Thursday, December 12, 2013

Molten Chocolate Cakes and More Christmas Party Clothes

I am obsessed with chocolate lava cakes.  I pick restaurants based on whether they have a lava cake on the dessert menu, and I am not joking.  Once there was a lava cake available and I didn't order it and instead got some double chocolate mousse confection and, while it was okay, I felt empty until I went back to that same restaurant to try their lava cake.

If you look up a recipe for a lava cake online you basically get one of two kinds:
  • a basic sponge that is just undercooked to keep the center liquid and raw
  • a contraption where you freeze some ganache and then make a little ball of it and stick it into the middle of your uncooked cake so as the cake around it cooks, the frozen center simply turns liquid
These are okay.  Passable, even.  But the best one is one I have never seen any other recipe like, and even now as I try to find it online so I can credit it or something I can't, so I am going to have to type this out from memory and then check later.

This was originally from a Gourmet magazine.  They used to have a feature where if you wanted a recipe from a certain restaurant, you could send the request to Gourmet and then Gourmet would ask the restaurant and publish it in the magazine.  My mom did this once wayyyy back when with a chocolate decadent recipe from a restaurant in Brooklyn I believe, she said it was my dad's favorite but she has yet to make it for me (hmph).  She still has the recipe they sent back to her though, handwritten, and I will have to take a picture of it for this one day.

Anyway, this was a recipe requested from a restaurant in Cannes and I will update with the name of the restaurant later, and it is fantastic.

Chocolate Fondant Cakes
recipe from Gourmet Magazine, date unknown

  • 7 ounces GOOD bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (I use semisweet)
  • 1 3/4 sticks of butter
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso (I omit this)
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1/2 plus 1/3 cup sugar
  1. Preheat the over to 350 F.  Butter 8 or so ramekins and place them all in a big baking pan.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate together and let cool until lukewarm.
  3. Beat the eggs and sugar together using an electric mixer until thick and light.  While this is happening, sift together the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking powder, espresso if using).
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the egg and sugar mixture.
  5. Fold the cooled chocolate/butter mixture into the batter.
  6. Split the batter among the prepared ramekins, filling only 1/2-3/4 of the way.  Add more ramekins if necessary, but I recommend eating the remaining batter.
  7. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until the tops are just looking done.  
  8. Whip together some cream with a tiny (TINY) bit of powdered sugar and a dash of vanilla extract.
  9. Eat immediately with whipped cream.
  10. Place remaining cakes in the fridge or freezer.  From the fridge, microwave for 15-30 seconds to take the chill off and get the centers oozing again before eating.

Microwaved leftover version - the creamy center oozes out the top too and it is heavenly

My favorite thing about these I think is that they are fantastic the next day.  They're tough to make for entertaining because you can't make too many at once, but then you also can't eat 8 fondant cakes at once so what's a girl to do?  Have one every night for the next week is the correct answer.  Or throw some in the freezer for when you come home after a long day and know just a margarita is not going to cut it.

Tonight is the Christmas party I get to go to because I worked on the project - Riker's Island Correctional Facility (yes) Cogen.  I keep joking with everyone it's going to be just me and the guards.

It's being held at the (apparently) oldest tavern in NYC and should be a good time.  I wore what I'm wearing later to work because I know if I had to go home and change and find something to wear, I would have an anxiety attack and probably hate everything on me.

Top: J. Crew Glimmer Long Sleeve Tee // Skirt: Emporio Armani // Belt: Wilfred (Aritzia) // Shoes: Tahari // Polish: Essie "Little Brown Dress"

I hope this will be fancy enough.  It's freezing out so staying warm is my main priority right now, otherwise I would have worn a dress I'm sure.  I love this long sleeve sequined tee from J. Crew a few years back because the color is unexpected for sequins and because it's slim fitting without being tight.  I wore it with black skinny jeans and high black boots to a few Christmas dinner parties the year I got it and then forgot about it because it's really a very "holiday" top, but hopefully I will put it to use this year.  

The skirt is from a consignment shop in Santa Fe and I don't know why I bought it because it is definitely too big (even the size is 2 sizes bigger than I'd normally buy) so the belt is necessary to keep it from falling down.  It fits my hips all right though, so I can't imagine how tight it would be if it was actually my size.  

This store, The Beat Goes On, is a great consignment shop.  I have a feeling that people from the east coast move to Santa Fe for a different vibe and just get rid of all their east coast-y clothes out there, swapping their business-y Armani skirts and structured Prada blazers for some of the colorful Etro jackets and loose Eskandar tops that are much more popular down there.  This works out very well for me, as you can imagine, and I have definitely made some seriously good finds at the consignment shops there, this one in particular.  My favorite purchase was a seemingly new Narciso Rodriguez collarless jacket for $90 - the detail and craftsmanship is impeccable and obvious from all the seaming, making the jacket a beautiful fit and a very interesting item to add to my wardrobe.  The women working there were great too, helping me pick out things and showing me pieces they thought I'd like that I might not have found otherwise.  I highly recommend it if you're ever in the area!

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