My friend, L, is one of the most wonderful people I have ever had the pleasure of being around. She left today to move back down to Southern California, and I cannot believe how much I will miss her! Upon starting this blog, I had some friends that would only read my posts if I asked them to, but I also had some that encouraged me constantly to keep the blog going. She was one of the latter. Once L caught wind of this little side hobby of mine, she persisted on us sharing food experiences together and would send me links to places she thought I’d be interested in. She’s seriously the best!! Between her finishing up school and me working full-time, we were so busy that it was hard to find a time to actually cook/bake a single meal together (pathetic, right?!). But it didn’t stop us from trying. And after some group BBQs, potlucks and other social gatherings, we finally found a time last week to get together, catch up on our lives, and whip up some great food. Better late than never, right?
We made fettucini with clam sauce, but more importantly…mini chocolate lava cakes! Don’t get me wrong, the pasta was delicious, as L and I are huge seafood fans but the lava cakes were a dish to remember. They were warm and rich with an even richer chocolate center that oozed out on your first bite. We made a dozen of them and had to call in reinforcements to help eat all of them! The best part of the night though was when the rest of the crew came over, ate their share of lava cake, and then prepared themselves to help me photograph the lava cake. Mind you, I have a strong group of friends that are foodies themselves, and the group that came over happened to be ohhh, about 98.99% of them. I loved every moment of it! Everyone had such wonderful and creative input on how we should plate the dessert as well as great suggestions regarding the issue of making sure the ice cream would stay intact while we were photographing! And as I (panicked more than the others) took the plate with ice cream out of the freezer, the time crunch to snap the perfect picture began!! As they were directing me to stand on the stool to get a better angle of the dish, I misinterpreted it and put the entire dish on the stool. Then we attempted to cut the cake in half but we waited too long so it had pretty much cooked through and the chocolate in the middle wasn’t as runny anymore (so make sure you eat them right as they come out of the oven!). L insisted that we could fix it and started melting some chocolate. It actually kind of worked! Take a look:
And then everyone started using their own creativity to “liven up the plate”. That turned bad all too quickly. I don’t have a picture of our magnificent final product, but here’s just the beginning of what resulted in 7 foodaholics’ attempting to make lava cake and chocolate look “pretty”…along with ice cream that was melting at an incredible rate. And yes, even though it looked like a 10 year old could have done what we ended up with (which was chocolate all over the plate in various patterns), we are all 20-somethings and proud of our work!! :) Then we ate our creation. Win-win.
To add to the awesomeness of this recipe, it only takes a mere 9 minutes to bake! Pile on some vanilla ice cream next to it, invite your friends over, and you’ve got yourself a perfect evening! These little treasures are probably some of the most wonderful desserts I’ve had in a while, but the time spent making them and taking pictures of them was priceless. I am so thankful for my great group of friends. Come back and visit soon, L!
Mini Chocolate Lava Cakes (adapted from Alton Brown’s Recipe)
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 stick butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs
- Butter, to coat muffin tin
- cocoa powder to dust the cupcake tin (a couple teaspoon)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place a small metal bowl over a saucepan with simmering water. Melt the chocolate and butter in the bowl. Stir in vanilla.
In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour and salt. Sift these into the chocolate and mix well with electric hand mixer. Add eggs one at time, fully incorporating each egg before adding the next. Beat at high until batter is creamy and lightens in color, approximately 4 minutes. Chill mixture.
Coat the top and each cup of the cupcake tin with butter. Dust the inside of the cups with the cocoa powder and shake out excess. Spoon mixture into tins dividing them evenly among the 12 cupcake cups. Bake for about 9 minutes. The time really depends on your oven though, and you don’t want them to overcook! Outsides should be cake-like and centers should be gooey.
Remember to eat them right away so you get the proper molten center!