Recipe for Molten Chocolate-Cherry Cakes
Recipe 154 of 365
Crunchy: cocoa nibs, baked right into the bottom of each ramekin for a little surprise in each bite. And tart, fresh, crisp-skinned cherries, halved and mounded on top. Smooth: melted chocolate center, with just the right mount of gooey. Lush: chocolate and cherries together, without the epicurean disaster (IMHO) also known as chocolate-covered cherries in a box.
TIME: 35 minutes
MAKES: 8 little cakes
Vegetable oil spray
Sugar for dusting the ramekins
4 teaspoons cocoa nibs (optional, I used Theo)
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound fresh tart red cherries, halved and pitted
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Spray the insides of eight 1/2-cup ovenproof ramekins with the vegetable spray, and dust the insides with a thin layer of sugar. Sprinkle about half a teaspoon of the cocoa nibs onto the bottom of each ramekin, if using. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat. When the butter stops foaming and bubbling, add the chocolate, and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the salt and vanilla, and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or using an electric hand-held mixer), whisk the eggs, yolks, and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the chocolate mixture and mix on low until completely incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer, sprinkle the flour on top of the batter, and use a spatula to fold the flour in until just incorporated.
Divide the batter between the ramekins, filling each about 3/4 of the way full. Roughly chop half of the halved cherries and spread them on top of the batter, dividing them evenly between the eight ramekins.*
Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes, until the tops of the cakes are puffed around the edges but still slightly higher than the center. Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool 5 minutes. Run a small knife around the edge of each ramekin, carefully invert each onto a plate, and sift a little confectioners’ sugar over the top of each cake. Pile the remaining halved cherries on top of and around cakes, and serve immediately.
*Note: The cakes can be assembled up to this point, wrapped well in plastic, and refrigerated up to 4 hours or frozen up to 3 weeks before baking. When baking from refrigerated, bake 13 minutes, or 15 minutes from frozen.