Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Molten Chocolate Cakes (Paleo, Gluten-free)


These molten chocolate cakes are ridiculous!  They are rich, adorable, and delicious.  They're the kind of dessert that seems so fancy that it doesn't occur to you to make it at home.  Guess what, though?  These little cakes are super easy.  Spend 15 minutes or less throwing the ingredients together and 15 minutes waiting for them to bake, and you'll have four perfectly-portioned, restaurant-style desserts.  Can you think of a better way to spend half an hour on a dark, cold evening?  I know I can't.

My favorite part about these is all the different layers of chocolatey textures.  The outer edges are crispy, and right next to that is a layer that goes from chocolate cake to gooey brownie as you move toward the center.  Finally, there's the lava--the decadent heart that gives this dessert its name.  To be honest, it's all almost too much.  ALMOST.  I recommend serving these with a little whipped cream or ice cream to balance out the rich chocolate flavor.  I had mine with some vegan pumpkin ice cream, and it was perfect.

These cakes are adapted from Taza Chocolate, and inspired by my visit to Taza's Day of the Dead celebration a few weeks ago.  I also used my new favorite Rodelle extracts in this recipe.  If you don't have chocolate extract, don't worry--your cakes will still be very chocolatey without it.  That being said, you should probably pick some up.  It's really fun to have on hand.

I used a tablespoon of Jamaican rum in this recipe.  You could also try red wine, which is what the original recipe calls for.  Since the center of the cake is not fully cooked, some alcohol might remain after baking.  If that's not your thing, you can use a tablespoon of coffee instead, which will also intensify the chocolate flavor.

I substituted my three favorite gluten-free flours (almond, tapioca, and coconut) for the all-purpose flour in this recipe, and the resulting cakes tasted pretty much exactly like their gluten-laden cousins to me.  This is an ideal recipe to make gluten-free since it calls for such a small amount of flour relative to the total quantity of ingredients.  That means that if you've been wanting to try gluten-free baking but have been worried your desserts would turn out funny, this is a great place to start!  Try serving it to some unsuspecting guests, and I bet they won't notice a thing.


Ingredients (makes four small cakes; adapted from Taza Chocolate):

4 ounces 70% dark chocolate (I used Taza)
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter (I used salted--add 1/4 tsp. salt with the dry ingredients if using unsalted)
1 tablespoon rum (or substitute brewed coffee)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used Rodelle)
1 teaspoon chocolate extract (optional; I used Rodelle)
1 cup coconut sugar, finely ground*, or powdered sugar, plus extra for serving
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons almond flour
2 tablespoons tapioca flour/tapioca starch
1 tablespoon coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
Pinch of ground ginger (optional)

*Measure out a cup of coconut sugar, then grind it to a fine powder in a spice or coffee grinder.  You may also be able to do this in a food processor, but I haven't tried it.

Preheat the oven to 425.  Grease four one-cup custard or souffle dishes with butter and place them on a baking sheet.

Place the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan or microwaveable bowl.  Warm over low heat, stirring constantly, just until melted, or microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring in between.  Add the rum or coffee, extracts, and sugar, and stir well.  Add the eggs and egg yolk and beat with a fork until well combined, then stir in the remaining ingredients.

Divide the mixture evenly among the four dishes and bake for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are set but the middles still jiggle.  Let the cakes cool for a few minutes, then carefully slide a small knife around the edges of the cakes to loosen them, and invert them onto serving plates.  Top with additional powdered coconut sugar if desired, and serve warm, perhaps with ice cream or whipped cream.



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Mocha Mexicano (Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-free)

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