I have more of a salty than a sweet tooth, which my partner in crime at work, Gayle, just can’t seem to fathom. If I had to choose between lightly salted crisps, and a chocolate bar, I’ll almost always reach for the bag of chips. And similarly if you offered me a plate of sliced Sunday roast topped with rich gravy and crispy potatoes, creamed spinach and butternut OR any kind of dessert, 90% of the time I would grab the savoury dish. But I do have a few sweet weaknesses and one of these is the delectable chocolate lava cake. If you ever needed to bribe me, be sure to buy me a jar of grilled & marinated artichoke hearts, some freshly sliced Parma ham or a lovely, wobbly, warm molten chocolate cake.
Last year I mentioned the absolutely to die for chocolate lava cake we love having at The Wok Box (Restaurant Review #1: Green Parrot), and I also posted a pic of the very indulgent version purchased from Chateaux Gateaux in Gateway Shopping Centre. So I thought since this is like my sweet weakness, it was about time that I stop paying so much money for a dessert that is made of such simple household ingredients, and start trying to make it at home myself. I’ll admit that I usually avoid doing any baking myself because I haven’t had the best of luck in the past. That’s probably because I have an inability to stick to a recipe. It’s a problem. I know. And to make this task even more daunting, people have told me, and I’ve read, that these little fondants are very difficult to get just right. I hate failed dishes. They almost always bring tears to my eyes. And that’s why I usually rely on my trusty talented husband to make anything that requires lots of patience or attention to recipe detail like sauce stirring, jam making, caramelizing and dessert baking. But time to step out of the comfort zone, and challenge myself to make a dessert I absolutely adore, all by myself, by stringently sticking to the recipe.
I have tweaked the original recipe from one of my previously mentioned, favourite sites taste.com.au It was super easy to make, and had JUST the right balance of sweetness and bitterness that only dark chocolate can evoke, coupled with a perfect, warm, gooey centre. But watch that oven timer. The amount of time your dessert spends in the oven will determine whether you get a dry, cooked through cake, a runny mess, or the desired fluffy, moist outer cake with a soft, molten centre.
I hope you love the outcome just as much as we did. And if you’ve never had one of these babies before, once you try it, you’ll understand why a Frenchman and an American have been fighting over who invented it since 1987.
Recipe (makes 4 fondants):
- 4 oven-proof ramekins (I got some really cute ones from Clicks recently)
- 90g Albany dark chocolate (roughly chopped)
- 125g butter (cubed) + extra butter (for greasing)
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup castor sugar
- 1/8 cup plain flour (sifted) + extra flour (for dusting)
- 250 ml Woolworths double cream (for serving)
- Cocoa powder for (dusting)
- Bring a pot with 1.5 – 2cm high water to the boil, then turn down to a simmer
- Balance a glass bowl on top of the pot ensuing that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the top of the water. At this point, also make sure that the water does not start boiling too rapidly.
- Add your butter cubes and chopped chocolate to the bowl. Allow to melt, stirring occasionally to spread the warmth around and prevent the chocolate getting too hot.
- When the butter and chocolate are completely melted and combined, carefully take the hot bowl off the pot and place on a heatproof surface to cool. After 10 minutes, I placed the bowl in the freezer to speed up the cooling process. You can also leave it in the fridge if it is a cold day. Just make sure it doesn’t get too cold. Room temperature or slightly cooler is good.
- Grease the ramekins with the remaining butter and lightly sprinkle with flour
- Using an electric beater, beat the eggs and sugar for 8 – 10 minutes or until thick & creamy.
- Fold in the chocolate mixture, then the flour.
- Split the mixture evenly between the 4 ramekins and freeze for 1 hour
- 15 minutes before the ramekins are done in the freezer, preheat the oven to 200°c (180°c if fan-assisted)
- Place ramekins on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 12 – 18 mins. Keep a close eye on them and definitely use a timer. When they are done, they will still be wobbly when touched, and still a bit runny or soft on the top in the centre.
- Remove from the oven and let stand for 1 minute
- Place a side plate over each ramekin and carefully turn upside down to release the fondant.
- Spoon a few rolls of double cream onto each plate, and using a sieve, dust each fondant with cocoa powder
- Serve, and enjoy!