Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Gooey Chocolate Cakes

Leigh of Lemon Tartlet chose Gooey Chocolate Cakes for us Tuesdays with Dorie bakers to indulge ourselves in this week. Since Smell The Basil is written by both Erin and myself, I'm going to post our individual takes on this this week's TWD challenge in a single post.

First Up: Erin's Take
So, these little cakes turned out really good, but not exactly what I expected. For some reason I had it in my head that the cakes would be almost molten in the middle. I thought that when you would start eating them that chocolate would ooze out from the middle. However, that's not what happened. Even though there is only 1/3 cup of flour in the entire recipe, my cakes still set up like cakes all the way through. Don't get me wrong, they were full of moist chocolatey deliciousness, but not what I expected. I cooked them in muffin tins like Dorie suggests, just sprayed them when cooking spray and they slide out perfectly. Oh, the recipe called for finely chopping the final ounce of chocolate and sprinkling it on top of the batter before they went into the oven. I used a
microplane to grate the chocolate and ended up with almost a fine powder. Perhaps next time if I actually chop the chocolate this will make the centers more gooey. I cooked them for exactly 13 minutes, but perhaps next time I'll cook them a few minutes less to see what happens. Regardless, this is a wonderful chocolate dessert that is not sickingly sweet. And the best part, use of the muffin tins create the perfect portion size. Enjoy!

Now, My Take:
One of my favorite aspects of special dishes is the way that making them again can bring back memories of past times you've enjoyed them. Whether it's the smell, the taste, or whichever sense stirs the memory, I'm amazed at its ability to transport me back to that time or place. It's almost as though the memory becomes part of the dish, like an ingredient would. This cake holds a special place in my heart as it reminds me of the night my husband, David, asked me to marry him. We were in New York, and he insisted on a stop-off at the Empire State Building prior to dinner because he was meeting his friends there (so he said). This story was beyond implausible, but I didn't bother questioning because I was cold, tired, hungry, wearing unsensible shoes, and I was ready to go eat already. Did I mention how hungry I was? At any rate, by the time he slipped that ring onto my frigid finger, I was shocked and speechless. Though he was a broke law student, he'd made reservations at
Tavern on the Green, and we went on to enjoy one of the most special meals of our lives. The best part of our meal was sharing a molten chocolate cake with my sweetheart. I've subsequently made cakes such as this one for special occasions. It's a very indulgent treat for someone special. This time, however, I added a teaspoon of espresso powder to the chocolate/butter mix as well as a teaspoon of Frangelico liqueur to the final batter for a twist on the recipe. I think both were nice additions to the molten decadence. My husband and I enjoyed reminiscing about our momentous engagement day in New York while we polished off these cakes. Finally, please visit the blogs of other Tuesdays with Dorie participants to see everyone's results.

Gooey Chocolate Cakes
From "Baking: From My Home to Yours" by Dorie Greenspan
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, 4 ounces coarsely chopped, 1 ounce very finely chopped
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
6 tablespoons sugar
Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter (or spray - it's easier) 6 cups of a regular-size muffin pan, preferably a disposable aluminum foil pan, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Put the muffin pan on a baking sheet.Sift the flour, cocoa and salt together.Set a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, put the coarsely chopped chocolate and the butter in the bowl and stir occasionally over the simmering water just until they are melted - you don't want them to get so hot that the butter separates. Remove the bowl from the pan of water.In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and yolk until homogenous. Add the sugar and whisk until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add the dry ingredients and, still using the whisk, stir (don't beat) them into the eggs. Little by little, and using a light hand, stir in the melted chocolate and butter. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and sprinkle the finely chopped chocolate over the batter.Bake the cakes for 13 minutes. Transfer them, still on the baking sheet, to a rack to cool for 3 minutes. (There is no way to test that these cakes are properly baked, because the inside remains liquid.) Line a cutting board with a silicone baking mat or parchment or wax paper, and, after the 3-minute rest, unmold the cakes onto the board. Use a wide metal spatual to lift the cakes onto dessert plates.

* Note: My cakes were very molten in the middle. I cooked them for 12 minutes, not 13, and because of how gooey they were, I had to unmold them directly onto the dessert plates rather than a piece of wax paper as Dorie instructs in her book.


Mevrouw Cupcake said...

Nice work, ladies! Glad that you both enjoyed the bake-off!

Rebecca said...

The Empire State Building AND Tavern on the Green? Yum.

Marie said...

You've really got some great goo going on there! I think your cakes look fabulous! Mine were more fudgy than gooey, but they did taste delicious, especially with a drizzle of muscovado toffee sauce and some clotted cream!!

Amy said...

Great photos. Thanks for telling us about the frangelico. I was too nervous to try it, though I thought about it. But next time I will add it to mine.

Annemarie said...

Good job gals!

April said...

Your cakes look great!

slush said...

I love the double takes! Very cool. Great job ladies!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Great job to both of you! So nice to read about the memories this dish brought back Shirlie!

Rachel said...

I agree about food bringing back memories. Kudos on your successful baking. :)

LyB said...

Lovely story and delicious looking cakes!

Anonymous said...

Give it a whirl for Shirl! You've become such a Martha S...wow, dam girl. Love the pictures and the mooshy love story.