Monday, February 15, 2010

Molten Chocolate Cake

A few weeks ago, I was at a foodie celebration enjoying sampling all kinds of wine and yummy food. I also attended a demonstration on making a wonderfully impressive, but very simple, molten chocolate cake (also called chocolate lava cake) in just about 30 minutes. Further, he made a crême anglais, sugar swirls and decorations, and ice cream. I'm not that ambitious.

For Valentine's Day, I wanted a special dessert, so I decided to make the molten chocolate cake. But I didn't want serve it with heavy custardy (though quite yummy) add-ons. Instead, I made a simple strawberry sauce to go with it. Score!!!!

Molten Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Sauce
Chocolate Ganache
3.5 oz heavy cream (by weight)
3.5 oz good bittersweet chocolate (by weight), I used Ghiradelli's

Chop chocolate into smaller pieces. Heat both chocolate and cream in a double-boiler until chocolate is melted and the sauce is smooth. Do not let mixture boil.

Make this up and put in freezer the day before you are making the chocolate so the ganache has time to set.

Chocolate Cake
7 oz good bittersweet chocolate (by weight), again I used Ghiradelli's
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon chocolate extract (if you don't have this, just add this much vanilla)
3 eggs separated and at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sifted cake flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar (not superfine)
1/8 teaspoon ground achiote
1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Melt chocolate and butter in double-boiler.

Mix egg yolks, vanilla extract, and chocolate extract together. Remove chocolate and butter mixture from heat and quickly wisk the egg mixture in.

Sift flour 2x. Mix flour, sugar, achiote, cayenne, and cinnamon together. Blend into the chocolate mixture.

Whip egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.

Fold one third of the egg white into chocolate mixture. Once that is incorporated, fold the second third in. Then fold in the final third. This allows the egg whites to be incorporated without losing too much of their loft.

Grease four 6 to 8 oz ramekins with cooking oil, then dust with cocoa powder.

Fill each ramekin about 1/2 full. Place a largish cherry-sized piece of ganache in center. Fill until ramekin is just over 3/4 full.

Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 15 minutes. The edges will be starting to crack, but the center will be barely set. Be careful not to overbake.

Let cook for about five minutes, then remove from ramekins.

Serve warm.

Strawberry Sauce
8 oz ripe strawberries
1 tablespoon sugar (if the strawberries are very sweet, use less sugar)

Slice strawberries into small cubes. Add sugar and mix well.

Place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours to allow sugar to draw out juice.

Mash lightly with a potato masher.

Spoon strawberry sauce over chocolate cake.

This turned out wonderfully! The tart but slightly sweet strawberry sauce was a perfect foil to the bitterness of the chocolate. The spices added just a tiny touch of heat to the cake, not enough to create any burn, but enough to make the chocolate just a little complex. We really enjoyed it.


Aryanhwy merch Catmael said...

Ooooh...this is one I'd love to see pictures of. I think my nephew (whose nickname is "Mr. Chocolate") would love this.

Susan Wensel said...

I need to start doing photos of my dishes again, but by the time they are done, I'm more than ready to eat and my camera (and tripod) are never in the kitchen.