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Molten Chocolate Cakes

Molten Chocolate Cakes: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Generously butter four - 6 to 8 ounce (180-240 ml) molds, ramekins, or custard cups. Dust the insides with unsweetened cocoa powder (can also use granulated white sugar). Place the prepared molds on a baking sheet.

In a heatproof bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate. Remove from heat and set aside to cool while you beat the egg yolks.

In the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat the egg yolks (at room temperature) and 1/3 cup (65 grams) sugar (Sugar 1) until thick, pale, and fluffy. (When you slowly raise the beaters the batter will fall back into the bowl in a slow ribbon.) Beat in the vanilla extract and then fold in the melted chocolate mixture.

In another clean bowl, whip the egg whites (at room temperature) until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to whip until soft peaks form. Gradually add the 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of granulated white sugar (Sugar 2) and whip just until stiff peaks form. With a rubber spatula or wire whisk gently fold the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture, just until incorporated. Divide the batter between the prepared molds. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the outside edge of each cake is set, but the middles still look a little wet and wobbly. You may have cracks on the top surface of the cakes.

Immediately remove from oven and let them rest for a minute or two. You can serve the cakes in their molds or you can run an offset spatula or sharp knife around the edge of each cake and then invert onto a plate. Carefully remove the mold. If you like, you can sprinkle the tops of the cakes with confectioners sugar and place a dollop of softly whipped cream, clotted cream, or vanilla ice cream in the center of each cake. 

Leftovers can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for several days. Can reheat in the microwave, or eat cold, or at room temperature.

Note: You can prepare the cakes several hours ahead of time. Simply make the recipe, pour into the prepared molds, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Bake directly from the refrigerator. When the batter is cold the cakes may take a minute or two longer to bake.

Makes 4 Molten Chocolate Cakes.

Molten Chocolate Cakes:

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

6 ounces (170 grams) semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

3 large eggs, separated (60 grams egg yolks, 90 grams egg whites)

1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated white sugar (Sugar 1)

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) cream of tartar

1 tablespoon (15 grams) granulated white sugar (Sugar 2)

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