Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Molten Love

Our friend Les was here this past weekend and we did fondue. Again.

When we find something we like to eat we eat it to death until we can't even stand the thought of it anymore. There are several much loved dishes that we have eaten into extinction: Hot Dog Melts, Chili Bacon Pasta...and I think fondue is on the endangered species list. No more fondue for a verrrrry long time.

Anyway, I made Molten Chocolate Cake for dessert as sort of a belated Birthday cake pour moi. I usually make Red Velvet for my birthday but this year I decided to branch out. At first I was going to explore the cupcake trend and make Ina Garten's Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Icing. But instead I was inspired by a dessert we had in San Francisco at a lovely little bistro-style restaurant called Florio Bar and Cafe. I had a great meal there (pasta al amatriciana-with homemade noodles!) but the Molten Chocolate Cake I had for dessert was a spiritual experience. It was SOOOOOOOO good. I had been holding on to a recipe for these for quite a while and decided that cupcakes be damned! - my chocolate is going to be hot and gooey.

These are really easy to make. The great part about them is that you can make the batter the day before, pour it into the molds or ramekins and stick it in the fridge until you are ready for the glory.

I learned a valuable lesson making these that seems so totally elementary that I can't believe I didn't pay more attention. The lesson being if the recipe calls for unsalted butter, use unsalted butter. I have a lot of recipes like this and since we buy our butter by the gross at Costco, I am limited to the salted sticks they carry and usually do not give it any thought. I hear chefs say it all of the time but for some reason I don't think that it really matters. Stupid, I know. The really sad part about this is that I HAD unsalted butter that I especially bought for this recipe but I stuck it in the freezer and promptly forgot about it.

The recipe calls for a whole stick of butter which you melt with only about 4oz of chocolate. That is a large butter to chocolate ratio and I knew I was in trouble when I tasted the salty chocolate goo I had melted over my double boiler. I told myself that the sugar and egg mixture would probably diffuse the saltiness and don't all of those chefs tell us that salt brings out the flavor of other ingredients?

Here is another tip I learned. If you do make the batter ahead of time and keep it in the fridge, you will either have to take the cakes out and bring them up to room temperature before you bake them. OR, if you pop them in the oven right from the fridge you will have to extend the baking time allotted on the recipe (which I had to do).

Jeffery and Les thought the cakes were DELICIOUS, but all I could taste was the salt. I couldn't even finish my wee cake, which tells you how bad it was. I learned my lesson and will not make THAT mistake again.

I will leave you with my new favorite food blog I found yesterday when I was searching for info on Entremets. Entremets are mousse cakes, which I learned watching Sugar Rush when they featured Vanille Patisserie. Anyway..oh yes...link: Foodbeam.

4 Comments:

Les said...

The 4.75 pounds of fondue I'd eaten must have blunted the molten cake's saltiness; it was, indeed, dee-lish!

10:48 AM  
Erica Mulherin said...

Thank you Les!:) I am still eating lasagna by the way...lasagna for breakfast, lasagna for lunch, a lite afternoon snack of - wait - oh yes...lasagna..so good!

9:07 AM  
Les said...

That's the problem when I make lasagna for friends; they never want me to make it again!

2:18 PM  
Electric Mayhem said...

Hey lady -

I've been meaning to write you back to wish you a belated birthday wish as well, Aries buddy!

I'm really enjoying your blog, especially the posts about food. The chili/bacon thingy sounds too good to be true.

Zach got to see you and J not too long ago and said he had as much fun with you as he did at the wedding, which makes me jealous. Hopefully you guys will make it down to SoCal sometime soon. :)

1:26 PM  

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