The first Valentine's Day menu item we'd like to share with you is our Molten Chocolate Cake. Why not start with dessert?! :)
Molten chocolate cake is known by a number of names: chocolate lava cake, fallen chocolate cake, or just plain gooey chocolaty heaven (at least that's what I think of it). It has an intense buttery-chocolate flavor and a pudding-like center that is "something altogether ethereal" as Cook's Illustrated puts it.
Then, beat eggs, vanilla, sugar and a pinch of salt together until the volume increases, it becomes light in color and the mixture drops from the beaters in a smooth, thick stream.
Combine the melted chocolate with the egg mixture until it becomes a uniform color.
Molten Chocolate CakesServes 4
1 Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
4 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped coarse
2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
½ tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. salt
¼ c. granulated sugar
Confectioners’ sugar or unsweetened cocoa for dusting (opt.)
Whipped cream for serving (opt.)
1. Pre-heat oven to 375°. Generously grease and flour four ramekins. Melt the butter and chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of almost-simmering water, stirring once or twice, until smooth; remove from the heat. (Alternatively, melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave by heating the chocolate alone at 50% power for 2 minutes; stir the chocolate, add the butter, and continue heating at 50% for another 2 minutes, stopping to stir after 1 minute.)
2. Beat the eggs, yolk, vanilla, salt, and granulated sugar with a mixer until the volume nearly triples, the color is very light, and the mixture drops form the beaters in a smooth, thick stream—about 5 minutes. Scrape the egg mixture over the melted chocolate and butter; sprinkle the flour over the egg mixture. Gently fold the egg and flour into the chocolate until the mixture is a uniform color. Ladle or pour the batter into the prepared ramekins. (At this point, the cakes can be covered lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 8 hours. Return to room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.)
3. Bake until the cakes looks puffed, a thin top crust as formed, and the center jiggles slightly when the pan is shaken gently, about 12-13 minutes. Molten chocolate cakes are traditionally very “molten” in the middle. I cooked mine a bit longer so it was more moist than molten. Run a paring knife around the inside edge of the ramekins and invert onto serving plates. Sieve a light sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar over the cake to decorate, if desired, just before serving and serve warm with optional whipped cream and berries.