lava cakes) have the same basic makeup:  butter, chocolate and/or cocoa powder, eggs and additional yolks, sugar, and a small amount of flour.  The version that I tried today was much easier to throw together, and is pretty much foolproof assuming you take the cakes out of the oven at the right time.  Unlike almost all cake recipes, using a toothpick to see if the cake is done will get you no where; rather, visual cues are all that is needed for this dessert.

INGREDIENTS:

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate

2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
1 3/4 ounces (~1/4 cup) sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 450° F.  Grease four 6-ounce ramekins with butter and then dust with flour.  Tap out any excess flour.  Place ramekins on a cookie sheet and reserve.

Using a double-boiler (or a glass or metal bowl over a pot of simmering water), melt the butter and chocolate.  While the butter and chocolate are melting, whisk together the eggs, yolks, and salt in a medium bowl until light in color and thickened.  Once the butter and chocolate are completely melted, add to the egg mixture along with the flour.  Fold the ingredients together with a rubber spatula until uniform.

Divide the batter between the four ramekins and then transfer to the oven.  Bake for 11 minutes, or until the edges are firm but the center is still soft.  [Side note:  If these are overcooked for just 2-3 minutes, there's a good chance that the centers will fully cook, leaving you with no "chocolate lava"].  Let the cakes cool for 1 minute, and then invert onto individual serving plates.  Give the desserts 10 seconds to release, and then carefully lift off the ramekins.  Serve immediately while the centers are still soft.

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