Recipe by Sarah Phillips © 2007 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
This cake is a major indulgence, and because of an embedded truffle in the center, delivers gooey bittersweet chocolate from within when eaten warm from the oven. If having a dinner party, these can be prepared 3 days ahead of baking, and baked right before serving.
CAKE RECIPE HELP
QUESTION: Orange Piggy, Premium Member, Asks: What's the purpose of freezing the chocolate ganache center before baking?
SARAH SAYS: The secret to this recipe is to really preheat the oven for a good 30 minutes plus! Notice you bake the recipe in the lower third of the oven close to the heat source, too.
The baking part is really there to set the outside cake and to melt (not burn) the chocolate ganache on the inside.
When the frozen ganache center hits the oven, the burst of steam released from the liquid part of the frozen cream in the ganache, provides the heat source from which to melt the chocolate.
Softened butter and sugar, for the ramekins
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into bits
2 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, natural or Dutch processed; sift after measuring
2 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 large egg white, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 tablespoons sugar
1. Lightly butter the insides of six 6-ounce custard cups, sprinkle with sugar to coat, and tap out the excess.
2. In a medium stainless steel bowl placed in a skillet of hot, not simmering, water, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring often, until smooth. Remove from the heat. Measure 6 tablespoons into a small shallow bowl (a cereal bowl is perfect). Add the milk and stir well. Place in the freezer while preparing the rest of the recipe. Stir the cocoa and egg yolks into the remaining chocolate- butter mixture.
3. In a grease-free medium bowl, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the sugar until the peaks are stiff and glossy but not dry. Fold about one-quarter of the egg whites into the cocoa mixture, then fold in the remaining whites. Spoon the batter into the cups, filling them half full. Set the remaining batter aside.
4. Remove the chocolate-butter mixture from the freezer; it should be firm. Using a dessert spoon, scrape up the mixture and roll into 6 truffle-like balls (they do not have to be perfectly round). Embed a truffle into the center of each custard cup, top with equal amounts of the remaining batter, and level the tops. Place the cups on a baking sheet.
Cover the cups with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. (The cakes can be prepared to this point up to 3 days ahead, covered, and refrigerated.)
5. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
6. Bake until the cakes are puffed and cracked and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out gooey, indicating that the truffle is melted, about 12 minutes. Let the cakes cool for 3 minutes.
7. Run a thin knife around the inside of each cup to release the cake. Protecting your hands with a towel, invert a cup in the center of a dessert plate to unmold the cake. Repeat with the remaining cakes. Serve immediately with a dollop of whipped cream.
Store baked cakes in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
This recipe is adapted from Alice Medrich.