Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Chocolate Lava Cakes

Ooey, gooey, chocolately heaven on a plate, I tell you. When we went on a Carnival cruise last year, their chocolate melting cake was one of the most popular desserts on the ship. So of course, I had to come home and look up the recipe. Most recipes for chocolate lava cakes basically just say to underbake cake batter. But I have issues with undercooked flour and raw eggs, so I went in search of a recipe with a ganache center, and found this beautiful creation. I was actually planning on making this on Christmas Eve, but got sidetracked, so my little ganache centers languished in the freezer for two months, until people on one of my message boards started making lava cakes for V-day, reminding me that I really should revive the little frozen truffles.

Things I learned while making these cakes.
1. Whipping egg whites by hand...not fun.
2. The recipe makes enough batter to fill four 7 ounce ramekins.
3. If you make round ganache centers, you will have to pile the batter on top of the ganache in a mound in the middle to cover the ganache completely. I'm thinking a disc shape might work better instead of round golf balls.
4. Four 7 ounce ramekins need to bake for about 20-22 minutes.
5. If you butter the ramekins and coat them with cocoa powder before adding the batter, the cocoa powder darkens and looks burnt, but still tastes mighty fine.
6. Make sure you have milk with this dessert. It's yummy and rich, and everyone wanted a glass of milk with it.
7. A dusting of powdered sugar or whipped cream would have made for a much prettier presentation, but I was at someone else's house, and it smelled so good I didn't care what it looked like, I just wanted to eat the chocolately goodness.

Chocolate Lava Cake
Source: teamsugar

Cake batter:
200 g dark semi-sweet chocolate
8 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1/3 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar

Chocolate Lava filling:
50 g dark semi-sweet chocolate
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp butter

Chocolate Lava filling:
1. Chop dark semi-sweet chocolate into pieces. Place into a metal bowl. Heat heavy cream, pour over chocolate and whisk until smooth. Add butter and whisk until incorporated.
2. Place mixture into the refrigerator to cool. Every few minutes whisk the mixture until a frosting like consistency is reached. If the mixture becomes firm slightly rewarm.
3. Fill a pastry bag with the ganache. Pipe-out 6 golf ball sized balls. Place these babys into the freezer until ready to use.

1. Chop the dark semi-sweet chocolate into pieces. Place into a metal bowl, add butter. Melt over a simmering waterbath. Remove from heat.
2. Add vanilla extract and (3) egg yolks. Whisk together until chocolate mixture is smooth.
3. Add well sifted cake flour, and gently incorporated into the above chocolate mixture.
4. Place the (3) egg whites into a clean metal bowl, add salt and cream of tartar. Using a whisk, whip egg whites until soft peaks form. Continue to whisk while slowly sprinkling in the sugar.
5. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold 1/3rd of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Then fold-in another 1/3rd of the egg whites. Then fold-in the last 1/3rd of the egg whites.
6. Deposit the batter into 6 large "non-stick" muffin tins - fill 3/4 full. Ramekins can also be used simply butter insides and dust with cocoa powder.
7. Push a Chocolate Lava Center into the center of each cake batter. This creates the molten lava center!

8. Bake at 375F degrees for 15 minutes. Do not over bake!
9. Remove from oven, wait 5 minutes, then unmold onto a wire rack to cool.

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