Soft Chocolate Mini Cakes
The success of these rich little cakes depends on two things: using the best-quality chocolate and not overcooking them (the centers should be almost runny). Although you can serve the cakes in their ramekins, they are especially beautiful when served unmolded. To do so, line the bottom of each ramekin with a parchment-paper round, then pour in the batter. (This step is painstaking, but it will help you to unmold the cakes more easily.) Bake as directed, then remove from the oven. Immediately grasp a ramekin with a pot holder or thick towel, run a thin-bladed knife around the inside edge to loosen the cake and invert the cake onto a small plate. Peel off the parchment and serve.
- 5 Tbs. (2 1/2 oz./75 g) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, plus more for greasing
- 8 oz. (250 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- Whipped cream, crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)
Position a rack on the lowest level in the oven and preheat to 400°F (200°C). Lightly butter six 1/2-cup (4-fl. oz./125-g) ramekins.
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place over (but not touching) simmering water in a saucepan. Heat until melted, then stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat until thickened, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low. Gradually sprinkle the flour over the batter and continue beating just until combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg mixture into the cooled chocolate mixture until combined.
Divide the batter among the prepared ramekins. Place the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the tops are puffed and dry and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out with some soft batter clinging to it, about 10 minutes.
Serve the cakes hot, in the ramekins, or inverted onto individual plates. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and serve. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Good Food to Share: Recipes for Entertaining with Family and Friends, by Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan (Weldon Owen, 2012)