Chasing Delicious | Chocolate Molten Cake
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Chocolate Molten Cake

Chocolate Molten Cake

Laughter carries its light, frivolous tones through the fresh air. The clumsy patter of untied, barely-velcrowed shoes tap against the dry ages-old worn dirt path trickling through a clover field. A monumental jump lifts dirty grey shoes and tattered bluejeans high over two friends huddled around a patch of green, their small eyes searching for a lucky four leaf clover. A quick duck and a low hanging pine branch is just missed.

Side to side and a pattern of back and forth cambering develops as eager legs begin to encounter heavy traffic. Obstacles litter the determined path of this young boy as he leaves the field and enteres the playground. Curious eyes track up from fastidiously constructed dirt mounds in wonderment at what dashed before them. Whispers, a game of telephone, races from the sandbox to the slide and eventually all the way back to the field. Curious eyes and intrigued ears lift boys from their battle stations in the mammoth fortresses and jungle gyms littering the playground.

A young, growing man in chase is now followed by a massing of his gossiping peers. Boys form an audience behind him; girls rush off ahead of him with their own mission. Suddenly running feet stop. A cloud of dust swirls up in a loose vortex as the boy barely manages to remain upright in his hurried stop. The stampede of feet behind him ceases too. They’re in girl territory now, land unfamiliar to the boys.

“He’s gonna do it!” a friend whispers. “No way. He’s too much of a wuss. No way,” another quietly chants. Eery, rare, never-before-seen-on-this-playground silence falls over the 3rd graders. A young boy, a boy in love, stares forward. Behind him nearly every single boy in his grade is ready to back him up. In front of him stands the most beautiful girl he had ever seen; behind her was every single intimidating, cootie-filled girl of their class.

With a sniffle and a crude wipe of his sleeve against his nose, the scared boy takes a few steps forward. Eyes meet. They’ve held hands before; why is this so tough now? Feet that once broke the speed of light barely manage to bring the boy forward into speaking distance with this young Heather. She waits. Nothing happens. He tries to speak but only inaudible mummers emerge. Unimpressive, awkward moments pass.

The crowd begins to disperse; it was a false alarm. With a frown the little girl turns around to the amassed crowd of her girlfriends. They comfort her. The boy looks behind him watching his peers leave in silent judgement. Then an idea and a smirk.

The boy darts up to the girl, lunges his arm at an arbitrary  point on her back, pinches, and pulls back the girl’s bra strap. The smirk now morphs into a mischievous smile as he let’s go of the cocked and armed bra strap. Horrified faces of girlfriends appear in slow motion as a colossal, ear-cringing snap rings through the schoolyard. Silence again. A mistake has been made. The air is filled with the chanting and hollering of the boys and the screaming of the girls.

Heather turns around in a fury. Her angry eyes stop short at a pink and red object delicately balanced in the boy’s hands. A crudely cut pink colored-paper heart complete with glitter and small red heart cut outs rest in the trembling hands of this swooned boy. Taped to the card is a box of sweetheart candy hearts. He extends his offering to her with a flirtatious, apologetic grimace. Her glare fades and as she scoops up her valentine’s day present he plants a quick kiss on her unsuspecting lips. The crowd of boys and girls roar to life again.

Too embarrassed and shy to contemplate what he had just done, the young me runs off to hide amongst his peers. For months, the story of that infamous day would ring through the halls. I had managed two firsts for that playground; I was the first boy in my grade to snap a girl’s bra and the first kid to kiss a girl. For my eight year old peers I was a hero. I had done the unthinkable. I braved the girl’s side of the playground and emerged victorious. I approached a girl on their day and picked my valentine as the only way I knew how then.

For the rest of that day, and most of that year, we would sit next to each other in class, our hands clasped tightly together under the table, our smiles glowing for all to see. In hind sight  that  may have been the most brave moment of my life. To this day I do not think I have not made such a grand gesture; instead, I now rely on the sweet, seductive power of delicious baked goods like this chocolate molten cake with a cinnamon honey pear sauce.

Chocolate Molten Cake: The secret to chocolate molten cake is whipped eggs, a quick baking time in a moderately high heat, and cooking the cakes as close to the bottom of the oven as possible. This is also one of those dishes that must be served immediately after baking. Because of the speedy nature of this recipe, I suggest making the sauce first, setting it aside, then preparing the cakes.

If when you unmould the first cake, it does not stand up like a cake layer, or seems too runny or oozy, place the other cakes back in the hot oven for another couple minutes. I had to sacrifice one of the cakes to figure out the cooking time for my oven.

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Chocolate Molten Cake

This recipe will yield about 6, 8 ounce cakes. The recipe has been adapted from Craig Stoll and Michelle Polzine of San Francisco’s Delfina.

Difficulty: Intermediate

Tools

Knife
6, 8 once ramekins
Parchment paper
Bainmarie
Wooden spoon
Standmixer or bowl and hand mixer
Large bowl
Spoon or scoop

Ingredients

8 ounces unsalted butter, roughly chopped
10 ounces 70% cocoa, chopped
2 ounces 99% or 100% cocoa, finely chopped
4 whole eggs
4 egg yolks
4 ounces sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ounce flour

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F with a rack as low as it can be placed in the oven. Butter the ramekins. Line the bottom of each ramekin with parchment paper and butter that as well.

2. Place the chopped butter and cocoa in a bowl over simmering water. Heat the mixture, stirring frequently until the butter and cocoa have melted completely. Remove from the heat and set aside.

3. In another bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the whole eggs, egg yolks, sugar on high speed for about 5 minutes until it reaches the ribbon stage (when the whisk is lifted from the bowl, the mixture should fall back to the bowl slowly in thick ribbons).

4. With the mixer on low slowly mix in the flour.

5. Gently fold the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture, using 1/3 of the egg mixture at a time. Once the egg mixture is completely folded in and the mixture is homogenous, evenly spoon or pour the batter into the prepared ramekins, leaving 1/4 inch at the top of each ramekin.

If you want to serve the cake later, cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to two days.

6. Bake in a preheated oven for 11 to 13 minutes until the sides are set and firm. The center will be soft to the touch but set.

7. Remove from the oven and let the ramekins sit for 1 minute before unmoulding, if you plan to serve it that way (you may need to run a very sharp, thin knife around the outside before unmoulding). You can also serve them in the ramekin as I have done.

8. Serve immediately, topped with the cinnamon honey pear sauce (recipe below).

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Cinnamon Honey Pear Sauce: This sauce is essentially a poaching liquid that is reduced until thick like a syrup. If you would like larger pieces of pear, or even pear halves instead of cubed pears, simply poach the pears for a few minutes longer until they are cooked through. You can also substitute the whole cinnamon stick and vanilla bean with 1 tsp of cinnamon and vanilla extract each.

If you want to multi task and save dishes, instead of using a bain-marie, simply place the bowl of chocolate and butter for the chocolate molten cake onto of the pot simmering the syrup after the pears have been removed.

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Cinnamon Honey Pear Sauce

This recipe will yield about 2 cups of sauce.

Difficulty: Easy

Tools

Heavy bottomed pot
Wooden spoon
Slotted Spoon
Bowl

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 cinnamon stick, broken into quarters
1 vanilla bean, split
3 tablespoons honey
2 or 3 pears, peeled, cored & chopped

Instructions

1. Place all the ingredients except the pears in a heavy bottomed pot. Be sure to scrape the vanilla bean seeds from the pod into the pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer and stir until the honey and sugar has dissolved.

2. Add the pears and simmer gently for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pears are soft and cooked through.

3. Remove the pears and set them aside.

4. Increase the heat of the poaching liquid mixture so that it is at a gentle boil. Boil the mixture until it has reduced by almost 1/2 and is thick like a syrup, about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the mixture as the rate at which it is simmering or boiling can greatly affect the cooking time.

5. Remove the mixture from the heat and remove the vanilla bean pod and the cinnamon sticks. Add the pears back to the mixture (unless you wish to keep them separate).

6. Serve warm or cool. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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Serving tips: Pour the syrup and pears over the chocolate molten cake, or next to them on a plate. If you are a honey fan you can add a little extra honey too. The cake is very rich so the sweetness of the sauce and honey pulls out the sweet notes and balances the bitterness of the chocolate.

Enjoy and happy valentines!

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AUTHOR - Russell van Kraayenburg

Founder of Chasing Delicious, and author of Haute Dogs, Russell's works have been featured in Southern Living, Men's Fitness, Redbook, TRADHome, and Real Simple magazines and on various sites including Lifehacker, Fast Co., Business Insider, The Kitchn, Live Originally, Quipsologies, Explore, and Fine Cooking. Follow Russell on Twitter @rvank and Instagram. Get more delicious @chasedelicious.

59 Comments

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  • Brian @ A Thought For Food

    There’s nothing more to say than: FABULOUS! Russell, you have made the most lovely Valentine’s Day dessert. Chocolate and honey? I don’t think I’ve ever had the two together… but it just sounds marvelous!

    And your writing always has me captivated. Happy Valentine’s Day, my friend!

    • Russell

      Definitely worth a try, Brian, especially when it’s really dark, slightly bitter chocolate. The sweetness of the honey adds such a scrumptious layer of flavor. Thank you as always, mister!

  • Sommer@ASpicyPerspective

    If someone made this for me tomorrow I would feel very loved. …Could you email this to my hubby?

  • Mama's Gotta Bake

    These look gorgeous and decadent. Perfect for a Valentine’s treat!

  • Erica

    Cute story :) I wish I you had a pic of the molten center! I love molten chocolate…

    • Russell

      Hey, Erica. I just added one. I can’t believe I forgot that shot! It’s pretty much the most important for a post like this, haha.

  • nicole {sweet peony}

    yummy! your photos are beautiful and i love the idea of that honey pear sauce! and i’m so excited that we both shared molten chocolate cakes today :)

  • Carolyn

    Molten chocolate cake really is the dreamiest of desserts. Love the honey and pear too!

  • kelly

    What a great story. My son who is 7 is working up the courage to be in your shoes. We’ve already asked “Reagan” to come out with us on a mini-Valentines-date at a resturant of her choice to split a sundae with my son…I of course will be sitting at a nearby booth with my 5 year old daughter…pretending to be out of sight. Hopefully he’ll be as lucky as you to get his first kiss…I’m thinking the melted hot fudge sauce will help set the mood.

  • Meeta

    Simply decadent and divine – best of all not sparkly silliness with this dessert. Love it!

  • Kulsum@journeykitchen

    Molten chocolate cake tops my list of favorite desserts. And you made it look SO good I think I have to go make some!

  • Sandy @ tinytinyfork

    Wow– that looks sinful! Love the idea of cinnamon, honey, and pear sauce for topping. Great post :)

  • Steph@stephsbitebybite

    I think I could easily eat three of these on my own! They looks so decadent and so sophisticated!

  • Cassie

    Definitely trying these. Love, love, love.

  • TidyMom

    This sounds incredible and the pictures are soooo beautiful!

  • Jennifer (Delicieux)

    This looks incredible and definitely droolworthy….a molten chocolate center is my idea of heaven.

  • Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers

    Amazing! My husband would love this fro Valentine’s Day!

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    This is my heaven!

  • Kathryn

    That is one of the best valentines stories that I’ve heard. I love it!

  • thelittleloaf

    Your story made me smile. And I love the idea that you’ve moved onto using chocolate and honey to win peoples’ hearts – it’s a combination that never fails. Throw in a little butter and anyone is yours :-)

  • Liz

    It’s so much easier to woo a crush with one of your fabulous lava cakes…but I enjoyed your cute story~

  • Kankana

    So glad to find your blog and your writing is so amazing. I could almost visualize the whole picture :) As for this treat what can i say .. it looks like the perfect combination to celebrate love!

  • Amy

    These cakes sound amazing! I love it with the molten cake alone, but the cinnamon honey pear sauce makes it extra special and delicious!

  • hannah@ bake five

    omg this is just the cake for me.

  • Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having

    What a perfectly seductive dessert. Happy Valentine`s Day!

  • Happy When Not Hungry

    Wow beautiful cake! Love that pear sauce too. I def need to try this. Nice job!

  • Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen

    What a great story!! Now I want to know what happened to that little girl?

  • Anna H

    Thank you so much for this lovely story and for such a decadent dessert. I especially love that this only has a tiny bit of flour which, for those of us with wheat allergies, can safely substitute spelt. Thank you, thank you!

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  • Kelsey

    I’m embarrassed to say this is my first time visiting. Your writing, the photos, and recipe are totally captivating. I love the reflection “might have been the most brave moment in my life,” very powerful.

  • Dee at Deelicous Sweets

    Every time I read your posts I give you a standing ovation. Just thought I would let you know since you aren’t able to see me ;) Beautiful little cakes too. Happy Valentines Day, Russell!

  • Maureen

    Geez I hated it when boys would snap my bra. Thankfully you all outgrew it in a year or so. :)

    Love these molten chocolate cakes. So ooey and gooey and delicious.

  • Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.

    This looks incredible! I’m loving your site!!

  • Alyssa

    What a sweet story! And I think any girl would love your baked goods. Very nice cake and I love the sauce too!

  • RavieNomNoms

    Oh my goodness this looks so wonderful!! Honey on cake? Wow, I think my heart is singing :-)

  • Amanda

    Beautiful cakes!

  • Laura

    Simply fabulous!

  • Michael Toa

    Oh my… I am speechless… well, almost… the cake looks stunning and no doubt about the delicious taste too. Yum.

  • Kiri W.

    Wow! That looks like an amazing molten cake, and the sauce sounds like such a cool twist on it. Very well done!

  • grubarazzi

    Simply…gorgeous.

  • the wicked noodle

    Holy Gorgeous Blog! That first photo has me mesmerized, I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m in LOVE!

  • Marina@cowboycountryvegetarian

    Those photos are simply a piece of art itself. And the recipes are … well, I can’t get over the photos yet… Great! Magnificent!

  • RisaG

    I’ve made Molten Chocolate Cakes before. Originally from Jean George Vongerichten’s recipe in his first book. They are always a hit.So oozy and delicious and sooooo sexy.

    I wasn’t feeling all that sexy this year so I made my husband a pan of Peanut Butter Cup Bars in a heart-shape all for himself and a pan of S’Mores Krispy Treats for my son. I ate part of each for myself. Both are just wonderful.

    I love Valentine’s Day. The food is great, the desserts rock and the gifts are always terrific.

    Happy Valentine’s day!

  • Daisy@Nevertoosweet

    Delicious and simply divine! I love chocolate molten cake :) Thanks for the great recipe ~

  • SMITH BITES

    i have been that girl on the playground . . . lordy, the story takes me back . . . and chocolate molten cake is definitely a food of the gods!!

  • naomi

    Holy-baby, I need some of this. Great tips for success too. I never thought to bake near the bottom of the oven.

    And the cinnamon honey pear sauce-yeah, I need a double batch. That sounds great for just about anything.

  • Snippets of Thyme (Sarah)

    That’s it! It’s time for a bra-burning movement among elementary girls! JK> really cute story. I remember when I read ‘volumes’ into any little word possible on a Valentine from a boy that I admired.

  • kitchenriffs

    Good action shots with the honey! And a really nice recipe. Wonderful, as always – thanks.

  • Matt @ RecipeLion

    This dessert looks great! I would love it if you linked up this recipe to my blog hop for a chance to win a cookbook prize package: http://bit.ly/wJSl1h

  • Fran@fransfavs.com

    I made my molten cakes with mint fudge sauce and traditional vanilla ice cream–perhaps boring but quite decadently delicious! I will try your cinnamon honey pear sauce next time around. Really enjoy your writing style and your photos are marvelous. http://www.fransfavs.com/2012/02/molten-chocolate-cakes-with-mint-fudge-sauce/

  • Reem | Simply Reem

    What a beautiful dessert….
    I love it, simple and elegant….
    As always fantastic photography…..

  • Amy at Gastronome Tart

    Always looking for recipes with honey as I obviously have a big surplus from keeping bees. This looks delicious!

  • Laura @ A Healthy Jalapeño

    Cinnamon honey pear sauce… Are you kidding? That sounds amazing. Not to mention your pictures are just stunning. I love it. Ok, officially your newest follower!

  • teo

    I like what i see here, enjoy your style, love your photos and this delicious dessert.

  • Magic of Spice

    I was propelled right back to early school years…great story Russell! And this dessert is just a decadent delight!
    Hope you had a great valentines!

  • Sydney Jones

    Your photos and blog are absolutely lovely! I have yet to make these, you may have pushed me to do it :)

  • Roxana GreenGirl { A little bit of everything}

    this is probably one of the most beautiful and delicious chocolate molten cake I have seen in a while. And such a great story to go with!

  • Eftychia

    I already saved this recipe in my favorite recipe list. Very good!

  • Elizabeth

    These look so delicious. Especially with the honey!

  • KitchenSisters

    The pictures, the food, the blog… It is fantastic! We can continue reading for hours!

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