Let's face it: chocolate cake batter is richer in flavor and almost always much tastier than the finished product. But it'd be odd, to say the least, to serve up bowls of cake batter at a dinner party. The answer to this dilemma? Molten chocolate cakes. Baked just enough to give an elegant dinner-party-ready form to the batter, they are essentially an excuse to eat a warm, rich, oozing puddle of liquid cake. Top it off with a generous spoonful of salted caramel sauce, and it's pretty darn hard to beat.
This recipe can be halved to serve 4; do not halve further to serve 2. The cakes can be prepped up to 24 hours in advance and baked just before serving.
11 ounces bittersweet (70 percent) chocolate, such as Valhrona Guanaja, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (11 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 large eggs
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salted caramel sauce, such as CC Made Sel Gris, for serving
- Thoroughly grease 8 6-ounce ramekins, and dust the insides well with flour, tapping out the excess. Make sure the entire inner surface of each cup is completely coated. Have all ingredients measured and ready to go before proceeding to the next step.
- Combine the finely chopped chocolate, the pieces of butter, and the salt in a stainless steel or glass bowl. Place the bowl over a pot containing an inch or 2 of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the heat when the chocolate and butter are almost melted; stir to melt completely. Cool slightly. The chocolate should be just warmer than body temperature when it is added to the batter; if it seems to have cooled too much by the time it is called for, set it over the pot of barely simmering water again for a few seconds until it warms slightly.
- While the chocolate is cooling, in a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment, beat the eggs and the yolks to combine them, and then beat in the sugar. Whip the mixture at medium-high speed until very thick and pale, about 10 minutes. Gradually beat in the flour, about 1/3 cup at a time, making sure each addition is completely incorporated before adding the next. Unless you have a 5-quart (or larger) stand mixer, at this point you may need to transfer the batter to a larger bowl, one that can accommodate the egg batter and the melted chocolate-butter mixture. Gradually pour the chocolate mixture into the batter, stirring continuously. (If mixing by hand, wrap a long, damp towel around the base of the bowl to hold it steady while you pour with one hand. You may need an extra pair of hands for this stage.) Continue to beat until the batter is thick and glossy, about 5 minutes, or slightly longer if mixing by hand. Divide the batter between the prepared ramekins. (The batter will fill them almost to the top.) Refrigerate for 30 minutes, and then carefully cover each cup with plastic wrap, and chill for at least another 4, or up to 24, hours.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. About 25 minutes before you plan to bake the cakes, remove the ramekins for the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap. Set the ramekins on a half-sheet pan, and place the pan in the center of the oven. Bake the cakes until the edges are set and spring back when touched but the centers are still wobbly and jiggle slightly when the ramekins are moved, about 15 minutes. Checking the cakes often after the first 10 minutes will not have any adverse effect on them and will ensure you catch them at the right moment. Cool the cakes in the ramekins in the pans for 1 minute, and then run a thin-bladed knife gently around the edge of the cakes to loosen any stuck-on bits from the ramekins. Invert the cakes onto individual dessert plates. The cakes should unmold intact but are very delicate, so don't slam them onto the plates or otherwise force the cakes out of the cups. One smooth motion should do it. Spoon some caramel sauce on top, and serve immediately.
- Desserts, Cake
- 8 servings