From ganache to molten chocolate cakelets

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“I wonder what would happen if…”. This is a question I often ask when I think about food. This afternoon, this question took David Lebovitz’s salted butter chocolate sauce into the oven and returned with a plateful of oozy, molten lava-like cakelets, or fondants.

Ever since I made David Lebovitz’s salted butter chocolate sauce for the Tuesdays with Dorie profiteroles (and added star anise), I’ve been thinking about that sauce. It was rich, had tiny flecks of saltiness and savoury-aromatic five spice, flirting with dark chocolate and butter. We don’t eat much ice cream around the house, so I found myself digging into that sauce with a spoon. Straight from the fridge, it was a smooth ganache that melts on the tongue to leave me wanting more.

But, one can only eat chocolate ganache for a snack so many times before, well, it starts to seem excessive. So I began to think about other ways to have my star-anise salted-butter chocolate sauce and eat it too.

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Then, an idea popped into my head, niggling, like a chocolate ganache ear worm – “what if I turned the chocolate sauce into a chocolate fondant or lava cake?”

The ear worm stayed with me during the week and prompted me to look into recipes for chocolate fondant, lava cake, molten chocolate cake. Finally, I went back to FX Cuisine (one of the first food blogs I became obsessed with, before I knew blogging was an online publishing genre), and saw an elaborate recipe for chocolate raspberry moelleux, from Pierre Hermé, no less. It requires the baker to add pieces of frozen raspberry ganache and dollops of the best raspberry jam into the cake batter, so that the finished cake will reveal a centre of warm, sweet-tart, liquid raspberry. And the ear worm became a full fledged idea.

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I whipped up egg and yolk until light and frothy, folded in some room temperature ganache, and a small amount of cocoa powder and flour. The rest of the chocolate sauce was placed into the freezer for 10 minutes until it became very firm.

In chocolate-raspberry moelleux fashion, I filled miniature muffin trays with cake batter, made round-ish quenelles of chocolate ganache, pushed the quenelles into the cake batter, and covered it with a little more batter. The mini muffins / cakelets / moelleux went into a hot oven for about 10 minutes, until they were just puffed up but had not yet collapsed in the centre.

One cakelet broke on the way from the muffin tray onto the plate, and a little puddle of chocolate sauce appeared.

1) I am so clumsy.
2) It worked!!!

Even though it was nothing like morning tea time, I plated up warm cakelet with roasted strawberries and strawberry syrup, and savoured the moment.

Because the centre of the cakes have a dollop of pure ganache, they are almost guaranteed to remain liquid when the cake is baked and set. This may just become my chocolate fondant shortcut from now, and if anyone asks, I’m just making Pierre Hermé’s moelleux. And the ganache remains thickly oozing at room temperature, so we can serve the cakelets to unexpected afternoon guests.

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Molten chocolate cakelets 

Since it was an experiment, I can’t promise exact fool-proof measures, but here’s what I did. Makes 12 cakelets with plenty of ganache left over.

Ingredients

Chocolate sauce (from David Lebovitz)

1 cup (250ml) milk
6 tbsp (85g) salted butter, cubed
1/4 cup (45g) packed light brown sugar
8 ounces (230g) semisweet chocolate (I used 70%), chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp flaky sea salt

Cakelets

2 eggs
2 egg yolks
2 tbsps cocoa powder
2.5 tbsps AP / plain flour, sifted (or stirred with a whisk briefly)
Optional: sprinkling of fragrant (ie, not stale) five spice powder

Method

1. For the chocolate sauce: heat the milk, butter, and brown sugar in a saucepan until it begins to steam. Remove from heat and add the chocolate, vanilla, and salt, stirring gently until the chocolate is melted and the sauce is smooth.

2. Cool sauce to room temperature, and roughly divide in half. Put one half aside, and place the other half into the fridge while you make the cake batter.

3. For the cakelets: pre-heat the oven to 200C / 400F. whisk the eggs and yolks in a food processor until it is frothy. Fold in almost all of the room temperature ganache (I only used about 80% of the ganache that I had set aside, but you could probably use all of it), stir until no streaks remain. Sift or stir together the cocoa powder and flour, and gently fold into the mixture in a figure-of-8 motion, be careful to keep all that air in the batter.

4. Butter miniature muffin pans (you could use cupcake pans, just slightly increase the baking time), remove the ganache from the freezer. It should be very firm, but can still be scooped out with a spoon.

5. Spoon or pipe cake batter into miniature muffin pan until 2/3 full. Form round quenelles of ganache from the freezer portion, and gently push it into the batter. Top with more cake batter until the quenelles are just covered. Try to increase the ganache-to-batter ratio, but be careful the cake will leak if the walls are too thin.

6. Bake the cakelets until they are just puffed. This took about 12 minutes, but may take up to 15 minutes or longer if you are using larger pans.

7. Take the pan out of the oven, run a knife around the edge of each cakelet. After the cakelets have cooled a little, place a plate over the pan (tarte tatin style) and invert cakelets onto the plate. Dust with a little five spice powder to finish. 

Serve: with strawberries, raspberries, or something else that cuts through the rich cakelets.

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34 thoughts on “From ganache to molten chocolate cakelets

  1. garethhevans 29 September 2013 at 6:01 am Reply

    Delicious, the flowers are nice too! 🙂

    • saucygander 30 September 2013 at 7:59 am Reply

      Thanks, it’s spring wattle flowering season here and I couldn’t resist. 🙂

      • garethhevans 1 October 2013 at 3:25 am

        I thought I recognised them. They flower in the local botanic garden greenhouse!

  2. Jody and Ken 29 September 2013 at 6:15 am Reply

    “…snack before it seems, well. excessive…” Really? You think? The cakes look fabulous. Ken

    • saucygander 30 September 2013 at 8:00 am Reply

      Maybe not if there is an extra dose of kale salad!

  3. Liz 29 September 2013 at 9:17 am Reply

    oh my goodness gracious–that looks so crazy good. Brilliance on your part for sure. From sauce to lava cake. Wow!

    • saucygander 30 September 2013 at 8:01 am Reply

      It’s like two desserts from one! Now if only I can make mousse or panna cotta from the sauce too..

  4. yummychunklet 29 September 2013 at 10:20 am Reply

    Looks insanely good!

  5. johnnysenough hepburn 29 September 2013 at 12:27 pm Reply

    I’d never heard of lava cakes until fairly recently. Perhaps they’re not a big thing over here. But then, I’ve never been a big fan of desserts. Until I started baking. And really want to try something like this. Seriously? Only 2.5 tbsp of flour. Huh. I just made a wonderful chocolate pudding last night with only 50g and it turned out far better than expected. Still learning!

    • saucygander 30 September 2013 at 10:23 am Reply

      The texture was more mousse than cake, but I was also surprised it held up so well, maybe it was a fluke – hence my disclaimer!! 🙂

      But then I’ve made brownies that don’t use any flour, and just seem to rely on eggs and baking powder to aerate the mixture and give it body. So…worth a try?

      • johnnysenough hepburn 30 September 2013 at 11:07 am

        It fascinates me as to how things bake, and keep together. I’ve just made chocolate crackle cookies for the first time, and those used very little flour. They’ve turned out really well (even though my oven must be running hot), so I’ll definitely try these at some stage. I just have to get through the three chocolate recipes I’ve made over the weekend already! Hmm, a tad excessive perhaps!

      • saucygander 2 October 2013 at 9:59 pm

        Chocolate is never excessive! Would be interested to hear more about your baking.

  6. rubytheblacklabrador 29 September 2013 at 7:52 pm Reply

    oooooo 🙂

  7. Baking With Gab 29 September 2013 at 11:01 pm Reply

    This looks delicious!

    • saucygander 30 September 2013 at 10:26 am Reply

      Thanks! They were all eaten. 🙂

  8. Marios 30 September 2013 at 2:19 am Reply

    I love the combo of five spice and chocolate!

    • saucygander 30 September 2013 at 10:27 am Reply

      Yes! it’s surprising, but really good. I’ve also heard of five spice scented financiers, also want to try them.

  9. Riddhi 30 September 2013 at 4:45 am Reply

    These look absolutely divine!!

    • saucygander 30 September 2013 at 10:27 am Reply

      Thanks! A good way to indulge on Saturday afternoon. 🙂

  10. lemongrovecakediaries 30 September 2013 at 9:32 am Reply

    I have been meaning to try that chocolate sauce ever since DL posted it. Great idea for the lava cakes…I like how your mind works 🙂

    • saucygander 30 September 2013 at 10:29 am Reply

      The chocolate sauce is really simple, fool proof, definitely try it! I think the lava cake worked because DL’s proportions are just spot on. I’d love to see him in action!

  11. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella 30 September 2013 at 11:47 am Reply

    Well done Daisy! I love the liquidy centre-it’s pure food porn! 😀

    • saucygander 2 October 2013 at 10:00 pm Reply

      Thanks! I was glad to get the liquid centre shot!

  12. Anne ~ Uni Homemaker 30 September 2013 at 6:08 pm Reply

    Holy moly, that looks amazing! I’ll gladly eat this all by myself. I’ll even have seconds. 🙂 Looks gorgeous!

    • saucygander 2 October 2013 at 10:02 pm Reply

      We had seconds! They we’re small so we didn’t feel too bad about the indulgence. 🙂

  13. Ada ~ More Food, Please 1 October 2013 at 9:15 am Reply

    This looks so delicious! The plating is beautiful too 🙂

  14. ctw24 1 October 2013 at 11:42 am Reply

    This looks fantastic! Definitely going to have to try it!

    • saucygander 2 October 2013 at 10:11 pm Reply

      Hi there and thanks for stopping by, I’m so glad you liked this post!

  15. a French girl "cuisine" 3 October 2013 at 2:18 am Reply

    I love the colors! What kind of plant are they? Don’t remember have seen that before.

  16. Tea with Erika 5 October 2013 at 5:18 am Reply

    I licked the screen but it tasted like plastic… Seriously, I’m drooling! 8)

  17. Tina @ Tina's Chic Corner 5 October 2013 at 6:24 am Reply

    That’s awesome that your experiment gave you such an awesome result! I’m a chocoholic so I’m pretty much drooling over my keyboard. 😉 Looks delish and pretty. 🙂

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