Almost-Famous Molten Chocolate Cake

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 45 min
  • Prep: 1 hr 15 min
  • Cook: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

For the Cakes:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 tablespoons melted, 4 tablespoons at room temperature)

1/2 cup natural (not Dutch-process) cocoa powder, plus more for dusting

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 large eggs, at room temperature

For the Fillings and Toppings:

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Caramel sauce, for drizzling

1 pint vanilla ice cream

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Make the cakes: Brush four 1 1/4-cup brioche molds (or use 10-ounce ramekins or jumbo muffin cups) with the 2 tablespoons melted butter. Dust the molds with cocoa powder and tap out the excess.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Bring the milk and 3/4 cup water to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat; set aside.
  3. Combine the vegetable oil, 4 tablespoons room-temperature butter and the sugar in a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the bowl and beater as needed. Add 1/2 cup cocoa powder and the vanilla; beat 1 minute on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl. Add 1 egg and beat 1 minute on medium-low speed, then add the remaining egg and beat 1 more minute.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the flour mixture, then the hot milk mixture. Finish mixing the batter with a rubber spatula until combined. Divide the batter evenly among the molds, filling each slightly more than three-quarters of the way.
  5. Transfer the molds to a baking sheet and bake until the tops of the cakes are domed and the centers are just barely set, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack; let the cakes cool until they pull away from the molds, about 30 minutes.
  6. How To Assemble the Cake:
  7. Make the Filling: Microwave the chocolate, cream, butter and corn syrup in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second intervals, stirring each time, until the chocolate starts to melt, 1 minute, 30 seconds. Let sit 3 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Reheat before using, if necessary.
  8. Use the tip of a paring knife to gently loosen the cakes from the molds, then invert the cakes onto a cutting board.
  9. Use the knife to cut a 1 1/2-inch circle on the top of each cake, cutting almost to the bottom.
  10. Hollow out the cake with a spoon; save the scraps. Wrap the cakes with plastic wrap and microwave until steaming, 1 minute.
  11. Drizzle plates with caramel, then unwrap the cakes and place on top. Pour about 3 tablespoons filling into each cake.
  12. Plug the hole with a cake scrap. Save or discard any remaining scraps.
  13. Top each cake with a scoop of ice cream. Spoon more chocolate sauce on top, spreading it thin so it hardens into a shell.
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