It seems like every decade has a food fad in the dessert arena.  In the 70’s it was the flourless chocolate cake, in the 80’s it was chocolate mousse cake, the 90’s had tiramisu and in the 2000’s it seems to be the chocolate lava cake.  They still seem to show up on every dessert menu at every restaurant you go to.  I have never been especially fond of them.  To me, they always just seemed like under-baked chocolate cake and I was always tempted to ask the server to put it back in the oven for a few minutes.  I have to say that I found these cakes strangely lacking.  I don’t know what it was but they seemed rather bland and flat to me.  I used a high quality brand name chocolate and good quality butter and fresh eggs but these just fell flat.  I doubt I will ever make them again.  As I have said here many many time, as I get older my tolerance for this much chocolate has just gone down and I find I just don’t enjoy these rich chocolate desserts as much as I once did.  At any rate, they seemed easy enough and I had all the ingredients on hand so with a few hours to spare I headed into the kitchen to make these little morsels.  Let’s bake…. 

It seems to me that the more I bake from this book, the more irritated I get with Rose’s penchant for inventing silly gimmicks to try to hide the fact that this is just another version of some already been done recipe.  I find it so irritating that she does that instead of just presenting the tried and true method for doing something that belongs in the standard dessert repertoire and being finished with it.  Instead, she invents these silly gimmicks which usually end up taking more time than the standard method and always leave me scratching my head in wonderment.  This time I totally ignored all of her instructions for making these ganache centers.  Let’s face it, all we are really doing here is making a chocolate truffle without the butter.  All this silliness with lining and egg crate and then letting them sit to harden and you still have to shape them by hand.  I’m really surprised she didn’t have us dragging out the food processor yet again.  I just made ganache in my own way, put it in the refrigerator to firm and then when I needed it, I scooped balls out with a melon baller and plopped then in the center of the batter before putting the cakes in the oven.  End of story.  Sorry Rose, I love you but please cease with all these gimmicks. 

The ganache ready to go in the refrigerator

For the cake batter, it was really simple.  

Chocolate, eggs and sugar. All you need

Melt chocolate, cocoa and butter in a double boiler, whisk egg yolks and creme fraiche together and then whisk them into the cooled chocolate with a bit of egg white.  

The chocolate ready for it's egg whites

Beat the rest of the egg whites until foamy, add sugar and beat until stiff.  Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and spoon into the molds.  Add the ganache centers to the batter and bake.

Ready to go in the oven

 Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees.  Cool for 20 minutes in the molds, then unmold and allow to cool completely.  

Just out of the oven

When ready to serve, place each cake on a serving dish and reheat for a few minutes.  Enjoy. 



Next Up:  Many-Splendored Quick Bread