I’ve tried umpteen recipes for these luscious little cakes to no avail—none are gooey enough, and the cake part is never moist or rich enough, at least for our family’s nothing-is-too-chocolatey preferences. So, when my friend Susan invited me to join her and a pastry chef from one of the Craft restaurants for private dessert-making lessons I jumped at the chance, especially since I was allowed to choose a cake to make. Mostly what I learned was that I know next to nothing about baking with chocolate (I never temper, probably never will). Frankly, though, the lava cakes we made—painstakingly, and I am not a painstaking cook; I’m more of a dumper—just weren’t what I’d hoped they’d be. Bruce and Emma suggested in their not-so-subtle ways that I don’t make them again. Then, not one to miss an opportunity to prove her own mettle, Emma found this recipe from Paula Deen on the food network site, made them all by herself…and they were everything I’ve always loved about a good lava cake!
We are fans of Paula’s, and no two people are more surprised than Emma and I. Sometimes, in the middle of a night full of homework, before I start dinner, Emma and I crawl into bed for a “rest” at 5:30 and watch her show. It started as a kind of joke 1) because in our house we don’t down sticks of butter or cups of mayo with any regularity, and it amuses us no end to watch Paula say, “Oops, look how that just fell into the budddddher” before she shoves it in her mouth; and 2) because Emma’s class is deep into grammar this year, and we make a game of Paula’s grammar don’ts (no offense to Paula, whom we love, and who references her grammar, or lack thereof, often). We hang with Paula, Jamie, Bobby, Michael, and Bubba several times a week, plus they’ve ended up being a boon to our chocolate-dessert must-makes. I’m going to post a story about one of Paula’s brownie recipes…so stay tuned.
On another note: In the communal spirit of my blog (don’t be shy; share your recipes with us!), I have invited five friends to come to dinner tomorrow night, with a friend, everyone to bring a favorite dish/dessert plus the recipe. I’ll be posting, starting later this week, so don’t stray too far.
(makes 6 cakes)
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate
2 oz. semisweet chocolate
10 T unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 large eggs
3 egg yolks
1 t. vanilla extract
2 T orange liqueur (I advised Emma to use coffee…and she listened!)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Grease 6 6-ounce custard cups. Melt the chocolates and butter in the microwave. Add the flour and sugar to chocolate mixture. Sir in the eggs and yolks until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and liqueur. Divide the batter evenly among the custard cups. Place in the oven and bake for 14 minutes. The edges should be firm but the center will be runny. Run a knife around the edges to loosen and invert onto dessert plates.