Recipe: Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes

Friday, October 02, 2009

I'm a sucker for anything chocolate... especially when it's topped a nice scoop of ice cream. When John used to work for a restaurant company and we could eat there free, their molten cake showed up on our table more time than I (or my hips) care to share... So I don't know if I was happy or not when I saw this recipe as it could be considered slightly dangerous. What's nice about these cakes is how easy they are to make and how you could make a whole batch days before a dinner party. Simply keep them in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days - when ready to serve, just heat them in the microwave for 30 seconds to get the centers soft and flowing.

Chocolate Lava Cakes (adapted from Family Fun Magazine)
1 Stick + 2 T Unsalted Butter 6 oz Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (or bar broken into pieces) 1 t Vanilla Extract 6 t Granulated Sugar 3 Large Eggs, room temperature 1 Egg Yolk, room temperature 1 1/2 C Confectioner's Sugar 1/2 C Flour Big Pinch of Salt Heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Use a double boiler, or created you own by filling a saucepan with an inch of water, then fitting a heat safe mixing bowl in the top of the pan. Combine the butter and the chocolate in the bowl over hot (but not boiling) water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted, about 5 minutes. When it's completely melted, stir the chocolate mixture to fully combine the ingredients. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and stir in the vanilla. Set aside. While the chocolate mixture cools, butter six 8 oz ramekins. Place 1 t of granulated sugar inside each one. Tip and turn the cups to coat them with the sugar, then set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolk. Add the confectioners' sugar and whisk again. The batter will look lumpy at this point. Whisk in the chocolate mixture, then add the flour and salt, and stir with a wooden spoon until the batter is smooth. Divide the batter among the 6 ramekins and set 5 of them aside. You'll use the 6th cake to conduct a trial run of the baking process. Place your trial cake in the oven and bake it until the top is flat (not sunken or bulging), about 9 minutes. Be sure to monitor the baking closely so the cake does not overbake and become set in the center. Remove the trial cake from the oven (make note of the baking time) and place it on a pot holder to cool for 5 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edges of the cake to loosen it from the baking cup. Place a dessert plate over the baking cup and, using a pot holder, invert the cake onto the plate. Wait 15 seconds, then carefully lift the cup off the plate. The cake should have a nice, round shape and be slightly sunken in the center. Use a knife to gently poke the middle of the cake to find out if it's molten and lava-like beneath the surface. Finish baking the rest of the cakes in two batches. Allow the cakes to cool at least 30 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream. Each cake could serve 1 or 2 people.

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