Monday, February 16, 2009

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake for Valentine's Day



We had a small Valentine's gathering last Saturday on Valentine's day with just a bunch of friends. To be honest, it wasn't really for Valentine, it was just a get-together sorta thing. There were only ten of us, the rest of them had a three-day conference that they had to attend. It was a potluck party as usual and I automatically think of dessert whenever I can (who wants to waste an opportunity to bake something special anyway?).

I actually planned on making a heart-shaped cake that has six different components. A combination of flavor that I've been wanting to try for a while and been waiting for the perfect time to make it. The only heart-shaped ring I have is 9.5in wide, and I was planning to make it to feed about 20 people. When I found out that a bunch of them were not gonna make it to the gathering, I had to change plan. I didn't really want to make a cake just for the ten of us.

I remembered when I used to make desserts all the time instead of a cake, although cake is considered a dessert too, but you know what I mean. When I was still in college, living in Texas, I often made desserts and invited my close friends to have dinner together (I would cook the meal too), or I were too busy, I just invited them to have dessert after dinner at 9pm. It was fun, I miss those days. I don't make desserts often anymore. Most of the gatherings we have (Almost all of them actually), involve 15++ people, and there's no way that I would make individual dessert for each one of them. And we always have a very casual get-together, we eat while we're standing and chatting, watching TV. So, a pretty individual platted dessert is never an option. It's usually a cake, not a heavy cake, just a light fruity cake.



So I thought, this is the perfect time to make an individual dessert, instead of a big cake since there are only a few of us. Besides, it's usually a lot quicker than making a cake that has multiple components. After some time thinking and brain-storming, I finally decided on molten lava cake. I used to make it often when I was in TX and I made it once since I got back in CA for the last two years. I first ate it at Chili's I think and since then, I've determined to make it myself at home. So I began trying different recipes for it. Every recipe I tried was good, far from disappointing, but I finally settled on the first one I tried. The first one is always the one that strikes you the most, doesn't it? I believe I modified it from Emeril's recipe (I was a HUGE foodnetwork fan at that time). And this is Valentine, so something chocolaty would be perfect. Besides, chocolate is an aphrodisiac food anyway :D.

I only have 6 ramekins so that's how many I would make. It wasn't long at all whipping the batter up. The good thing about it is that I can refrigerate the batter and bake it just before serving it. If I baked it way before serving it, it would be just like a flourless chocolate cake instead of molten cake. I brought along Muscat wine and a soft red wine too for the after meal drink.



The cakes were gobbled up pretty quickly just minutes after coming out from the oven, and yes they have to share. It's best if paired up with some vanilla ice cream, but unfortunately the only ice cream my friend had on hand was cherry chocolate chip ice cream. So, we will have to make do with that and with some rum whipped cream and we thought it was still fabulous. I don't have any fresh red fruit to decorate it with, it would be much prettier if they were decorated with some raspberries, strawberries and mint leaves and also vanilla ice cream on the side. But my friends have never cared too much about decoration at all, as long as they can eat it (those barbarians tsk tsk tsk :D). I am so glad that they all LOVED it. I used 75% dark chocolate, making the cake sweet enough but has a bitter aftertaste from the chocolate (in a good way). It was definitely perfect for Valentine's dinner for those chocoholics and those who are not (even I liked it and also did my brother who is anything but chocolate fan).

I only baked five of them at my friend's house, leaving the last one to be baked at home and at least photograph it. So, here it is. The picture is not that much better than the one took at the party, but oh well.


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