4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces 4 eggs 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder or 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules 1/2 teaspoon salt Black Cherry Sauce (see recipe below) Whipped cream (see recipe below) Shaved Chocolate
Preheat oven to 375°F. Liberally spray six (6-ounce) ramekins with nonstick spray. In a small saucepan over low heat melt the bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolates and butter, stirring often to prevent burning. Remove from heat and cool. Learn different techniques for How To Melt Chocolate.
In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar with electric hand mixer until "ribbon" stage, approximately 7 minutes. At that stage, it will be pale yellow and look like lightly whipped cream.
Add flour, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, espresso powder, and salt. Beat the batter for 2 additional minutes; add the melted chocolate mixture and beat another 5 minutes. (The batter needs a lot of beating. This incorporates air, lightening the cake's texture.)
Scoop the batter into the prepared ramekins, approximately 3/4 cup of batter in each ramekin. NOTE: At this point, the cakes can be refrigerated and then baked later.
When ready to bake, place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake 15 to 17 minutes or until puffed and mostly dry on top around edges. NOTE: It's critical to bake these cakes for the right amount of time. Otherwise, they'll either be way too "molten," or end up as brownies. Oven temperatures vary, so check the cakes after 15 minutes. If they're really moist on top, bake one minute and check again.
Remove cakes from oven and let rest 3 minutes (it's okay if they sink a little).
To unmold, place serving plate on top of ramekin and invert. Carefully remove ramekin, tapping lightly on the plate to loosen cake. Serve the molten cakes warm with warm Black Cherry Sauce, whipped cream, and shaved chocolate.
Makes 6 servings.
Black Cherry Sauce: 1 cup dry red wine 1/3 cup granulated sugar 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar 2 pieces lemon and orange peel (use a peeler to shave of pieces of citrus peel) 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns 1/4 teaspoon whole cloves 1 cinnamon stick 2 teaspoons cornstarch 1 tablespoon cold water 1 1/2 cups frozen black cherries 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
In a small saucepan, combine wine, sugar, balsamic vinegar, citrus peel, and spices. Bring to a boil and reduce to 3/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Strain and return liquid to pan.
In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with water. Bring wine mixture back to a boil; whisk in cornstarch mixture, and simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add cherries and simmer to heat through. Remove from heat; add almond extract. Serve warm.
Whipped Cream: 1 cup whipping cream 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 2 to 3 drops pure almond extract
In a medium-sized bowl, whip cream, sugar, and almond extract to soft peaks.