September 13, 2004

Molten Chocolate Cake

I haven't made one of these in some time. Last night I decided to see if I could make a smaller than normal batch (because who really needs to eat 8 deserts on ones own?).

4 oz dark chocolate
4 oz unsalted butter
2 eggs
1/4 C sugar
1 T flour

Oven to 400 degrees. Butter and flour (or, in my case, I use cocoa powder) two small ramikins (6 oz? something like that). Melt butter and chocolate in double boiler. Once melted, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. When oven is to temp and chocolate has melted, whip eggs and sugar together until the ribbon forms. Pour in chocolate mixture and whip just to combine, then add flour and do likewise.

Pour in prepared ramikins (about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up the sides). Bake 12 minutes leaving the centers very wet. Remove from oven, run a knife around the edges and upend onto plates to serve. Makes 2-4 depending upon the size of your ramikins and how full you fill them.

If done correctly, you get a nice looking little chocolate cake, that when cut into oozes a dark chocolate sauce. Much more impressive than the work involved.

You can do these ahead of time and fridge them for up to 8 hours. I haven't ever done this, but friends who have say it works well as long as you pull them out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before baking.

Last night I used Trader Joe's dark chocolate which has a 70 percent cocoa mass. This is pretty high quality, but they obviously don't conche the chocolate as long as some of the higher-end brands. The cakes had a slightly detectable grit to them as a result.

I also have normally done a separate yolk and egg white whip (pushing the yolks to ribbon with 3/4 of the sugar and whipping to peaks the whites with the remaining). This is how I was taught to do this, but is a pain if you don't have two stand mixing bowls (and I do not, although for the life of me I don't know why) because you have to either a) wash the bowl between the whippings or b) whip the whites by hand.

Also, this approach means that you have to do folding of the whites, which is more time spent. I think the separate approach gives a slightly higher rise, and the outside of the cakes is maybe a bit "crisper" due to the sugar/white combination.

But the differences are very subtle, and the above outlined approach is probably 30 minutes total from start to the eating.

Posted by dowdy at September 13, 2004 09:01 AM