Today is this month’s Secret Recipe Club reveal day and I found a doozy of a recipe to share with you … Chocolate Lava Cakes! But that didn’t have quite enough chocolate so I added some truffles to be served alongside! Do you think these will hold you for another week? 😀
Jaida of Sweet Beginnings was one of my guest posters earlier in the year (go Here for that recipe) and I am so glad I got her blog this month. Now I have a chance to highlight another of her recipes! She is from Texas, grew up loving food and has enjoyed being able to share that passion with us. Lately she has been on a baking kick and boy am I glad. It is always a delight to wander through her blog, full of fun stories and recipes that make me salivate on the spot. Visit Sweet Beginnings when you can (how about now!) and discover all the culinary adventures awaiting you!
Today’s dessert was originally discovered by Jean-George Vongerichten, one of this country’s best chefs. He was baking mini chocolate cakes and accidentally pulled them out of the oven too soon leaving the center full of molten chocolate. Everyone who tasted it told him he needed to keep it on the menu and to my knowledge it still is.
One of the challenges with these cakes is figuring out exactly how long to cook them. Each oven is calibrated differently so watch them very carefully. As with any chocolate dessert, it isn’t easy to tell when they are done. Make notes of any adjustments which you can use when you make them again in the future.
There are some people who are safer avoiding undercooked eggs, so I utilized one of the tricks I have learned from one of my many cooking classes. Instead of under cooking the cake batter, you make a ganache (melted chocolate and cream) and put a small ball of it in the center of the batter before baking the cakes. This gives you more flexibility in how long you bake them because the center will always be “molten.”
The other benefit of making them this way is that you can make extra ganache and turn them into the best truffles you’ve ever had! You can certainly cut back on the amount of ganache you make, but what the heck, let’s go for broke. After all, isn’t that what Chocolate Mondays are all about? Yee Haw!
If you want to plate your dessert like they do in restaurants, make a Crème Anglaise and put a small puddle of that on the serving plates. Flip a cake out onto a plate and using a flexible metal spatula, carefully transfer it to one of the prepared plates. Repeat with the remaining cakes. You can sprinkle them with powdered sugar or drizzle with a little additional Crème Anglaise. And don’t forget to add the truffles to the plate along with a sprig of mint for a spot of color.
So make these delectable desserts when you have the chance and be sure you head over to “meet” Jaida. I know you will enjoy her just as much as I do!!
Happy Chocolate Monday!!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
You can always send your guests home with little “doggie” bags of the extra truffles. I’m sure they wouldn’t refuse your offer, LOL
Kitchen Skill: How to Plate an Inverted Dish
Run a knife around the edge of the baking dish. Place your serving plate upside down on top of the baking dish (ramekin, cake pan, au gratin dish, etc.) Holding the two pieces together, quickly flip them over so the plate is now on the bottom.
Gently lift the baking dish off the cake. Hopefully it will release easily. If it sticks, flip it back over, run a knife around the edge a second time and try again. When in doubt, serve it in the baking dish – everyone will love it either way!
- Ganache Filling/Truffles
- 16 oz (1 lb) semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tsp Cointreau, (orange liqueur) optional
- Sifted cocoa powder (for rolling), in a flat dish
- Lava Cakes
- 4 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup (1 stick)butter
- 1 cuppowdered sugar
- 2 wholeeggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 6 tbspall-purpose flour (stir with a whisk to break up any lumps)
- Make Ganache/Truffles: Place semisweet chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, then in short 10-second bursts until chocolate is mostly melted, stirring regularly. Remove from microwave and stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is glossy and smooth. Add Cointreau if using.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for about 20 minutes. Stir the colder chocolate from the sides into the middle. Repeat until it becomes creamy and evenly thickened throughout. Use an electric hand mixer to whip the ganache just until it lightens in color very slightly.
- Use a small scoop or teaspoon to form into balls about 3/4-inch to 1-inch diameter. Place on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Set aside 4 (those are for the cakes) to chill while you make the batter. Roll the rest of the truffles in the cocoa powder and place back on baking sheet. Cover with plastic and transfer to refrigerator. You can use 4 to 8 of these to serve alongside the cakes if you want, and save the rest for nibbling on later!
- Make Lava Cakes: Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 425°F. Butter 4 custard cups or ramekins (or coat with vegetablecooking spray)and place on a baking sheet. Set aside.
- In a large heatproof bowl or glass measuring cup (I like Pyrex and have several sizes), combine chocolate and butter. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds, stir, and heat for another 30 seconds or until butter is melted. Remove from oven and stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth and creamy.
- Add the sugar to the chocolate and whisk until smooth. In a small bowl combine the whole eggs with the yolks, whisking to blend. Add to the chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth. Add the flour and stir just until blended and no lumps remain.
- Divide equally between prepared custard cups, reserving a little. Set ramekins aside for a minute while you work with the ganache.
- Remove the reserved un-coated truffles from the refrigerator. Place one into the center of each custard cup, pressing down gently until covered by the batter. Add a little of the reserved batter if needed to cover and smooth the tops with an offset spatula.
- Baking the Cakes: Place the baking sheet with ramekins in the preheated oven. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until sides are firm and the tops are set. Press them gently with your finger to check. A toothpick in the center won’t work on these because of the gooey ganache center. Remove from the oven and let stand 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. This will help the cakes finish baking and firm up.
- These are best served warm. You can leave them in the ramekins or invert them onto desserts plates. Sprinkle the top if you want with a little powdered sugar (use a fine wire strainer), add a couple of truffles (rolled in cacao) and a sprig of mint to the plate and serve immediately.
- If you want to, you can serve these with a classic vanilla or orange creme anglaise. Spread a small puddle of the anglaise on each of your serving plates. Invert the cakes onto a plate, one at a time, and use a metal spatula to carefully transfer onto the prepared plates. Sift a little powdered sugar over the top, add the truffles and a sprig of mint. Serve immediately.
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp orange zest (you can leave this out for a classic version)
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Combine the cream and zest in a medium saucepan. Bring to just below a boil on medium heat. It will be steaming and small bubbles will gather around the edges. Remove from the heat.
- In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar, whisking until pale and frothy, about 2 minutes. Slowly drizzle 1/2 cup of the hot cream into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Take your time with this step so you don’t scramble the eggs. Slowly raising their temperature is called tempering.
- Add this mixture to the remaining cream and cook over medium heat until thick, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- You can serve this warm or chilled. To chill or store, press plastic wrap directly on the surface to avoid it developing a “skin.” It will take about 2 hours to thoroughly chill.
- Yield: 2 cups