Molten Chocolate Cakes — 4 Stars

I put my general dislike of Martha Stewart aside and made these for a dinner party I hosted last week.  I wanted something simple, yet impressive, and these certainly fit the bill.  The only downside is that you have to bake these just before serving, as reheating them would bake the center…and chocolate cakes simply are not as cool as molten chocolate cakes.

One aspect of this recipe that *is* nice for dinner parties is that you can make the batter before hand, and store the batter covered, in the mixing bowl, in the fridge until just before baking.  In my case, the batter sat in the fridge for a few hours, and I had to add an extra 6 minutes to the suggested 8 minutes baking time.  While people were conversing after finishing the entree, I poured the batter into the ramekins and popped them in the oven.  The recipe suggests baking these in four-ounce ramekins.  I say good luck to that.  I made them in six-ounce ramekins, and they cooked to almost the brim.  Perhaps the four-ounce ramekins could have contained the batter, but they certainly would not have contained the vanilla ice cream I scooped on top of the cakes.  (I suppose you could turn out the cakes onto a plate from the ramekins, but really?  Who wants extra dishes to wash?) 

I followed the recipe exactly — I’m getting better at that — except for doubling the recipe so that each of the four dinner party attendees could have his or her own dessert.  Even with the extra cooking time, the cake part of the cake was incredibly moist, as in borderline too moist for my liking.  I’m not sure if it needed another minute in the oven, or if that’s just the way the cake is.  The molten center was perfect.  Beautiful, chocolate lava in just the right proportion to the cake.  But…next time, I will certainly add some vanilla to this.  Probably 1/2 tsp or a full teaspoon.  With the vanilla extract, I think the comments would have changed from, "You’re amazing!" to, "Will you marry me?"  And a spouse implies a full-time dishwasher, and who doesn’t want that?

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