Many of you have long known this about me: if I get an idea into my head, I probably won’t let go of it until I’ve managed to turn it into some modicum of reality.
Such was the case when I rolled a batch of Christmas Carol Truffles (single-origin Ivory Coast dark chocolate with spices and brandy-soaked blueberries) for some friends. Around the time I was working in the kitchen, I had an old issue of Gourmet magazine open on the kitchen table and the page was turned to a Ghirardelli ad featuring a recipe for a molten chocolate cake – which essentially called for a dark chocolate cake batter with a whole frozen truffle stuck within.
A number of people have told me either that I couldn’t do it or they told me not to do it. (What in blazes are these people thinking?!?) According to them, home cooks (translation: amateurs) like me have no business baking such complicated things. Well, seeing how I recently made a personal commitment not to listen to these morons, I barrelled on ahead and whipped something up.
Admittedly, this is not a recipe for people who are either faint of heart, who give up easily, or happen to be short on patience. The thing here, you see, is to prepare a dozen truffles before preparing the batter. It would be easy, of course, to use someone else’s truffles or to use Sachi Nama (or, God forbid this abomination, Royce [eww!]) cubes. However, making molten chocolate cake, in my opinion, calls for a certain level of dedication on the part of the baker. It calls for a commitment to the idea that one tried to do something particularly difficult and did it well.
The recipe I used here was the standard one I use for my Torta della Strega but with some slight tweaking. If you decide to do this, let me be quick to assure you that the effort is all worth it.
Incidentally, once you’ve filled up twelve medium-sized muffin cups with batter (and truffles), you’ll have quite a bit extra. I suggest that you pour this into another muffin tin and top them with some chopped praline-filled milk chocolate. I used the tail end of a Lindt Pistachio bar here, but you can use Ritter Sport Praline or even Toblerone Milk if you’ve a mind for it.
Either way, these cupcakes are just plain fabulous and are excellent for packing into pretty boxes as Holiday gifts. (Yes, with Christmas coming up, you’ll need all the homemade gift suggestions you can get. 😉 )
Luscious Dark Choc Batter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
- 1-3/4 cups granulated white sugar
- 1/4 cup salted butter
- 1/4 cup margarine
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1-1/3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon dark rum
Melt together the chocolate, butter, and margarine in microwave for a minute on high. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter mixture with the sugar until creamy-textured and well-incorporated. Whisk in the eggs, vanilla, and rum. Pour in the water and mix till well combined. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix until a smooth batter is achieved.
To make the cupcakes:
- 12 dark chocolate truffles
- 1/4 cup finely chopped praline milk chocolate
Line two medium-sized twelve-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees / Gas Mark 4.
Pour a tablespoon and a half of batter into twelve of the muffin cups. Press in 1 chocolate truffle in each cup. Cover with an additional tablespoon and a half of batter. Bake for 18 – 20 minutes.
Pour the remaining batter into the other baking tin. Scatter the chopped chocolate evenly over the cups. Bake for fifteen minutes.
To serve, you can eat the praline cupcakes as is. The molten cakes, on the other hand, should be inverted onto serving plates immediately.
Makes 12 molten chocolate babycakes and 12 pistachio praline cupcakes.