Paris-based pastry chef David Lebovitz serves up warm spiced chocolate cake. He was the former pastry chef at Chez Panisse and is the author of Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments and The Great Book of Chocolate. His latest book, Living the Sweet Life in Paris: Adventures of an American Pastry Chef, will be published in May 2009. To read about David's sweet life in Paris, visit his blog.
Warm Individual Spiced Chocolate Cakes
Makes 6 cakes
10 ozs (285g) Xocopili, or another bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 Tablespoons (60g) salted butter
4 Tablespoons (50g) sugar, divided
4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp brandy or rum
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp chili powder
Big pinch of ground cloves
Few turns freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
2. Butter six heatproof coffee or custard cups. Dust the insides with sugar and tap out any excess.
3. In a medium-sized bowl, melt the chocolate and butter over a pan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in half of the sugar, then the yolks. Then mix in the vanilla, brandy, and spices.
4. In a clean, dry bowl, whip the egg whites until fairly stiff. Beat in the sugar, and whisk until the whites form soft, droopy peaks.
5. Fold one-third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder, just until incorporated. Don't overfold.
6. Divide the batter into the prepared cups.
7. Bake the cakes for 10 to 12 minutes, just until the tops feel firm. Once done, remove the cakes from oven and cool for a minute before serving.
Serving: If you wish, unmold the cakes onto plates for serving, or serve as is. Top with a scoop of ice cream, sorbet, or a dollop of whipped cream.
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