Life has been less than sweet this past year. So what could be better than a chocolate caramel dessert to cheer us up on this holiday of love? And remember, Valentine’s Day can be a time to let others know how much you appreciate them.
This dessert makes six individual servings, but you can easily drop off a couple of these cakes to neighbors and friends. You can either leave them with a note with baking instructions, or you can bake them and instruct to quickly reheat or eat chilled with a dollop of ice cream or creme fraiche.
Or you can keep them all for yourself and your valentine if you are really in need of a chocolate fix!
These warm chocolate lava cakes, first made famous in fancy restaurants, are a home cook’s dream for an easy dessert. Look for a good quality bittersweet chocolate such as Valrhona or Guittard. Select a soft caramel like Kraft so that it will just melt.
The caramels add a decadent layer of sweet bliss to the bittersweet chocolate. Make sure to bake these just until done so that the center stays pudding-like. A little scoop of caramel ice cream adds just the finishing touch to this easy yet elegant dessert.
Molten Chocolate-Caramel Cakes
- 6 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 3 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1/3 cup baking sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 soft caramels, each cut in half
- Powdered sugar or sweetened cocoa powder for dusting the top, optional
- Caramel ice cream, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter six 3/4-cup ramekins. Place them on a sheet pan to avoid any drips.
In the top of a double boiler over medium heat, melt the chocolate and the butter until completely blended. Cool for a few minutes.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs and egg yolks with the sugar until it is a light lemon color, about 4 minutes.
Add the flour, blending it in completely, and then add the cooled chocolate-butter mixture and vanilla extract. Mix briefly just to blend.
Transfer to a 4-cup measuring cup or pitcher for ease in pouring. Fill each of the prepared ramekins 1/2 full. With your fingers, push 2 caramel halves into the center of each pudding cake until they are covered with the chocolate batter.
Bake for about 11 to 12 minutes, or until the cake is set around the outside edges but the center moves slightly when the ramekin is moved. Remove from the oven and place each cake onto a dessert plate.
Sprinkle the plates with powdered sugar or cocoa powder. Serve with a small scoop of softened caramel ice cream on the side.
This can be made through Step 3 up to 6 hours ahead, covered, and kept at room temperature. These are also great served cooked and chilled.
Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple Parties,” and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at SeriouslySimple.com. Copyright 2021 Diane Rossen Worthington. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.