Are they chocolate MI-CUIT (which means half-baked) cakes ? Chocolate LAVA or MOLTEN cakes (as we like to say in North America) ? Or GATEAUX AU COEUR COULANT (which means cakes with a runny & flowing center) ? Chocolate MOELLEUX (which means soft & tender) cakes ? But they’re not really chocolate FONDANT (which means quite dense and melting in your mouth but not on your plates) cakes ! All of these characteristics and descriptions depend on the ingredients, the baking temperature, the amount of baking time and of course, whether you decide to serve them warm from the oven or at room temperature or even slightly chilled.
I simply (or perhaps not that simply) call them CREAMY & SOFT-CENTERED CHOCOLATE CAKES …
I was surprised at the number of these cakes that appeared on the web for Valentine’s day and I thought I’d give it a whirl by modifying an already relatively simple recipe to make it fool-proof and slightly less dense and heavy, but just as good (maybe even better).
My version, which is an attempted simplification, with absolutely no flour and equal volumes of each main ingredient, uses a somewhat different approach, making it crispy on the outside, airy and tender around the middle, and soft and gooey in the center, and remaining that way even days after sitting on the counter (and I mean uncovered too).
It uses an oven-heated icing sugar and room-temperature egg white meringue that is later slowly incorporated to the melted chocolate and butter and egg yolk mixture, resulting in an airier and fluffier mixture yet particularly moist without being too liquid in the middle and formless.
The equal volumes make it easy to scale up or scale down, which implies that for each egg used (approximately equivalent to ¼ cup) you’ll need ¼ cup each of chocolate, butter and icing sugar, with just a touch of salt and some extra cocoa powder.
Another trick is to prepare the fillings (which is entirely optional) as flatter and wider frozen disks instead of using a square of chocolate or soft caramel or a few teaspoons of fruit jam or lemon curd (which is my favorite). This works best (even at room temperature) if you decide not to serve the baked cakes hot or warm from the oven. The idea is to use a filling that is naturally softer at room temperature, to form them and to freeze the fillings in order to harden them and then to coat the frozen filling disks with cocoa powder before inserting them in the batter (so they don’t stick to your fingers nor sink to the bottom of the cake batter). This will guarantee a soft gooey center at whatever temperature you decide to serve them.
AND THAT’S MY CHOCOLATEY STORY . . . :)