These individual cakes with molten chocolate centers are popular on American restaurant menus. This version is especially rich and chocolaty and would be made even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter
- 3/4 cup water
- 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 6 large eggs
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter six 1 1/4-cup ceramic ramekins or custard cups.
2. In a large saucepan, combine the butter and water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the chocolate, sugar, coffee granules, and salt, and stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
3. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the eggs to blend, and then gradually beat in the chocolate mixture until well blended.
4. Divide the chocolate mixture evenly among the prepared dishes. Bake until the edges of the cakes crack slightly but the center 2 inches remain soft and glossy, about 25 minutes. Serve the cakes warm, topped with vanilla ice cream, if desired.
You can serve these cakes in the cups or unmolded on plates. To unmold cakes: Run a sharp knife around the perimeter of the cake to loosen it from the baking cup.Place an individual serving plate over the baking cup and, using the potholder, invert the cake onto the plate. Wait 10 to 15 seconds, then carefully lift the cup off the plate. The cake should be slightly sunken in the center.
• After the cakes cool, you can store them tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 6 days. To serve them, reheat the cakes in the microwave on medium-high power until the centers are soft, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
• The best way to chop chocolate: Use a large sharp knife to chop squares or bars of chocolate. Begin with cool room temperature chocolate and chop it on a dry, clean cutting board.
• In general, bake and cook with chocolate that you like to eat. However, do not substitute one kind of chocolate for another in a recipe. If the recipe calls for unsweetened chocolate, bittersweet or semisweet will not work. Milk chocolate, because of the unstable milk solids, is very rarely used for baking and should not be substituted.
• Store solid chocolate (bars and blocks) at cool room temperature with moderate humidity (65°F. and 50 percent humidity are ideal). Wrap it first in foil and then in plastic. Do not freeze or refrigerate the chocolate; the humidity can cause sugar bloom and may alter the taste and texture of the chocolate. When correctly stored, dark chocolate will last up to 10 years and milk and white chocolate for 7 to 8 months.