Winter-Spiced Molten Chocolate Cakes with Rum-Ginger Ice Cream

This is a guest post and recipe from my dear friend, Jenny Karstad. Jenny is a phenomenal cook and baker, and a truly lovely person.

Happy Valentine’s! Or Christmas! Or Presidents’ Day! Really, there is no bad time of year (in the winter anyway) for these amazing, wonderful, tasty, and above all, impressive lava cakes. I read somewhere a few years ago someone complaining that “every restaurant in New York has a lava cake offering” or some such, said in a derisive way; a dessert that may have been impressive once but had gone the way of the Baked Alaska or the Floating Island.

For these people I say balderdash! Poppycock! I have served these several times now, and despite the fact that they are just about the easiest thing to make, people are still impressed, and don’t seem to mind they are now ‘out of fashion’. By now, of course, you have probably realized that most people who don’t cook or bake much are impressed by anything homemade. I do hope that in the future, people will be doing more home baking and cooking so that bakers and chefs will have to try that much harder to impress their friends and families. Having said that, let’s just go forward on the assumption that people are going to be impressed by anything that is a) chocolate, b) made at home, and c) full of ingredients that you’ll need to make them guess at. This recipe has all these things, all wrapped up in a delicious 3/4-cup ramekin. One could even have a little contest to see if everyone can guess all the spices.

Continue reading for the Winter-Spiced Molten Chocolate Cakes with Rum-Ginger Ice Cream recipe

Winter-Spiced Molten Chocolate Cakes with Rum-Ginger Ice Cream
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Bon Appetit, January 2004
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 18 mins
Total time: 33 mins
Serves: 8
A river of chocolate lava wrapped in richly-spiced chocolate cake, with boozy ginger ice cream.
  • Ice Cream
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
  • 2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • Cakes
  • 14 ounces best quality (Callebaut or Valrhona) bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 6 large eggs
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • Garnish
  • Additional powdered sugar
  • Crystallized ginger strips
Ice Cream
  1. Place softened ice cream in medium bowl. Using plastic spatula, fold ginger and rum into ice cream.
  2. Transfer to airtight container. Freeze ice cream mixture until firm, about 4 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep frozen.)
  1. Generously butter eight 3/4-cup soufflé dishes.
  2. Stir chocolate, butter, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and white pepper in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Cool slightly.
  3. Whisk eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla in large bowl to blend. Whisk in 3 cups powdered sugar, then chocolate mixture, then flour.
  4. Transfer batter to prepared dishes, filling to top and dividing equally. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
  5. Preheat oven to 425°F. Bake cakes until batter has risen above dish, top edges are dark brown, and centers are still soft and runny, about 15 minutes, or about 18 minutes for refrigerated batter.
  6. Run small knife around cakes to loosen. Allow cakes to rest in dishes 5 minutes. Using hot pad and holding dish very firmly, place plate gently atop 1 cake and invert onto plate. Repeat with remaining cakes. Dust with powdered sugar. Top with crystallized ginger. Serve cakes with rum-ginger ice cream.

Now, the nice thing about this recipe is that if you are not having 8 people over for dessert, you can save these for up to about a week in the fridge, and bake them as you have need. I suppose you could freeze them too; just make sure you thaw them a bit before baking.

It’s helpful to put the ramekins on a baking sheet for easier transport in and out of the oven. The 5 minute resting period is also essential, as the cakes can prematurely ooze if you don’t let them do this. And who wants premature ooze anyway??

Try to make sure you have the freshest spices possible; grinding your own is preferable. Buying pre-ground cardamom (for example) is next to useless because it loses its potency very quickly. I often use a mortar and pestle first, then transfer the entire amount of cardamom, coriander, and pepper to a coffee grinder or spice grinder to make sure they are ground quite fine. The cloves and cinnamon do not need to be ground any finer than what you get at the store (and for some reason, you can buy pre-ground cinnamon and cloves and they do keep their potency).

One more thing; what to do with all those leftover egg whites? Macaroons, of course!

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