Sunday, December 09, 2007

Molten Chocolate Raspberry Cakes

Once again, it is the time of indulgence and there are excuses aplenty for baking. It is so much more enjoyable to bake when there are people around to share the bounty, and the holidays are just such times. Since we do not officially observe Christmas, I don't have to deal with the shopping frenzy either, and this leaves me plenty of time to enjoy the season and bake. Of course, there is always a glitch; and in my case, it is that I do get caught up in a shopping frenzy. Over the years, this season has seen me placing Amazon orders for all the cookbooks I fancied but thought better of, and buying all kinds of kitchen gadgets or baking supplies on a whim. 2007 was no exception; although I tried to restrain myself, I still ended up with several items I didn't exactly need. I am hoping that my holiday extravaganza will at least make for good blogging. The first project I have on mind is a violet cake. Then, I want to make raspberry macarons and a chocolate glazed tart speckled with gold flecks.

Speaking of chocolate, my purchases included some good quality bittersweet chocolate as well, which I aptly put to use for a dessert I have long been planning to make: Molten Chocolate Raspberry Cakes from Alice Medrich's Bittersweet. Like all the other desserts I tried from her books, these did not disappoint. However, let me note the following: I used 70% bittersweet chocolate, and did not heed the adjustment notes at the end of the recipe. The end result was an adult dessert. I do not regret it, and will do it again; but if you want molten chocolate cakes for every age group to enjoy, you may want to use standart bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (50 through 62%) as Ms. Medrich recommends.
  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, cut into tiny pieces
  • 6 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1/4 c strained fresh or frozen raspberry puree
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder
  • 3 tbs plus 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated plus 1 egg white
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
Butter and dust with sugar the insides of 6 (6 oz) souffle cups. Chill a small plate in your freezer. Combine chocolate and butter in a saucepan and melt, stirring frequently, by setting your saucepan on a skillet of simmering water. Transfer about 5 tbs of the melted chocolate mixture into a small bowl, add the raspberry puree and 2 tsp of sugar to it and mix well. Mound the flavored chocolate mixture on the chilled plate, and put it back in the freezer for another 10 minutes or so. When the chocolate is firm enough to shape, form it into 6 truffles and return them to the freezer until ready to use.

Rewarm the remaining chocolate on simmering water until it is warm to touch. Add the cocoa powder and egg yolks, and mix to combine. Transfer the egg whites to your mixer bowl (which should be 100% greaseless), add the cream of tartar and beat at medium speed until soft peaks form. Increase the speed to high, and continue beating as you gradually add the remaining 3 tbs of sugar. Stop when you achieve glossy and stiff peaks. Add about one quarter of your beaten egg whites to the chocolate mixture and fold. Then add the remaining egg whites, and fold until blended. Divide half of the chocolate mixture among the 6 prepared cups. Press a truffle into each cup and cover with the remaining batter. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 3 hours in the refrigerator.

Prehat the oven to 400F. Remove the plastic wrap and place the cups on a cookie sheet. Bake 12 or 14 minutes (12 did it for me). Cakes will be slightly puffed. Take them out of the oven and let them rest for 3 minutes. Then run a knife around the sides of each cup and invert them onto serving plates.You can garnish them with raspberries, dust them with powdered sugar and/or serve them with raspberry coulis.