Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Mini Dark Chocolate Lava Cakes

This was my first attempt at making a molten chocolate lava cake. The recipe came from the cookbook Rose's Heavenly Cakes, the bible on cake baking. The result was delicious but the lava didn't flow quite as much as I had hoped. The recipe calls for a souffle cake, with a molten dark chocolate ganache center. I think the key to getting the chocolate in the center to flow is using 60-62% cacao dark chocolate for the center. However, I had some fabulous 72% dark chocolate from my visit to the Mast Brothers' chocolate factory in Williamsburg, so I went with that. The result was delicious, but I'd like it to flow a bit more next time.

Rose's Molten Chocolate Souffle and Lava Cakes
Ganache Center
2 oz dark chocolate (60-62% cacao)
1/4 cup plus 2T (3oz) heavy cream

1.5 oz dark chocolate (60-62%)
1/4 cup plus 1/2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
3T unsalted butter
3 large eggs, separated, plus one large egg white
3 T creme fraiche or heavy cream
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
3 1/2 T granulated sugar

First, make the ganache centers. Melt the chocolate using a double boiler, stirring frequently with a silicon spatula. Do this over simmering water and do not let the bottom of the container with the chocolate actually touch the water.

Heat the cream until warm and gradually stir the chocolate into the cream. Line an egg create with plastic wrap and press into the cavities of the egg create. Pour a spoonful of the ganache into nine cavities. Cover with a second piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours until firm enough to mold into balls. Refrigerate balls until ready to bake the cakes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees before preparing the cake batter. Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate, cocoa and butter for the batter. Whisk together the yolks and creme fraiche. Lightly whisk 1/2 cup of the egg whites for easier pouring. Measure out 2 T of the egg whites an stir these into the chocolate mixture.

Beat the remaining egg whites in your mixer using a whisk attachment until foamy on medium speed. Add the cream of tartar and raise the speed to high. Continue beating until soft peaks form and gradually beat in the sugar, continuing beating until stiff peaks form. Using a wire whisk, stir in the chocolate mixture into the egg whites and fold in the remainder.

Using nine 3 oz silicon molds or 4 7 oz silicon cupcake containers, fill each three quarters fill with the chocolate souffle batter. Gently place the cold ganache balls in the center of each, but avoid pushing them down.  Bake the cakes for 10 minutes in the 3 oz containers or 14 minutes in the 4 oz containers.

Cool the cakes for 20-30 minutes until they have pulled away slightly from the edges. Carefully invert and gently un-mold each. When ready to serve, reheat each cake for 10-15 seconds on high power in the microwave.

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