Monday, October 13, 2014

Chocolate Molten Lava Cake

Intensely chocolate-y with a gorgeous, gooey molten centre. Absolutely foolproof!
(Just follow this step-by-step recipe)

There's nothing like chocolate to help you take a break! This is the story of how a five minute break from studying turned into three gorgeous chocolate lava cakes.

Normally when I take a break, I read through my steadily growing collection of recipe books or as I've mentioned before, take a look at food related posts on Google+. If I need a longer break I watch an episode of Grey's Anatomy(with which I am obsessed). These days I've been watching past and present episodes of The Great British Bake-Off (this year's series was epic!). But today found myself wandering into the kitchen......
(My head is always in the kitchen but these days I haven't been baking much because I need to study. So I've stuck to baking stuff in my head) 

I spent a lot of time last year trying to perfect this recipe. I eventually did it but this was before I got my camera, so I don't have any photos of my failed attempts to share with you.
This recipe is combination of several, from my recipe books and the internet. I was extra good today and took photos of all the steps. Don't worry about making this cake. It will turn out just fine if you follow the recipe exactly right.

Chocolate Molten Lava Cake
(makes 3)

100 g (4 oz) Dark Chocolate
85 g ( 3 oz/ 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
30g (1/4 cups) plain flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
3/4 teaspoon instant coffee granules (completely optional)

Grease 4 ramekins with butter and preheat the oven to 200C/ 400F.
Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie or in the microwave. The chocolate should be chopped up roughly or you could use dark chocolate chips to make life a lot easier.

If you're melting in the microwave, do it in 30 second increments, stirring in between. This is to make sure the chocolate does not get too hot and start to seize (this has happened to me a few times before). If the chocolate seizes, it will become grainy and you won't end up with a smooth and glossy chocolate and butter mixture, like this.

Stir in the coffee granules and salt into the chocolate while it's still hot. This will make sure the coffee dissolves properly.
Let the chocolate cool. Meanwhile, beat the sugar and eggs on high, in a stand mixer or with a handheld electric whisk, until they are thick and mousse-like. They should be fluffy and really pale and will have almost tripled in volume. This will take around 4 minutes ( I haven't really timed it).
Beating the eggs like this makes the cake really soft and also helps it rise a little.

Slowly pour the melted chocolate into the eggs and sugar mixture, with the mixer on a low speed.(The chocolate and butter should be completely cooled when you do this. DO NOT do it when the chocolate is still too warm), You can put it into the fridge to speed things up.Add in the vanilla extract.

Sift the flour over the mixture and gently fold in until just incorporated. Take care not to over-mix.
By this time the volume of the batter will have reduced a little and that's okay, but you should be careful so that it doesn't reduce too much.
The mixture will be slightly thick and glossy.

Spoon the batter into the prepared ramekins. Each will get about one cup of batter.
Bake the cakes for 12 to 15 minutes. Keep a close eye on them.They should still be a little soft in the middle ( this means they are molten inside ) and a little firm around the edges.
Check them in 12 minutes. If they're not done, keep checking every 30 seconds. It's very easy to overcook them.

The longer the cake sits, it cooks more inside, so it's better to eat them while they are still a bit warm ( Not piping hot, obviously!). When the cakes have cooled slightly, run a knife around the edges. Then gently push the cake towards the middle.This is to release it from the bottom of the ramekin. Turn the ramekin over onto your serving plate and gently tap the bottom of the ramekin. The cake should fall out.

Give the cake a dusting of icing sugar. Eat with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or just on its own!

Notes on the recipe
  1. The instant coffee granules are for an added boost of flavour. You can leave them out, if you prefer.Make sure to add the vanilla and salt though, because they really enhance the flavour of the chocolate.
  2. A common problem with lava cakes is that they are difficult to turn out. I fact, I hardly ever do this. I eat them straight from the ramekin or I bake them in teacups which look very pretty.

These lava cakes are proof that a little extra effort goes a long way. Tell me what you think about this recipe. Is it worth a try?

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