Is it that time of the month? I am in the mood for sweets again and since I have some time to work in the kitchen later while my dear Jeremy will be working on his essays, I decided to pamper him and satisfy my craving by making a chocolate-y dessert. It was a toss between molten chocolate cake or some good 'ole fudgy brownies. I am inclined to make the brownies just because leftovers (if any!) can be frozen and thawed without much damage to the taste. Warm chocolate cake however, eh, I would be attempting a new recipe so I don't know how that's gonna keep.
In any case, the molten chocolate cake won me over as I mentally drooled at the sight of warm chocolate lava flowing out, slowly and viscously, from the cavity created by a small dessert spoon. I had searched hard online for a reputable and safe recipe and finally found a couple that promised to achieve a thin crust with a really molten and warm chocolate filling full of cacao goodness.
The recipe was easy to follow and ingredients were easily available. However, in my haste to make this dessert, I had to make some amendments. Firstly, I did not have any fine bittersweet chocolate on hand so I substituted that with 55% chocolate and reduced the amount of sugar by about 2 teaspoonfuls. As I melted the chocolate with the butter, I thought the batter looked rather thin, but chose to have faith in the recipe. The rest of the recipe followed easily.
I could not wait to try the final product, much less refrigerate the chocolate batter first. The resulting batter was still warm when I poured it into a buttered and floured non-stick muffin pan. I stuck it into the oven, and a long 7-minute anticipating followed.
The cake looked and smelled good. That was a promising start. But alas, that promise failed to carry through as Jeremy sliced through the cake. The crust was too thick for my liking, as you can see from my picture. It was recommended to bake the refrigerated batter, brought up to room temperature, for 6-7 minutes. I concluded that because my batter was warm, I should have reduced the baking time accordingly, which I failed to do so. 4-5 minutes would probably had sufficed.
The molten chocolate center came out rather well, a consistency I liked. It looked just fudgy enough yet not runny. Well, if the disappointing crust was not bad enough, Jeremy commented that the molten chocolate tasted bitter to him. In his words, "Dear, did you forget to add sugar?" I asked my brother for his opinion but he thought it was fine. But then again, he is one who likes eating 77% chocolate.
So with two differing opinions, it would have made sense for me to be the final tie-breaker. But call it pride, call it ego, but the lack of compliments had caused me to lose my appetite for the cake so I did not taste it at all.
It was probably a good thing I only made 2 cakes. I added about 2 teaspoonfuls of icing sugar into the remaining batter, which I will attempt to experiment again tomorrow by baking the cold batter for 6 minutes, without buttering and flouring the non-stick tin. Hopefully the crust would be thinner then. I am really looking forward to that and will update again tomorrow.
Warm, Soft Chocolate Cake
(Jean-Georges Vongerichtenand Mark Bittman from Jean-Georges: Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus more to butter the molds
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably Valrhona
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons flour, plus more for dusting
In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, heat the butter and chocolate together until the chocolate is almost completely melted. The batter will be thin.
While that's heating, beat together the eggs, yolks, and sugar with a whisk or electric beater until light and thick.
Beat together the melted chocolate and butter; it should be quite warm. Pour in the egg mixture, then quickly beat in the flour, just until combined.
Butter and lightly flour four 4-ounce molds, custard cups, or ramekins. Tap out the excess flour, then butter and flour them again. Divide the batter among the molds. (At this point you can refrigerate the desserts until you are ready to eat, for up to several hours; bring them back to room temperature before baking.)
Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Bake the molds on a tray for 6 to 7 minutes; the center will still be quite soft, but the sides will be set.
Invert each mold onto a plate and let sit for about 10 seconds. Unmold by lifting up one corner of the mold; the cake will fall out onto the plate. Serve immediately, ideally with a scoop or two, of rich good vanilla ice cream. Warm chocolate on cold vanilla ice cream is a match made in heaven :)