(I apologize for the out-of-focus picture. I am learning how to use a new tool to take these pictures)
When I look back at the list of food that I have cooked and documented in this blog, I realized most of the dishes either have sentimental value or trigger a specific memory. I think this is what makes food special. Just like music, it triggers neurotransmission in the brain in a way that is still a mystery.
Molten Chocolate Cake is one of those dishes that brought back memory.
I don't remember when was the first time I had molten chocolate cake but I do remember one memorable occasion sharing molten chocolate cake with wonderful friends and family at "Finale Desserterie" (Cambridge, Mass) two Augusts ago.
History books documented that famous chef Jean-George Vongericthen invented this dish many years ago after pulling the cake out of the oven too early.
I finally get around making molten chocolate cake recently and I am very pleased to share the experience with you.
Ingredients (6 servings of 1/2 cup size ramekin)
One stick of unsalted butter
6-9 ounces of dark chocolate (I used a 72% cacao dark chocolate)
2 eggs + 2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
Instructions (some of the lines are copied verbatim from Jean-Georges' recipe that has been circulating everywhere)
1. Preheat the oven to 450F
2. Rub butter on the inside of the ramekins, lightly flour the ramekins and tap out excess flour. Set the ramekins in a baking sheet
3. In a double boiler, over simmer water, melt the butter with the chocolate (break into smaller pieces first). Once the chocolate and butter have melted completely, mix it well and make sure there is no lumps. Set the mixture aside to cool down to room temperature.
4. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and salt until the mixture turns pale yellow and thick.
I love how the light reflects off the melted chocolate
5. Slowly add and mix (original recipe uses the word "quickly fold") the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, add the flour during this time. Once everything is mixed properly, transfer the batter to the ramekins. Tap the ramekins to make sure that the batter sits evenly.
6. Bake the cake for 6-7 minutes. If you have lights in your oven, you can take your cake out when you see the outer layer of the cake sets.
7. Let the cake cool outside of the oven for 1 minute, cover the cake with an inverted dessert plate and reverse the ramekin (beware of hot ramekins). Wait for 10 seconds. Slowly remove the ramekins.
8. Voila! serve immediately.
Is it molten inside?
Although this cake wasn't exactly a molten chocolate cake, the core of the cake was very moist. Eating a warm, freshly baked chocolate cake is truly and purely an enjoyment. There is something magical about the smell of the kitchen when the cake is being baked. I baked 6 cakes for a party of 5 and we have to fight for the 6th. "Hunger Game"-style!
Here are some extra after-thoughts:1. If you look at most of the published "official" Jean-George recipe, it says "bake for 12 minutes". I baked for 11 minutes because I was impatient. Turns out 12 minutes is absolutely too long. Most food-bloggers who documented this dish baked their cake for 6-7 minutes. Hence no molten chocolate. Easy fix!
2. Many places also suggested that you can make the batter a few hours before, store it in the refrigerator and warm it at room temperature prior to baking. I am a little skeptical about the integrity of the batter (especially when beaten eggs are involved). I made the melted chocolate butter ahead but the egg mixture right before baking. Perhaps someone can share their personal experience.
3. If you are uber-health conscious, read no further and consider yourself warned:
a) 1 stick of butter (8 tablespoon) between 6 cakes, which is 3/4 tablespoon of butter in each cake
b) Half a chocolate bar in each cake
c) and finally 2 grams of sugar in each cake