chocolate spectrum disorder: individual molten chocolate cakes
It’s been a while since my last chocolate post – a decent and reasonable amount of time – safe for a new chocolate recipe, I think.
If you saw my earlier post entitled, “chocolate lunacy” and the recipe for no-bake dark chocolate and peanut butter squares (see archives July 2012), you’ll know that I am addicted to chocolate. In fact, I empathized with a Lithuanian chocolate-maker who is a self-described chocolate lunatic. Subsequently I’ve decided lunatic is a bit harsh – as a friend pointed out – it’s more of a chocolate spectrum disorder.
I’ve been eye-balling these individual molten chocolate cakes for a while. Everyone’s making them – from Nigella to Canadian chef Michael Smith, to (of course) Martha. I read the recipes and the reviews. Michael Smith’s were apparently too eggy. And they have no flour which made me wary. Martha’s had mixed reviews from sublime to “I wasted all that chocolate.” Nigella’s reviews look suspiciously edited and scanty both in number and content. Not one person had a flop. Really? Even Martha leaves the flop comments on her site. “These look good,” just isn’t all that convincing Nigella.
I tried a variation of the theme. I used fewer eggs than Michael Smith’s recipe. I used a small amount of flour. Unlike Martha who had an elaborate method for buttering and sugaring her pans, I just used jumbo muffin liners. Truthfully, all of the recipes are much of a muchness. The thing I’m most excited about is that we just got Hershey’s Chipits DARK CHOCOLATE CHIPS in Canada. Hurray! At 50% cocoa – rest assured – you’re not making dessert – you’re serving up antioxidants. It’s all good.
So go ahead – make some molten chocolate cakes secure in the knowledge you’re doing the right thing. The first time I made them, I was visiting a friend for a belated birthday get-together. We had them with Kir Royales. My favourite drink. Both the chocolate cakes and the drinks were perfect –and a great combination.
But I forgot to photograph them. So I made them again almost immediately, only I didn’t whip them out of the oven soon enough and they weren’t so fabulously molten.
Now I’m making them a third time in very short order – hopefully this time I’ll get them right AND remember to take a photograph.
I would say the secret to perfect molten cakes is to use your timer. Whip them out of the oven as soon as the timer goes off. It’s a little tricky because you don’t really want to serve raw batter (and therefore raw eggs) but you don’t want cook these to the point they become a regular, ordinary chocolate cupcakes. Oven temperatures do vary so there is some judgement involved in when to take them out. But for molten cakes you only want the top of the cakes to be just set. If anything, err on the side of under-cooking. Remove the cakes from the oven at the point that the top is just solid and a little risen. If you were to press down on the top – the impression of your fingerprint should remain in the cakes. (So skip this step!) The tops may be cracked and they may collapse when you take them out. That’s perfect.
Don’t let all this put you off. Make the molten chocolate cakes asap.
Individual Molten Chocolate Cakes
4 tbsp butter (or margarine for dairy-free version)
1/3 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup dark (bittersweet or semi-sweet) chocolate chips, melted gently
2 tbsp dark chocolate chips, extra
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a muffin pan with 6 jumbo muffin liners.
Beat together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition. Add vanilla.
Combine the flour, salt, and cocoa. If necessary sieve into the egg mixture (necessary only if your cocoa is slightly lumpy). Mix gently. Stir in the melted chocolate. Do not over mix.
Place a tablespoonful or so of batter into muffin liner. Add a few of the extra chocolate chips. Top with batter. Repeat until batter is used – should make about 6 molten cakes.
Bake for 10 minutes (max).
Serve warm with ice cream, or whipped cream, or au naturel. These are good for whatever ails you even if nothing ails you – consider them preventative medicine.