Monday, August 23, 2010
Molten Chocolate Cakes Recipe
Aaaahhh...I want to eat this! Can someone bake it for me?
It is not until your spoon breaks through the Molten Chocolate Cake's outer crust, that you find its pudding-like center. This dessert has been described as souffle-like, cake-like, brownie-like, mousse-like, and pudding-like, and that is because it has all of these characteristics. Molten Chocolate Cakes, also known as Chocolate Lava Cakes, have a rich and chocolately flavor, and a texture that is dense and moist. These cakes will rise beautifully as they bake (like a souffle), but once they are removed from the oven they will slowly deflate.
New York Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is credited with inventing this cake back in 1987. The story goes that he pulled a chocolate sponge cake from the oven before it was completely done. As their name implies, Molten Chocolate Cakes are usually served hot, often with a chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream, softly whipped cream, clotted cream or creme fraiche. Leftovers can be refrigerated and eaten cold the next day (or reheated in the microwave). The one thing everyone agrees on is that they have an intense chocolate flavor so use a very good dark chocolate. You can use either a bittersweet or semi sweet but look for a chocolate that has a lovely shiny finish (a sign that the chocolate was cooked at the right temperature for the right amount of time) and one that has that wonderful 'snap' when you break it into pieces.
When making these cakes you can use individual ramekins, molds, custard cups, or even muffin tins. The cakes can be served in their molds but if you want to remove them from their cups before serving, it is important to generously butter each mold so the baked cakes release easily onto your serving plate. You may want to first run a sharp knife around each cake before unmolding. The batter can be made several hours in advance of baking. Just pour the batter into the individual molds, cover each mold with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until you are ready to bake them. The cakes are baked until set, yet the centers will still look a little wet and wobbly. You may notice some cracks on the top surface. As the cakes cool the chocolate sauce in the center of the cake will continue to set.
Molten Chocolate Cakes: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Generously butter 4 - 3/4 cup (180 ml) molds, ramekins, or custard cups and dust the insides with granulated white sugar. Place the prepared molds on a baking sheet and set aside while you make the chocolate cakes.
In a stainless steel bowl suspended over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate. Remove from heat and set aside while you whip the egg yolks.
In your electric mixer beat the egg yolks and 1/3 cup (65 grams) sugar until thick, pale, and fluffy. (When you slowly raise the beaters the batter will fall back into the bowl in slow ribbons.) Beat in the vanilla extract and then fold in the melted chocolate mixture.
In another clean bowl whip the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to whip until soft peaks form. Gradually add the 1 tablespoon of granulated white sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. With a rubber spatula or wire whisk gently fold the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture, just until incorporated. Do not over mix or the batter will deflate. Divide the batter between the prepared molds, filling about 3/4 full. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the outside edges of the cakes are set but the middle still looks a little wet. You may have cracks on the top surface of the cakes.
Immediately remove from oven and let them rest for a minute or two. Run a palette or sharp knife around the edge of each cake and then invert onto the center of each serving plate. Carefully remove the mold. Sprinkle the top of each cake with confectioners sugar and place a dollop of softly whipped cream, clotted cream, creme fraiche, or vanilla ice cream on top of each warm cake.
Note: You can prepare the chocolate mixture several hours ahead of time. Simply make the recipe, pour into the prepared molds, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Bake just before serving. When the batter is cold the cakes may take a minute or two longer to bake.
Makes 4 - 3/4 cup (180 ml) individual cakes.