I first made this recipe a few years when friends were joining us for a dinner at our home. I found it in Baking Illustrated. It was so good and easy to make ahead that I have used it at a few catered events since. This is a great recipe.
Because March is what I like to call “birthday month,” it is an appropriate time to post this recipe (and to make this cake). I have an amazing number of Pisces friends as well as a few on the cusp on either end. In addition, my birthday is in March, and I love dark chocolate.
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), plus extra for ramekins
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon table salt
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for ramekins*
Confectioners’ sugar or unsweetened cocoa powder for decoration, optional
Whipped cream for serving, optional
* If you are following a gluten-free diet, you can use gluten-free flour, or omit it all together in the recipe and use a pan spray of your choice.
Beat eggs, yolk, vanilla, salt, and sugar on high speed in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment until the volume nearly triples, the color is very light, and the mixture drops from the beaters in a smooth, thick stream. This will take about 5 minutes.
(Alternatively, beat for 10 minutes using a hand-held electric mixer and a large mixing bowl.)
At this point, the batter can be covered lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 8 hours before baking. If you choose to make the batter ahead, allow 30 minutes for it to return to room temperature before putting ramekins in the oven.
Run a paring knife around the inside edge of each ramekin to loosen cake and invert onto serving plates; cool for 1 minute and lift off ramekins. Sieve a light sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar or cocoa powder over cakes to decorate, if desired, and serve immediately with optional whipped cream.
You can substitute 5 ounces of unsweetened baking chocolate for the semisweet if necessary, but you’ll also need to increase the sugar by 6 tablespoons, for a total of 7/8 cup.
To melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave oven, heat chocolate alone at 50 percent power for 2 minutes; stir chocolate, add butter, and continue heating at 50 percent for another 2 minutes, stopping to stir after 1 minute. If chocolate is not yet entirely melted, heat an additional 30 seconds at 50 percent power.