And you’re right – the dense, heavy, sickeningly sweet molten chocolate cake that every restaurant in town foisted upon us rightfully deserves to fade into obscurity like tuna noodle casserole, jello salads, raspberry vinaigrette and all the other food fads that came before it.
The thing is, when done right, a molten chocolate cake is a thing of beauty. It’s crisp and chewy on the outside, giving way to an almost souffle-like moist inside, and with a rich barely-sweet chocolate flavour.
So, in an attempt to restore the faded and much-maligned reputation of a worthy dessert, I present to you a fresh perspective – bittersweet chocolate, spiced up with a traditional Mexican combination of chili and cinnamon. It’s like a bad-girl Sandra Dee doing the last number in Grease… still sweet, but with a spicy new grown-up edge that you can’t ignore.
Chili-Cinnamon Chocolate Cakelets
6 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 oz dark bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
3 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp instant coffee granules
1/2 tsp each ground cinnamon and ancho chili powder
1/8 tsp cayenne powder
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
Preheat oven to 400F. Generously butter 6 ramekins or a jumbo muffin tin. Place on a baking sheet and set aside.
In a bowl set over a pot of boiling water, mix the butter and chocolate until melted and smoo9th. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, beat egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar to ribbon stage; mixture should be thick and pale yellow, and . Stir in vanilla, instant coffee, spices and chocolate mixture.
In a large clean bowl, whip the egg whites until frothy. Add 1 tbsp sugar and whip until stiff peaks form.
Using a rubber spatula, stir a spoonful of the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture, and then gently fold the remainder of the whites into the chocolate mixture until just barely incorporated. Divide the batter between the prepared ramekins, .
Bake for 15 minutes, or until the outside edges of the cakes are set and appear dry (the middle may still look a little wobbly or wet, but this is okay).
Remove the cakes from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Serve cakes in their ramekins, or if you prefer, run a knife around the edge of each cake and invert onto a small plate to unmold.
Serve warm, with a handful of berries and a dollop of whipped cream for garnish, if desired.