How many times have you have Chocolate Molten Cake? A lot? Too much? Over it?
Lie down on couch. Take your shoes off. Fold your hands. Shut your eyes. Go back, far in time, to a simpler time and space.
Take your best memories of chocolate cake and chocolate pudding and let them flow and merge and …
Time to wake up. Time to cook. Shoes on, please. Go directly to the kitchen. Search for the cocoa powder and everything else you need. I know, I sound bossy here. I know, too, that later you will thank me.
This is better than those molten exotics: rich, dense and satisfying as only chocolate — actually cocoa — can be. Suzen has served dozens and dozens of these desserts this summer at Cooking by the Book. I never ever tire of getting my own private little dessert at the end of the meal. It may be small, only the size of one ramekin, but it’s mine, all mine.
Make yours. Then find a couch, lie down. Kick those shoes off. Again. Close your eyes. Again. Take one deep spoonful.
Okay, it may not be a life changing event. But’s a great treat.
Warm Chocolate Pudding Cake
Yield: serves 4
For the chocolate sauce:
- 1 cup boiling water
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 ½ cups soft brown sugar
For the chocolate pudding cake:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- A pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup whole milk
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp real vanilla extract
- For serving: Crème fraiche, mascarpone cheese, or vanilla ice cream
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease four 5-oz. ramekins.
First make the chocolate sauce. Pour a scant cup boiling water into a small saucepan, add the cocoa powder and brown sugar, and lightly whisk over a low heat making sure that there are no lumps and the sugar has dissolved. Transfer the batter to a jug.
To make the puddings, sift the flour with the salt, baking powder, and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Whisk in the milk, melted butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract until a thick, smooth batter forms. Transfer the batter to a jug, then pour it into the ramekins so that the mixture comes halfway up the sides. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet.
Pour the chocolate sauce mixture carefully over the prepared puddings and bake in the preheated oven for 15- 20 minutes: they should still be wobbly in the center when they are ready.
If desired, top each pudding with a dollop of crème fraîche, mascarpone cheese, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Source: No Fuss Dinners by Caroline Marson
Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/5 for1/60th second at ISO‑1000
Pudding is something we rarely encounter as adults. We have fond memories of Jell-O boxes and multiple servings of chocolate pudding topped with whipped cream. But pudding now? When Suzen suggests that teams coming for an event at Cooking by the Book finish their hands-on experience with pudding, well pudding cake, there is often some reluctance.
While she cannot twist someone’s arm over the phone, Suzen can be enthusiastic. She’s a believer in this delicate dessert and in the past few months I’ve gotten to eat it once or twice a week as her clients succumb to her enthusiasm. This dessert is perpetually enjoyable. Lemon is a popular flavor, right there after vanilla and chocolate. And the pudding cake has this surprising texture of creamy softness with full mouth feel. It’s not the pudding of Jell-O boxes. And it’s not solid cake. It’s pudding cake and it satisfies everyone who tastes it.
Lemon desserts often pair well with whipped cream and berries. You see in the picture above that we’ve done just that. The berries add a flavor punctuation mark that adds dimension.
Lemon Pudding Cakes
Yield: Eight 6-ounce ramekins
- Softened butter for the ramekins
- 2 ounces (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
- 1-⅛ ounces (1/4 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¼ plus ⅛ teaspoon table salt
- 1-¼ cups whole milk, at room temperature
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream and berries for serving (optional)
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Butter eight 6-ounce ceramic oven-proof ramekins or Pyrex custard cups, or even better as picture: mason jars. Arrange them in a baking dish or roasting pan (a 10×15-inch or two 8×8-inch Pyrex dishes work well).
In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter with ⅔ cup of the sugar and the egg yolks until smooth and light, about 1 minute. Add the flour and salt and pour in just enough milk to whisk the flour smoothly into the egg yolk mixture. Then whisk in the remaining milk and the lemon juice until smooth. The mixture will be very fluid.
Put the egg whites in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer (a hand-held or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment) on medium speed until the whites begin to foam, 30 to 60 seconds. Increase the speed to high and beat just until the whites hold soft peaks when the beater is pulled away, another 1 to 2 minutes.
Reduce the mixer speed to medium. With the mixer running, very slowly sprinkle in the remaining ⅓ cup sugar; this should take about a minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl. Beat on high speed until the whites hold medium-firm peaks when the beater is pulled away, about another 30 seconds.
Scrape one-third of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, sprinkle the lemon zest on top, and whisk until combined. Gently incorporate the remaining whites into the batter, using the whisk in a folding/stirring motion. The batter will still be thin.
Portion the mixture evenly among the ramekins; the cakes don’t rise much, so you can fill the ramekins to within ⅛ inch of the top. Pull out the oven rack and put the baking dish full of ramekins on the rack. Pour warm water into the dish to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the tops of the cakes are light golden and slightly puffed, and when touched with a finger, they should feel spongy and spring back a bit but hold a shallow indentation, 25 to 30 minutes. Using tongs, carefully transfer the ramekins to a rack. Let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours before serving, with whipped cream if you like.