What better way to say “I love you” this week than with chocolate? Plunge a spoon into one of these warm, gooey cakes, and you’ll find chocolate bliss. They are incredibly versatile, too. Dress these up with scoops of chocolate or vanilla ice cream, or top with sliced poached pears or blood orange segments and a dollop of crème fraîche.
Warm Molten Chocolate Cakes
8 oz. (250 g.) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g.) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Pinch of kosher salt
4 large egg yolks
6 Tbs. (3 oz./90 g.) sugar
2 Tbs. unsweetened natural cocoa powder, sifted
3 large egg whites
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Lightly butter six 3/4-cup (6-fl. oz./180-ml.) ramekins and dust with cocoa. Set the ramekins on a small baking sheet.
Place the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler over (not touching) barely simmering water, and melt, whisking until the mixture is glossy and smooth. Remove from over the water and stir in the vanilla and salt. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat together the egg yolks, 3 tablespoons of the sugar, and the cocoa on medium-high speed until thick. Add the chocolate mixture to the yolk mixture and beat until blended. The mixture will be very thick.
In a bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until very foamy and thick. Sprinkle in the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and increase the speed to high. Continue beating until firm, glossy peaks form. Spoon half of the beaten whites onto the chocolate mixture and stir in just until blended. Gently fold in the remaining whites. Spoon into the prepared ramekins.
Bake the cakes until they are puffed and the tops are cracked, about 13 minutes. The inside of the cracks will look very wet. Remove from the oven and serve. Or, run a small knife around the inside of each ramekin and invert the cakes onto plates. Serves 6.
Find more mouthwatering ways to end a meal in our cookbook Dessert of the Day, by Kim Laidlaw.