I know, it’s not fair posting this sinfully decadent chocolate dessert first thing in the morning. But hey, oatmeal can only take you so far. I’m not suggesting you make this for breakfast, but it does have eggs, after all – standard breakfast fare right? And as far as I’m concerned, chocolate - dark chocolate in particular - should be declared one of the basic food groups – you know all those antioxidants and such.
Aside from the intense chocolate flavor, another great thing about this dessert is its ease of preparation. Fifteen minutes of work and you’ve got dessert that would impress any guest and wow any suitor (Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.) Plus you can make it up to three days ahead of time and keep it in the fridge before baking. Just for kicks, I thought I’d try freezing it unbaked to see how that might work out too. Guess what? It worked like a charm. Just make sure you prepare it in pyrex containers that are freezer and oven-proof (or throw-away aluminum containers) and you’re good to go.
I had tea and cake at this charming shop in New York City (one of four locations in the city) with my daughter and Genevieve Gorder, host of the HGTV decorating show “Dear Genevieve.” It was in this tea shop where Genevieve was discussing possible ideas for the makeover of my daughter’s living room in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Yes, it’s true, true, true. Those are real people whose rooms get redone on that show!
My daughter simply sent an email to the show and they liked her letter well enough to follow up with interviews and then transform her living room from so-so to sensational. The show airs this Saturday at 9 p.m. EST on HGTV, so be sure to tune in and watch the metamorphosis. There are repeats too, and you can read more about it here. During the show, you’ll see scenes at Alice’s Tea Cup with Genevieve (in the center) my daughter (on the right) and yours truly, as well as shots of the living room before and our honest-to-goodness surprise reaction after the reveal.
I’ll give you a sneak preview. Here’s what her living room looked before. Not awful, but bland – no pizzazz. And if you know my daughter, you know she definitely has pizzazz.
OK, so tune in Saturday night if you can, to see how the whole process evolved. In the meantime, here’s the low-down on making these chocolate lava cakes (they’re actually called “warm soft chocolate cakes” in the cookbook.)
When you bake them immediately after preparation, give them only 11 minutes in the oven and you’ll get that waterfall of chocolate oozing from the first photo. It’s really like eating warm chocolate pudding with only a little bit of cake holding it together. If you fill the baking cups and refrigerate them (for up to 3 days), then you need to bake the chilled cups for 13 minutes.
But if you freeze them first, then put them in the oven frozen, they will take longer. Here’s what one looked like when I pulled it from the oven after 19 minutes. That little dip in the center had me worried.
Oh yes, that’s better. This is the frozen one after baking for 19 minutes. It’s still oozing, but I think next time I’ll give it only 17 minutes, so it can be closer in “oozement” to the one that is baked unfrozen for only 11 minutes. (Actually I think I’d bake the unfrozen one for 12 minutes because maybe there was a little too much “lava” and not enough cake.) Have I totally confused you here?
The confectioner’s sugar was nice, but there was still something missing. Maybe a little whipped cream?
Now you’re talkin’!
Oh no, it’s melting, it’s melting!!!!!!!!!!!
That’s easy enough to fix – just keep the whipped cream nearby and add another dollop. Dig in!
A big, big thanks to gracious Genevieve and her friendly, helpful crew who couldn’t have been nicer to us, at a time when we really needed something to smile about. And thank you to Alice’s Tea Cup for putting up with the interruption during filming and providing us with great food. We’ll be back!
Warm Soft Chocolate Cake (Lava Cakes)
From “Alice’s Tea Cup”
makes four servings
- 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 2 whole eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray four individual 4-ounce pyrex cups (or aluminum baking cups) with cooking spray or coat with butter. Dust with flour.
- In a medium glass bowl, melt the butter and chocolate in a microwave oven or in a water bath or double boiler. Mix thoroughly until you have a shiny chocolate sauce.
- In a large bowl, use a mixer to beat the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar until thick. Add the chocolate/butter mixture and beat until thick. With the mixer running, add the 1 tablespoon flour.
- Divide the mixture evenly among the prepared baking cups and bake for 11 minutes. Watch the time carefully.
- Turn each container upside down onto the center of a serving plate and slowly lift to reveal the cake.
You can prepare these ahead of time and bake later. Cover the filled baking cups and refrigerate up to three days. Then bake the chilled cups for 13 minutes.
Or, cover the filled baking cups and freeze. Take them from the freezer and bake for 19 minutes if you want it to look like the one in the lower photos, or for only 17 minutes, if you want it to have more “ooze.”