Dec 4, 2009

Hot Chocolate Fudge Cakes

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m ruined.

I finally made a dessert that is so good, I’m positive I’ll never be able to out-do myself again. I generally like to keep the turnout a secret until the end of the post, but this time, I just can’t hold it in. These cakes are flat out (excuse me for a moment while I wipe the drool from my keyboard) fantastic.

And I’m not new to these dark, melty wonders, either. I’ve had the Chili's molten lava cake. And the Applebee's triple chocolate meltdown. And yes, I’m ashamed to admit that I know them by name. But I’m telling you. This recipe? Right here? Way better.

Now that I’ve gotten that out, let me start from the beginning. The shopping. While the spinach-and-artichoke dip and stuffed mushrooms were a cinch to shop for, there were two ingredients that sent me up and down the aisles for this cake: a 71% cocoa dark chocolate bar, and instant espresso powder. After multiple sessions of riffling through Kroger's chocolate bark selection, I eventually found what I was looking for in the candy aisle. Go figure. As for the espresso powder, no such luck. Thankfully, a trip to Target lead me to these little Starbucks packets of instant extra bold coffee.

Now, you’d think something this pretty and decadent would call for a big fuss in the kitchen. But these cakes are actually extremely easy to make. People will just think that you put a lot of work into them. Unless of course, you blog about it and tell everyone how easy they are. Oops.

But seriously, this is all it required: First, I chopped the chocolate. I read a review that warned against chopping it too fine, as to avoid the chocolate baking into the cake instead of melting. So I made sure my cuts were pretty coarse. No way was I going to deprive that chocolate of its right to be melted and wonderful.

Next, I sifted all the dry ingredients together and set them aside while I mixed the butter, sugar, egg and vanilla. After that, you fold in the flour-cocoa mixture, fold in the chocolate chunks, and finally, pour into ramekins. The recipe makes ten cakes, so I halved it down to five. And…the only ramekins I had were twice the size needed, so I made double-sized portions for Luke and I to fight over, err, share.




After that, you chill them in the fridge for at least four hours, or up to two days. I was very thankful that these cakes could be made in advance, because if you happened to read the post on my tree trimming party flop, you know that things were a bit hectic. Thanks to lingering weekend work and an amateur tree-lighting session, we had our cakes, but sadly didn't get to eat them.

But a couple days later, we were back at it. Tree Trimming party, part deux. Thankfully, we still had tons of leftovers , so we chowed down, then laid out all of our ornaments. And what a collection we had. Glistening icicles, feathered birds, sparkling blown glass. After about an hour, our tree was finally decorated, and it was absolutely stunning. But I tell you, nothing was more beautiful than what I was about to pull out of the oven.



Side note: Every review I read advised against the baking time in the recipe. Seems the four-ounce ramekins only need about 12 minutes or so. (Not 21.) Obviously, my mondo-sized versions took a little longer. But if you try these, and I really hope you try these, set your timer for around 10-12 minutes, and just keep peeking until they puff up and get a little crusty on top. You don’t want dried-out cake, but you also don’t want hot pudding, either.

So, I pulled out the cake, basked in its heavenly espresso aroma, sprinkled it with powdered sugar, and scooped up a little vanilla ice cream. Please do not forget this part. It’s not in the recipe, but I have no idea why. Cold, silky ice cream. Molten chocolate cake. They make a better match than Luke and I.


Luckily we savored that first warm, chocolaty bite, because every spoonful after was all too quickly inhaled. Spoons clanged. Elbows violently nudged. And death stares grew fiercer as we battled over our shared cake. Luke would have licked the ramekin clean if it wasn’t still hot from the oven.

So there you have it. I’ve made cakes and cookies and cobbler. I’ve eaten flaming bananas foster that was more expensive than my meal. But believe me. This dessert definitely takes the cake.


Hot Chocolate Fudge Cakes
Yield: 10 servings (serving size: 1 cake)

Cookbook Note: These hot-from-the-oven desserts are ideal for a holiday celebration and can mostly be made up to two days ahead.

3.4  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
2/3  cup  unsweetened cocoa
5  teaspoons  instant espresso powder
1 1/2  teaspoons  baking powder
1/4  teaspoon  salt
1/4  cup  unsalted butter, softened
2/3  cup  granulated sugar
2/3  cup  packed brown sugar
1  cup  egg substitute
1 1/2  teaspoons  vanilla extract
1  (2.6-ounce) bar dark (71% cocoa) chocolate, finely chopped (note: not too fine or it'll bake in!!!)
2  tablespoons  powdered sugar

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Sift together flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt.

Place butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 1 minute. Add granulated and brown sugars, beating until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add egg substitute and vanilla, beating until well blended. Fold flour mixture into sugar mixture; fold in chocolate. Divide batter evenly among 10 (4-ounce) ramekins; arrange ramekins on a jelly-roll pan. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Let ramekins stand at room temperature 10 minutes. Uncover and bake at 350° for 21 minutes (More like 12-15 minutes!!)  or until cakes are puffy and slightly crusty on top. Sprinkle evenly with powdered sugar; serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 260 (28% from fat), Fat: 8.2g (sat 4.5g,mono 2.3g,poly 0.2g), Protein: 5.1g, Carbohydrate: 43.9g, Fiber: 1.8g, Cholesterol: 12mg, Iron: 2.3mg, Sodium: 189mg, Calcium: 63mg.

Source: Cooking Light, December 2008.


Rachel Cotterill said...

They look so, soooo good - I've tried several similar ones, but if you say this is even better, it has to be worth a shot. I'm definitely saving this recipe, and following your blog in case you have more where this came from ;)

Merry Christmas from another Rachel!

MsEatHapPy said...

what is egg substitute?

Me, Myself and Pie said...

It's a liquid substitute for egg. You can find it in cartons next to the eggs.

Anonymous said...

egg beaters ??

Anonymous said...

I made these last year for Valentine's Day. Im back here to refresh myself on how to make them because I am going to make them again. They are sooo good!!!! I cant describe how good these are. They are easy to make too. Just trust me and just make them. You will be glad you did.

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