Cake

You may have noticed that I talk about scaling back recipes all the time.  With only two people in the house to feed, it’s essential that I scale, especially given the amount of baking I do.  I’ve had generally good results taking standard recipes and cutting them in half or just making 1/4, but sometimes it gets tricky and often there’s a lot of estimating involved (yep, that looks close enough to .713 cups of flour…).  Weighing ingredients can solve some problems, but not all cookbooks provide weights in their recipes, and I’m not always motivated to do the conversions myself.  Anyway, all of this is just a long-winded way of explaining why I was super excited to find this recipe for molten chocolate cake for two in my new issue of America’s Test Kitchen magazine. 

The recipe makes just enough batter for two small chocolate cakes – the perfect afternoon snack for a Sunday spent mostly on the couch under a blanket watching playoff football games!  While the instructions specified two 6-oz ramekins, I discovered that half of my ramekins didn’t specify size so I grabbed one that did but was 7-oz and one unmarked one that looked slightly smaller, which I hoped might be 6-oz.  In other words, don’t fret if you don’t have 6-oz ramekins, just pick something close.  I may have been a bit lazy on buttering the ramekins so one of my cakes stuck.  Fortunately, even an ugly molten chocolate cake is really delicious :)  The outside of the cake is light but sturdy, and yields to a gooey, rich chocolate center.  These are so easy to whip up (and feature ingredients you likely keep on hand anyway); I know they’ll be making a repeat appearance here before long.

Cake

One other order of business today – it’s time to announce the winners of my Avec Eric giveaway!  Thanks to everyone who entered; it was fun to read about your favorite/dream travel destinations.  Many, many people mentioned Paris and Italy, both of which are on my “hope to get there someday” lists :) 

Congratulations to commenter #21, Margaret (TeaLady) of Tea and Scones,

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commenter #79, Di of Di’s Kitchen Notebook, and 

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commenter #116, Danielle of All Things Yummy!  

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Hope you all enjoy the book!

Molten Chocolate Cakes for Two
from America’s Test Kitchen

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
cocoa powder (for the ramekins)
confectioners’ sugar (for dusting, optional)

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Generously butter two 6-oz ramekins and dust them with cocoa powder. 

Place the butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted and smooth.  I like to do 30-second bursts at 50% power and stir in between each.  In total, it’ll probably take about 1 1/2 – 3 minutes, depending on your microwave. Stir in the vanilla.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg with a hand mixer on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute.  Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the egg forms soft, billowy mounds, about 1 minute.  Still beating, gradually add the sugar and salt.  Once incorporated, beat for another 5-10 minutes, until the mixture is very thick and pale yellow in color.

Use a rubber spatula to transfer the egg mixture to the bowl containing the melted butter and chocolate.  Sift the flour over the top, then use a rubber spatula to gently fold everything together, just until incorporated. 

Divide the batter between the prepared ramekins, smoothing the tops with your spatula.  Put the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10-13 minutes, or until the cakes have puffed slighty and jiggle just a bit in the center when gently shaken.  Immediately upon removing the cakes from the oven, run a knife around the edges of the ramekins.  Invert the ramekins onto serving plates and let them sit for about 1 minute or so, until the cakes release from the ramekins.  Remove the ramekins and, if using, dust the cakes with confectioners’ sugar then serve immediately.