Saturday, March 5, 2011

Molten Chocolate Cakes

This is the signature dessert of Carnival Cruise Lines.

MINI MOLTEN CHOCOLATE CAKES - Makes 8 individual cakes

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
Cocoa powder, sifted
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange or hazelnut liqueur
(such as Grand Marnier or Frangelico)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Powdered sugar for decoration
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for serving

1. Heat oven to 400° F. Using cooled melted butter and a pastry brush, grease the miniature Bundt pans and coat with sifted cocoa powder, knocking them out lightly over the sink to remove any powder that has not adhered to the molds. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and place one Bundt pan on each.
2. Melt the remaining butter and chocolate together in a medium-sized heatproof bowl set over a pan of water that has not yet come to a simmer. Make sure the bottom of the bowl is at least several inches above the surface of the water. Stir the mixture gently until smooth and remove bowl from heat. Set aside to cool slightly.
3. Beat eggs, yolk, vanilla, liqueur, salt, and sugar on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or with handheld electric beaters, until the volume of the eggs has almost tripled and the mixture is pale yellow and drops from the lifted beaters in thick ribbons. Pour melted chocolate over the egg mixture and using a large rubber spatula, fold in chocolate with as few strokes as possible to avoid deflating the eggs. Sprinkle flour over chocolate mixture and rapidly fold in with a light hand.
4. Using a small ladle or an ice-cream scoop, fill the 8 prepared molds. (At this stage they can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for several hours. Let sit out on the counter for a half hour or so before baking.)
5. Bake cakes, one sheet at a time, in the center of the oven until they have risen about a half-inch above the tops of the molds; they will have a top crust, though their centers will still appear a bit glossy and will jiggle slightly when the pan is slid back and forth, about 12-14 minutes. (Baking times will vary depending on the molds and oven used. Underbaking is preferable to overbaking.)
6. Run a paring knife around the inside edges of the molds and invert them onto a large piece of parchment paper sitting on the counter. Allow to cool for a minute, then lift off Bundt pan. Transfer the cakes to individual serving plates and dust with powered sugar. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

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