Molten Chocolate Cake
SERVING SIZE: six
Adapted from The Olives Table (Simon & Schuster; 1997), by Todd English and Sally Sampson.
Butter and flour six 8-ounce ramekins. Then melt together in a double-boiler (or in a regular ol' pan if you're like me and can't deal with double-boilers):
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I eyeball the amount and it's always worked out just fine)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
Set aside to cool.
While that's all happening, place
1 cup sugar
cup all-purpose flour
6 large eggs (at room temp)
in a large bowl and beat until thick and fluffy, about five minutes. Gently beat in the cooled chocolate mixture. Pour the batter into the buttered, floured ramekins until they're about full, cover with foil or plastic, refrigerate them, then go about your day, smug in the knowledge that you have something special up your sleeve.
About an hour before you're ready to eat this luscious dessert, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and take the filled ramekins out of the fridge. Fifteen minutes before D-time, put them in the preheated oven. The amount of time they'll take to cook will vary depending on your oven, but you want them to be pretty darn puffy and rising above the top of the ramekins. (I love the word "ramekin." Ramekin ramekin ramekin.) Run a knife around the sides and turn them upside down to unmold. The outside should be a normal cake consistency, but the middle should be gooeylicious. Mmm.
Serve topped with raspberries and a light dusting of powdered sugar, or, if you want to take it to the next level, serve it with raspberry sauce, which is not only gorgeous, it's perfect with the cakes:
4 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen
1 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Place the berries and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring, over high heat. Boil until the sugar dissolves. Add lemon juice to taste and let cool. Voila - fancy sauce. Fancy dessert. You rock.
The prep for this takes about 15 minutes, but the best part is that you can make the batter in the morning, or even the day before you want to serve it. (I bet you could even freeze it. I know you could.) Just take the filled ramekins out of the fridge an hour or so before cooking so they can come back to room temperature before you pop 'em into a preheated oven.
(Yes, this recipe does indeed require the dreaded "ramekins," but at least there's no water bath. If you don't have any, it's worth buying them just for this one recipe, though, I promise.)