Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mini Chocolate Indulgences

This cake is so rich, a small serving is plenty for even the most confirmed chocoholic. The recipe makes a baker’s dozen small cakes, perfect for serving warm with whipped cream or ice cream (mocha chip, perhaps?).

1 pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (2 2/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate)
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 1/2 teaspoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons sugar1 teaspoon hot water1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, separated

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a dozen silicone muffin cups. Or grease a dozen foil stand-alone muffin cups. Or grease a dozen paper muffin cups (but don’t put them in a muffin pan — yet).

In a double boiler, or in a microwave, heat together the chocolate and butter till just melted. Stir in the salt, espresso powder, flour, sugar, water, vanilla, and egg yolks. Mix to combine thoroughly, but don’t beat.

Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gently fold them into the chocolate batter. Fill ONE muffin cup with a scant 1/4 cup of batter; this will be your test cake. If you’re using paper cups, put this one cup in the center of a standard or square muffin pan.

Bake the cake for 12 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and let it sit in the muffin cup for about 2 minutes. Remove it from the cup, and break it open; the middle won't appear completely set—that's OK. Your goal is a middle that’s very moist, even wet, but not flowing or lava-like. Better for the cake to be a bit moister than too dry, as it’ll continue to set a bit as it cools.

Grease the silicone cup you’ve just used, and fill it, along with the remaining cups, using a scant 1/4 cup batter in each. Bake the cakes for 12 minutes (if the test cake was a success); or for a minute more or a minute less, for a moister or dryer cake. Ovens vary; thus the variation in baking times.

When the cakes are done, remove them form the oven and, after a couple of minutes (as soon as you can handle them), remove them from their cups. Top each warm cake with a dollop of whipped cream and a fresh (or frozen/thawed) raspberry, if desired. Vanilla ice cream is another tasty option. Cakes are lovely served warm, but they’re also fine at room temperature. Or reheat room-temperature cakes very briefly in the microwave.Yield: 13 mini cakes.

©2007 The King Arthur Flour Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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