Thursday, March 1, 2012

Warm Chocolate Melting Cake

My family loves to cook and sometimes that can mean we have a competition for space and time in the kitchen. Two weeks ago my parents spent the entire weekend in the kitchen and cooked up a storm, to which my dad followed up with instructions that no one was allowed to cook for a week, or at least until all of the food had been consumed.

As I was complaining about this so-called "kitchen ban" my aunt replied that I was always welcome to come over to her house and use her kitchen anytime my heart desired. Since I was on break from school I decided to take her up on the offer and so we planned an Oscar cooking party. I came over to her house last Sunday and spent the better part of the afternoon cooking with her and then had dinner with her family, as well as my brother. And while we cooked we had the Oscars playing in the background, starting with the red carpet and then into the ceremony itself.

Prior to coming over, I told my aunt that she needed to pick out a menu based on recipes from my blog. She decided to leave that to my uncle, due to his more picky nature, and he chose tom kah gai soup to start, baked chicken parmesan and zucchini fries as the main, and red wine poached pears with cranberry sauce for dessert. Seeing as how I had made all of these items before I still wanted to make one new thing so I chose this warm chocolate melting cake.

A couple of months ago my family went on a holiday cruise to Mexico aboard the Carnival Splendor. We had a great time all together and I took away some fabulous memories from the trip. One of the highlights was definitely this warm chocolate melting cake, which was featured on the dessert menu every night. No matter if we ordered other desserts, someone at the table always managed to order this cake every was kind of like a full proof backup. The beauty is that it features a not too dense cake with a molten chocolate center. Carnival cruise line is actually known for this infamous cake and I easily found the recipe online when I returned home.

I have to admit that when I initially made the little cakes on Sunday at my aunt's house they didn't exactly turn out like I had wanted. Although my aunt has a state-of-the-art Viking stove and oven it isn't the easiest to work with, especially to someone unfamiliar with it. The temperature for the oven has to be manually set and eyeballing 375 degrees Fahrenheit on a little dial is quite challenging. That, coupled with my slight alteration of the recipe's baking instructions, resulted in cakes that were overbaked and therefore missing the molten center. They tasted good, but they weren't "melting".

Attempt #2: Success!
Luckily I had some extras leftover as the recipe made enough for eight cakes but we only baked five on Sunday, one for each of us. A couple of days later I baked the cakes at my house, this time in my reliable oven and following the recipe's instructions to a T. The result was exactly as it should have been...molten centers that melted in the mouth. Now that I know how to make these little cakes I will definitely repeat them in the future, though I think I will use a more semisweet chocolate rather than the regular 72% I usually use because the cakes did turn out a little too bitter in the end.

Warm Chocolate Melting Cake
Note: This recipe makes 6-8 little cakes, depending on the size of the ramekin.
  • 8 oz (225 g) semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup (8 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 7 eggs
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  1. In a double broiler melt together the chocolate and butter. Once melted, set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile whisk together four eggs with the sugar. Add the flour and whisk again, then add the remaining three eggs and whisk until completely incorporated.
  3. Add the egg mixture to the melted chocolate and mix until evenly combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the ramekins about 3/4 full. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes or until the edges look done but the center still slightly jiggly. Cool for five minutes then serve immediately (perhaps with some ice cream).
Note: The recipe says to bake for 15-20 minutes. I don't recommend going past 15 minutes, even if they look really underdone. Because the ramekins are ceramic the cakes will continue to bake a little bit inside of them even after taking them out of the oven. 

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