Sunday, January 12, 2014


It has come to my attention that except for its foray into my pumpkin bread, there has been no chocolate on this blog yet!!!

And I call myself a baker.

It's ok, because believe it or not I can redeem myself. In a single individual confection, within the confines of a 4-inch-wide ramekin. Without floof or decoration. Just chocolaty goodness.

I present...the molten chocolate cake.

It is a rich, decadent dessert, served piping hot and still syrupy in the center, with a dollop of melting whipped cream to cut the depth of the chocolate. In my quest to define this cake-encircled elixir of sugared cocoa, I asked my younger brother to define my molten chocolate cakes. He replied "It's something that I want...and don't have."

That pretty much covers this dessert's role in my family. Either I am making them for my brothers or I am receiving injunctions to produce them. Bottom line: they are delicious.

They are also deceptively impressive, because they have to be served right out of the oven. That's really just a matter of putting them in 15 minutes before dessert is served, but it's a flair that cannot be purchased in a store. They're a great dessert for a dinner party, since they're elegant, remarkable, and yet quick and easy to put out once it's time to eat.

So without further ado--I give you--a unique staple of my dessert repertoire:

The Molten Chocolate Cake
Rich, dark, liquid, delicious. (Makes 8 cakes. It originally made 4 but I took the liberty of doubling the recipe because 4 individual cakes, really?)

10 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup good-quality butter
4 eggs
4 egg yolks
8 tbsp sugar, plus more for the whipped cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp espresso powder (optional, in whole or in part)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp flour 
Lots of whipping cream!

1. Melt chocolate and butter over low heat.
2. Beat eggs, yolks, 4 tbsp sugar, vanilla, espresso powder, and salt in an electric mixer for about 6 minutes until the mixture is smooth, homogeneous, and a thick ribbon falls when the beaters are lifted. 
3. Fold in flour one tbsp at a time. 
4. Fold in chocolate-butter mixture.
5. Butter eight small ramekins (per recipe). Divide the batter between the ramekins. 
- At this point, you can refrigerate whatever cakes you do not plan on eating promptly. I often put the ramekins on a cookie sheet, cover the whole thing with foil, and put it in the refrigerator. They will keep for at least a week.
6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Take any refrigerated cakes out of the fridge. At this point you can make the whipped cream.
7. Put the ramekins on a cookie sheet for ease of removing. Bake the cakes for about 15 minutes (they will probably need an extra couple minutes if they have been in the fridge). The rim of the cake should be solidified, while the interior still wobbles. (See pictures below.)
8. Let rest for a minute; top with whipped cream and serve immediately!

Chocolate and butter...the two dessert staples

Stock up on eggs! I use over a dozen when I make these!
Another perk of this recipe is that you get a bunch of leftover egg whites to use for egg white omelettes!
Here's what your mixture should look like when you're ready to put the flour in. This color is consistent with having added the full amount of espresso.
The finished batter
I typically make 16 cakes. Believe it or not, we eat them all!

Here are the baked cakes. You can visually tell the molten interior from the solid exterior; the inside will be reflective and the outside more matte. You can chose how much of the cake you like solidified; I prefer them more underbaked because I like having some liquidity in the center.

Don't forget the whipped cream!

1 comment:

  1. Tried the pumpkin chocolate chip bread…everyone loved it.
    When I get the time and a little courage I’ll try the chocolate molten cake…
    Would love to see how the Italian red dress was made.