I made a dessert tonight that was so fast and simple and delicious that I have to share it here. Molten Chocolate Cake, also known as chocolate lava cake. It's fast and easy to make, has a short list of ingredients, and it's sooooo good.
I dare you to keep decorum past the second bite.
Recipe with my modifications after the jump.
The original recipe linked above doesn't indicate the size of the custard cups. I used 4oz Le Creuset stoneware ramekins and I can only assume that the original recipe uses 6oz cups because my ramekins were definitely too small for 4. My batter came out to a little more than 16oz by volume. Adjust accordingly for your cups and oven. Go by look and feel instead of time.
Chocolate Lava Cake - makes 4-6 servings. Or 3. *looks shifty* You know, for when you make six and everyone has two....
4oz good quality chocolate - I used Ghirardelli 70% Dark extra bittersweet to cut the sweetness.
1c powdered sugar - I didn't have powdered sugar, so I ground 1c of sugar with 1tsp of corn starch in a blender for a while and then measured out 1c, with about 1/3c of the mixture remaining.
2 whole eggs - my eggs were giant, beautifully fresh farm eggs.
2 egg yolks - I beat these into the two whole eggs to make mixing things easier.
6 tbsp flour - I didn't use my scale! And I used white whole wheat flour, because I prefer how it mixes (less lumpy) and because I think sneaking a bit of extra fiber into things wherever I can can't hurt.
Grease 4 six ounce custard cups or 6 four ounce ramekins liberally with butter (I didn't have oil spray) and place them on a baking sheet. Pre-heat the oven to 425°F.
Put the butter and chocolate in a dish and microwave until the butter is melted but the chocolate is still in pieces. Stir until the chocolate is fully melted. Feel the bowl, it should be warm but not so hot that the eggs will scramble when you add them later. If it's too hot, let it cool down some. You can do this over the stove but again, just heat it until the butter is melted.
Stir the powdered sugar into the mixture until it's smooth (it will help cool down the mixture as well), and then mix in the eggs. When the eggs are thoroughly mixed in, add the flour and stir until it's mixed and there are no lumps.
Divide into the greased cups and place the whole tray in the oven. Bake 12-14min or until done. I baked them for 14min and they were perfect for me, but I know some people like them to be more lava-like, in which case I would bake them up to a minute less.
If the top is dry, the edges are firm and the middle is soft, it's ready. If it cracks, liquid batter will show through and that's OK. There's a range of "molten" from very loose in the middle to only a bit of gooeyness and everyone will have their own preferences.
I like it a little more set, but with a small core that will still ooze. You can get an idea of how deeply the edges have set by touching the top of the cakes around the edge. If it's firm without being hard, it's solid cake. If it gives with a very little resistance, it's starting to set up. If it feels like unset batter under a thin layer of crust, that's the molten core. The thicker that band of firm/giving a little cake on the outside edge, the smaller the molten core.
Don't overbake these or you'll have brownies! Nice, but not at all the experience we're going for.
To serve, let them cool on the tray for 1min and then run a knife around the edge of the cup. Place a plate or bowl on top of the cup and the flip it over and let the cakelet drop out onto the dish. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. Leftover cakes can be heated up with a brief turn in a microwave. Just be careful not to overcook them. Try 10sec bursts as it's really easy to cook them all the way through instead of just warming them up.
From raw ingredients to dessert in less than 45min. There's barely enough time to check my email while it's baking! I call that a fantastic return on investment.