Yesterday after our family dinner at a Thai restaurant, my son craved for some desserts and we headed to one of our favourite sweet bar for our sugar dose. We ordered a chocolate lava cake and strangely enough I am at a loss of words to describe how it feels when you take a bite out of a chocolate lava cake on a cold winter evening after your dinner. It is one of the most satisfying feelings. Have you ever wondered why does it feel so good to eat chocolate and why do we have a temptation to eat more of it once we start eating it?
Researchers in San Diego, California have found out that chocolate contains a feel good chemical called anandamide. Normally, this chemical makes our brain persist for longer- in other words giving us a longer lasting “chocolate high”. Chocolate is a compound of cocoa, sugar and cocoa butter in different proportions. Mainly depending on the content of cocoa it can be broadly classified as dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate. As a kid I loved the white chocolate because it was the sweeter of them all but now I prefer dark bitter chocolate.
Also you must have heard everyone say that eating chocolate is not good for you! Don eat too much of it!, but the fact is that chocolate is harmless to your teeth. The problem comes from the sugar in the chocolate products. It makes a sticky substance called play with feeds the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. Numerous studies have shown that eating moderate amount of dark chocolate helps reduce the blood pressure. Chocolate also contains high levels of antioxidant chemicals called phenolic, which prevent fats from causing a buildup of cholesterol.
Talking about chocolate lava cake it has five essential ingredients chocolate, sugar, eggs, flour and butter. There are many recipes for this delicious gooey, sweet chocolate treat. The United States based Chef Jean-George Vongerichten claims to have invented molten chocolate cake in New York City in 1987, but the French chefs dispute this and state that such dish existed in France way before this date.
According to Chef Jean George he pulled a chocolate sponge cake accidentally from the oven before it was done and found out that the centre was still runny, but was warm and tasted good with nice texture. He then worked on the recipe and came up with the chocolate lava cake which was an instant hit in New York and later in entire United States.
The dessert was seen in almost every high end restaurant menu in United States. Practically every restaurant has their own version of the chocolate lava cake recipe. I describe it as the richest miniature chocolate cake you can think of. The key to a perfect chocolate lava cake is to under bake the cake to revel a thick, hot fudge like centre that oozes out when you dig your spoon in. This dessert can also be described as a blend of flourless chocolate cake and chocolate soufflé cake. In the 80s, crème brûlée was in vogue and in the 90s, this dessert was considered as a pinnacle of perfection by pastry chefs and the pastry chefs who mastered this recipe were highly regarded.
Chocolate Lava Cake
Unsalted butter 1/2 cup
Bitter sweet/semi sweet chocolate 120 gm
Eggs 4 nos
Sugar 1/4 cup
Flour 2 tsp
Unsalted butter to butter the molds
Flour to dust the molds
Raspberry ice cream 1 scoop
Strawberry 2-3 nos
Place the butter in a glass bowl and melt it in microwave.
Add chopped chocolate to the hot butter and stir until melted.
Take 2 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks in a separate bowl, add sugar and whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is light and fluffy.
Add egg mixture and 2 tsp flour to the melted chocolate and whisk until combined.
Butter and lightly flour the 4 ounce ramekins or molds, tap out excess flour.
Pour the batter in the lined molds and refrigerate them for upto 3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and place the cake molds on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the cakes have puffed up a bit, the tops are barely set and the cakes still juggle when shaken.
Remove the cake from oven and also to stand for a minute at room temperature.
Place a plate on top of ramekin and carefully invert the cake onto plate, remove the ramekin and serve immediately with ice cream/ sorbet and fresh strawberries.
Note: Make sure you line the molds with butter and flour evenly without leaving any side as you wont be able demold the cake unless it is coated evenly.
* Chef Tarun Kapoor, Culinary Mastermind, USA. He may be contacted at [email protected]
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