Ah, Paris – is it the city of light or the city of love? I can never remember.
What I do remember about Paris is the food… and the Mona Lisa… but mainly the food.
As a preteen, I was lucky enough to travel to France with my family. My mom would truck us through tourist traps and even some seedy areas like the Moulin Rouge. There I saw my first prostitute! My brother would insist we sit in the park and watch pickup soccer, hoping he’d get a chance to tag in. Me? I had one request. Get me the chocolate cake at the Welcome Café.
We stumbled upon the Welcome Café on one of those perfect Paris nights. Our feet raw from walking, knees sore from cobblestone trekking, my brother and I about to pitch a fit (as kids do) about being tired. It was close to our hotel, had open tables, and a cute little bistro feel. Why not?
I don’t remember the dinner – my prepubescent taste buds could only register and react to one thing – CHOCOLATE. At the time I didn’t have the vocabulary to describe the sensation I was experiencing. Frankly, I am surprised my little noggin didn’t explode.
This cake was perfect. It was warm and soft and gooey in the center. It was dark, rich, and just damn deep. Eating it was like a spiritual awakening, like a first kiss, correction – a great first kiss, like seeing your favorite group live from the front row, or firing a confetti gun into a crowd of people cheering your name.
I’ve pumped this one up a lot, haven’t I?
Truth is, this cake, this moment, made me take pastry seriously. On that day, any dreams of becoming an astronaut or news anchor or a veterinarian were obliterated. I knew I wanted to be in the business of baked goods. Sometimes I think that this cake was the first domino to drop in my pursuit of professional pastry production. It is one of the reasons I went to culinary school, worked as a pastry chef, and still dream of opening my own bakery (but that stays between you and me. Got it?)
So here it is, the Moelleux au Chocolat! Make it, eat it, love it, live it.
Measure out your stuff. Butter 6 ramekins. Lay a circle of parchment in the bottom of each ramekin and then butter that parchment.
Chop that chocolate!!!
Put chopped chocolate, butter, salt, and coffee powder in a heatproof bowl. Place over a sauce pan of simmering water to melt. Set aside and cool slightly.
In a separate bowl, combine eggs and sugar.
Beat eggs and sugar until pale and thick. The mixture should form “ribbons” when it falls back on itself.
Add flour to egg and sugar mixture.
Add melted chocolate and look at that swirlllllll.
Mix until chocolate is fully incorporated.
Scoop batter into prepared ramekins, filling them nearly to the top, leaving about 1/4 an inch. Refrigerate batter for up to an hour.
When you are ready to serve, preheat your oven to 400° F.
Place ramekins on a sheet tray and in the preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes until the top is just set. The inside will be very gooey. Let sit for 5 minutes before turning out on to a plate and serving.
Look at that molten, gooey, warm, oozing, chocolatety, sexy center!!!
Here’s my recipe!
Warm Chocolate Cakes
2/3 a cup of butter, cut into cubes
4 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of instant coffee powder
2/3 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of flour
Measure out all ingredients. Butter six ramekins, lay a circle of parchment in the bottom of each ramekin and butter the parchment. Set aside.
Place cubed butter, chopped chocolate, salt and coffee in a medium-sized bowl. Place the bowl over a sauce pan of simmering water and melt the chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth.
Once the chocolate and butter have melted, set the mixture aside.
Place the eggs and sugar in a large bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat the the eggs and sugar until they are pale and thick. The eggs should make “ribbons” and fall back on itself.
Add the flour to the egg and sugar and mix in until incorporated.
Then add the melted chocolate.
Scoop the batter into the prepared ramekins filling nearly to the top, leaving about 1/4 an inch of clearance.
Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400° F.
When you are ready to serve, remove ramekins from fridge and place on a sheet tray. Put in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes until the tops are just set and the insides are still very gooey. Remove from oven and let sit for five minutes before turning out onto a plate.
If they need help getting out, carefully run a knife around the edges before flipping.
Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!