molten dark chocolate cake
In my world, all chocolate isn't created the same. I am firmly a dark chocolate girl although I don't hate on semi-sweet and milk chocolate like I do white chocolate. My first and enduring love though is dark chocolate. Now let's get down to the important stuff. If you are going to indulge in the absolute perfect chocolate treat, then it's worth making sure that the chocolate that you use is the best. If you don't think that this is true, then you really haven't had amazingly great chocolate. Luckily, I have done intensive research (especially when deciding what chocolate I wanted to use in my bakeshop) and based on my personal opinion (which is shared by lots of experts), Belgium chocolate is one of the best out there. The chocolate that I ultimately ended up using at my bakeshop was Callebaut Belgium Chocolate. Their dark chocolate as well as their dark chocolate cocoa powder. It's not cheap but it's totally worth it!
This recipe is even more special if you have the best chocolate. However, when you need a chocolate fix, nothing hits quite as good as a molten chocolate cake topped with vanilla bean ice cream. In a pinch, Trader Joe's has a some great chocolate choices from around the world. They even have their own brand of Belgium chocolate that comes in extra large bars that is great for baking. If you aren't a huge fan of dark chocolate, which isn't as sweet as milk or semi-sweet, I usually recommend that you mix a few kinds for this recipes to create a mix of all the nuances in the chocolates.
Let's get down to this recipe. If you have never made molten lava cake before, you are in for a treat. Why? Because it is actually super simple with very few ingredients and comes together super fast. I also make a few extra and just freeze them in the dishes that I baked them in so that I always have it on hand when I get a craving (usually once a month like clockwork!).
The first important thing to do is chop up your chocolate and melt it with the butter. This is important guys. You have to gently melt it so that you don't burn the chocolate. There are two ways that work for this. You can do the lazy way (which let's face it, is usually the way I do this) but I was melting chocolate for another recipe for my Halloween parties (more on that in another post this week), so I already had a Bain Marie going. A Bain Marie is how professionals melt their chocolate...it's basically a double boiler - you heat up water in a sauce pan that is topped with a heat proof bowl so that the steam gently melts the chocolate. This makes the chocolate super glossy and beautiful. Make sure that the simmering water is not so full that it's actually touching the bowl and keep your eye on it because you can burn your chocolate this way too! I usually let it melt until it's all almost smooth, then pull it off the saucepan (use gloves because the steam will burn you!) and let it finish fully melting off of the heat. It works perfectly every time!
If you are in a hurry, you can also melt the chocolate/butter in the microwave. Just be very careful and go a few seconds at a time and stir in between. Once most of the chocolate is melted, let the rest sit for a bit and melt on it's own - don't go too far because once the chocolate burns, it becomes grainy and gross!
After that, it's just about mixing all the rest of the ingredients in. First the sugar and flour and then the eggs and vanilla and you are pretty much done!
And the results? DELISH!
Molten Dark Chocolate Cake
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) butter
8 oz dark chocolate (can be a mix of dark chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate or whatever combination you prefer)
3 large eggs
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 425 °F and grease 6 (6 oz) oven safe custard cups.
Melt chocolates and butter in the microwave or in a double boiler.
Once fully melted, add the flour and sugar and stir just until everything is combined. It should be fairly thick at this point.
Stir in eggs and vanilla until the mixture is glossy and smooth.
Divide batter evenly amongst the custard cups. Place the cups on a sheet pan and bake for 14 minutes. (May take longer depending on your oven -- edges should be firm but the center should still be soft and runny.
Once done, run a knife around the edge to loosen the cakes and invert onto a dessert plate. Use gloves as the cups will be hot! Top with vanilla bean ice cream!
Really simple and a huge crowd pleaser. The most perfect part is that you can make these well in advance and just refrigerate them until you need to bake them. Plus at just 14 minutes baking time, you can have dessert ready in no time!
I actually have 3 frozen right now and after writing up this blog, me thinks it's time to bake one off with some coffee...