Sunday, April 22, 2012

Bittersweet Peanut Butter Chocolate Molten Cake

I attended the 2nd weekend baking class in Malaysia today - Chocolate Making! Woah, never knew that Chocolate is a product of so much science and technical expertise. Different melting temperatures for dark/milk/white chocolates, followed by different tempering temperatures, techniques of tempering/moulding/casting/robing, use of other ingredients, cream/cocoa butter/salted vs unsalted butter. OMG. 2 days of information - and today we tried so many chocolates, output of our 2-day class.. it's officially Choc OD for now.

So... I'm not going to write a post on the class! Cos all the info is still swimming in my head, cos i'm too tired to type from the class notes now, cos I cannot stomach the thought of chocolates for now.

BUT. I am going to post a recipe on a Chocolate Molten Cake, one of my favourite desserts! Aaaah, the fickle-mindedness of girls. It's just like ooh I'm too full but I can still stomach a sweet dessert. Ooh I've so many pairs of shoes, but I just need that one pair I just tried on. So.. It's going to be .. ooh Im too OD to be writing on chocolates but I can do one on a chocolate cake.

BitterSweet Peanut Butter Chocolate Molten Cake - adapted from here
Ingredients (makes around 8 cupcake-sized portions, slightly bigger than a usual ice-cream scoop)
  • 141g unsalted butter
  • 220g bitter sweet chocolate (the % depends on preference, I like 70% and usually use Cadbury Old Gold 70% cocoa or Carrefour 70% Dark Chocolate, C4 brand is smooth and really fragrant, my first choice but not always in-stock)
  • 50g peanut butter (I use crunchy PB as I like some bite to the lava but use smooth PB if so preferred)
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 cup confectionery sugar (increase if using less than 70% cocoa chocolate)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Options - to make a totally chocolate version, omit the peanut butter, increase chocolate to 250g and add in 1 teaspoon expresso powder for additional flavor


  1. Pre-heat oven to 200C. Butter 8 ramekins (or I usually use those stiff disposable cupcake cups).
  2. Melt chocolate, peanut butter and butter in a metal bowl over a simmering pot of water. Be careful not to spill any water into the pot or let the steam escape into the mixture. Do not boil nor let it burn. Once smooth and melted, remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Add sifted flour and confect sugar into the choc mixture. Stir in until combined.
  4. Stir in eggs and yolks, until smooth.
  5. Add vanilla essence (if you are using coffee powder, add at this stage), mix until combined.
  6. Divide batter equally among the cups, place them on a cookie sheet, bake for approx 10 min. The edge of the cakes should be firm, and the centre still a little wobbly (see picture #2 above).
  7. Let it sit in the cup for around 3-5 min to firm up a little more. Run a knife around the edge. Inverse your serving plate onto the cake (not the cake onto the plate) and quickly flip the plate around. The cake should drop nicely onto the plate.
  8. Serve with ice cream on the side.
Some tips I've learnt along the way:

#1. Ovens are not created identical. Always test 1 portion in the oven first. I usually leave the first one in at 200C for 10 min in the oven (top-bottom, non-fan). If this achieves the texture I want, I will put in the next batch of 6 and bake at 200C for 11 mins. I think since there are more cakes inside, it took a wee bit more time.
#2. If the cake cannot achieve the texture needed on the first try, put it back in the oven for 30 seconds more each time. Use a digital timer, every 1 min counts for lava cakes.
#3. I use a light-coloured cookie tray on the oven rack. If using dark-coloured trays, it absorbs heat faster and you may need to reduce the time needed or the temperature.
#4. You can prepare the batter a few hours ahead of time and leave at room temperature or make it the night before, leave in the fridge and cool at room temperature before baking. If time is limited, you can still bake it but it requires slightly longer baking time. Experiment with the first couple of cups, so always make more servings than actual needed.

Have fun! It's a simple dessert to make and guaranteed to please!

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