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The other day, I mentioned that if I were stranded on a deserted island and could only eat two desserts for the rest of my life, I would want Danish Linser Tarts, and these:

Spicy Molten Chocolate Cakes. Why, hello there, Gorgeous! Don’t let the poor photo quality of my Blackberry fool you. These little cakes are indeed gorgeous.

The original recipe hails from Bon Appetit’s Best Of 2004 issue. Apparently, molten chocolate cake was very much in fashion in 2004. My BFF Chris made the Bon Appetit version for dessert one night. We unabashedly inhaled enjoyed them out of coffee mugs. The blend of spices with the warm chocolate instantly made these little cakes my new favorite dessert. I refused to leave that evening without the recipe, because I was determined to eat spicy molten chocolate everyday for the rest of my life.

Then I realized that eating spicy molten chocolate everyday could be viewed as a tad bit gluttonous, and possibly have adverse affects on my backside. So I re-thought my strategy. I settled on making these cakes a few times a year.  And of course I had to change the recipe. It’s what I do.

I will warn you: this is not a low calorie recipe. But it’s perfect for a special, occasional indulgence.

There is a little bit of butter involved, you see. All the best desserts begin with butter.

Oh, and you’ll use a few eggs. About a dozen or so. Wait! Stay with me! Once in awhile indulgence, remember? Besides, the recipe makes eight little cakes. I’ve never tried to halve the recipe. I just give the extra cakes away to my friends. You should too. It’ll seal your friendship for life.

My version of Bon Appetit’s Winter Spiced Molten Chocolate Cakes circa 2004, called simply Spicy Molten Chocolate Cakes:

14 oz. bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, chopped

1 ¼ C. (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter

2 tsp. ground coriander

2 tsp. ground cardamom

1 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. ground cloves

½ tsp. white pepper

1 pinch of salt

6 large eggs

6 large egg yolks

2 tsp. vanilla extract

3 C. powdered sugar

1 C. all purpose flour

First things first. Generously grease 8 one-cup ramekins. If you don’t happen to have 8 ramekins lying around, a few oven-proof coffee mugs will do in a pinch. Any baking spray with flour will do, but I’ve discovered something to works infinitely better than the spray.

Alton Brown’s recipe for “Kustom Kitchen Lube,” from his cookbook I’m Just Here For More Food. If you haven’t read AB’s I’m Just Here for… cookbooks, I *highly* recommend them. They are very informative as to the “why” of cooking and baking.

To make your own Kustom Kitchen Lube: measure 2 cups of shortening, and 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat the bajeezes out of it, until it becomes light and fluffy. Then transfer the lube into an airtight container and store it in the cupboard.

To use, I cover my hand with a sandwich bag, scoop out a generous amount, and smear it inside the baking vessel. Try it! Your baked goods will never stick in their pans, again.

Since there are a lot of spices involved, I like to measure them ahead of time. Mise En Place, and all. My favorite warm spices are included: cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. But the interesting additions are the salt, white pepper and coriander. Coriander is an often underrated spice. A member of the celery family, it adds a nice little something to baked goods. I like the white pepper because it adds a touch of back heat, without being over-powering.

The original recipe called for more than double the amount of spices that I use here. I found that to be a smidge overwhelming to the chocolate.  Believe me, the last thing you want is for your chocolate to be overwhelmed.

Give the chocolate a rough chop. I use 14 oz. of Baker’s Brand semi-sweet baking chocolate because it doesn’t contain any traces of peanuts or tree nuts, which would be detrimental to Son #2. You need almost 1 1/2 eight ounce packages. If you don’t  have severe food allergies in your house, then feel free to use the equal weight of a couple of bars of really good chocolate, but with no more than a 60% cacao content. Chocolate with a higher cacao content will not blend as well into the final product.

Add 2 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, chopped chocolate, and spices to a medium saucepan. Yes, I said 2 1/2 sticks of butter.

Melt the contents over medium-low heat, stirring constantly to blend. This is after about 3 minutes. It will take about 6-7 minutes for everything to fully melt. Don’t try to rush things by cranking up the heat. That may cause the chocolate to burn, or worse, seize up. Once the mixture is melted and well blended, turn off the heat, and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Crack 6 of the eggs into a large bowl.

Then separate the yolks from 6 more eggs, and add them to the 6 whole eggs. You heard me.

Pour in a little vanilla, then whisk the eggs until they are well blended and frothy.

Add the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth.

Slowly pour a few tablespoons of the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. This will bring the eggs up to temperature so that they don’t scramble.

The pour the rest of the chocolate mixture in, whisking until smooth.

Whisk in the flour until well blended, and the batter is complete!

Fill the prepared ramekins 3/4 of the way full. If you are using coffee mugs, divide the batter equally among them. At this point, you have a few options:

1. Cover the ramekins tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate the batter for a day or two before serving. Make ahead! LOVE it!

2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, and get ready for the most decadent chocolate experience of your life.

3. Freeze the wrapped cakes for a later date. I haven’t personally done this, because I am far to impatient for that. But I figure, if Trader Joe’s can sell a frozen molten chocolate cake batter, then why not give it a try? The worst that could happen is that you end up with a really delicious solid chocolate cake. That wouldn’t be so bad, either.

I went the “preheat the oven to 425″ route, and baked my cakes for 15 minutes, or until they had risen above the tops of the ramekin, and were set with a tiny soft spot in the middle. (Refrigerated cakes bake for about 18 minutes.) You want a little soft spot in the center, so that you know that the center of the cakes will still be the consistency of hot fudge. (Baking cakes in coffee mugs may require additional baking time.)

Immediately invert the ramekins onto a serving plate, and allow them to rest for about 30 seconds before removing the ramekins. A little dusting of powdered sugar makes for a pretty presentation. (If you baked the cakes in coffee mugs, then grab a spoon & dig in–no inversion required!)

Well hello there, Sweetness. Come on in–the water’s fine. Grab a fork, and close your eyes. Take a deep breath to experience the aroma of the chocolatey spice. The spices mix so beautifully with the warm chocolate, and help to cut through the sweetness with their added flavor.

Pure. Chocolate. Decadence.

Make Spicy Molten Chocolate Cakes for your friends and loved ones. They will love you for it!

BTW–I’ve linked these little lovelies to Sweets on Saturday.

Spicy Molten Chocolate Cakes

http://comfortablydomestic.com

Makes 8

 

14 oz. bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, chopped

1 ¼ C. (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter

2 tsp. ground coriander

2 tsp. ground cardamom

1 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. ground cloves

½ tsp. white pepper

1 pinch of salt

6 large eggs

6 large egg yolks

2 tsp. vanilla extract

3 C. powdered sugar

1 C. all purpose flour

Additional powdered sugar

 

FOR CAKES:

Generously butter eight ¾ C. soufflé dishes.  Stir chocolate, butter, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and white pepper in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth.  Cool slightly.  Whisk eggs, egg yolks and vanilla in a large bowl to blend.  Whisk in 3 C. powdered sugar, then chocolate mixture, then flour.  Transfer batter to prepared dishes, filling to top and dividing equally. (Can be made 1 day ahead, cover & refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Bake cakes until batter has risen above dish, top and edges are dark brown, and centers are soft and runny, about 15 minutes, or about 18 minutes for refrigerated batter.  Run small knife around cakes to loosen.  Allow cakes to rest in dishes 5 minutes.

Using hot pad and holding dish very firmly, place plate gently atop 1 cake and invert onto plate.  Repeat with remaining cakes.  Dust with powdered sugar.

 

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