Discovering Whimsy is all about reflecting on things that bring joy. So, I am going to start with an easy one. Chocolate makes me happy! The process of enjoying chocolate is something I like to savor, really tasting the chocolate and exploring the texture of it. I love chocolate pretty much in any form, but my favorite way to consume chocolate is in the form of molten chocolate cake.
There is something so decadent, silky, and over the top about eating molten chocolate. I have tried making molten chocolate cakes at home in the past and I have had varied results.
I have burnt my hands trying to turn the cake out of the ramekin. Sometimes part of the cake stays stuck in the ramekin. Or molten chocolate cake goes all over the counter and floor as the ramekin slips from my hands. The worst is when the cake bakes all the way, it’s so disappointing. My molten chocolate cakes have only turned out really well a few times, so I reluctantly put this recipe away for a while.
A few years ago, my fairy godmother told me about this little dessert place in Ballard, called Hot Cakes- Molten Chocolate Cakery. Hot Cakes specializes in molten cakes (obviously), grilled chocolate sandwiches, boozy shakes and more. Being the chocolate admirer, I am, I had to try it out.
The first time I ate there was transcendent!!! I had the molten chocolate raspberry cake, with ice cream and chocolate sauce (flavors depend on the season). It was delicious!!! It had a perfect consistency and the chocolate flavor was so deep and rich with a slight tang from the raspberry. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Since my first visit, I have been at least a dozen times. I have tried the original molten chocolate cake many times, peanut butter, and s’mores cakes, but I think the raspberry one is my all-time- favorite. Hot Cakes changed the way I approach this little pot of chocolate gold. Their cakes are amazing, but it was their presentation that really changed everything for me. They bake and serve their cakes in mason jars (pure GENIUS). No more burnt hands no more spills when trying to get the cakes out of the ramekins and no more cake left behind.
For my chocolate loving friends out there, if you are already in the Seattle area make a trip to Hot Cakes. If you plan to visit Seattle and love chocolate, you need to put this little spot in Ballard on your itinerary.
It is a tiny place and the wait can be really long on the weekend but know it is worth the wait. I am not an affiliate for this company, just a very happy customer who wanted to share my transcendent chocolate experience with you. So, if you aren’t able to make the trip to Ballard, then you can order some from their website.
My experiences at Hot Cakes renewed my confidence in the molten chocolate cake recipe I like to use, I just needed to change the vessel I bake it in.
The Molten Chocolate Cake recipe I use comes from my Chocolate Deck by Lori Longbotham, (yes, I have deck cards featuring chocolate recipes). The Chocolate Deck has 49 other recipes, but this one is by far my favorite. Lori’s recipe is based on the original recipe created by Jean Georges Vongerichten.
The ingredients for molten chocolate cake are very simple and you probably have most of them on hand right now. The preparation is so easy, it was the presentation part that would get me, but thanks to the trusty mason jar, I have delicious, decadent, molten chocolate cake success!!
Let’s Get Baking!!!
What you will need:
4 oz Mason jars
4oz-6oz of your favorite bittersweet or semisweet chocolate. I like Ghirardelli chocolate, I think it is a good cost to quality ratio. But I have also used 6oz of Scharffen Berger Semi-sweet chocolate for a richer and deeper chocolate flavor. I think you could also mix bitter and semi-sweet for a great combination.
½ cup of unsalted butter
Tiny pinch of salt (optional)
2 large eggs
2 large yolks
¼ cup of white sugar
3 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour
Pre-heat oven to 325 Fahrenheit. To prep, your mason jars, place them on a rimmed baking sheet, no need to butter or flour them.
First, I like to finely chop my chocolate is melts faster. You can melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler (make sure you don’t get any water in your chocolate or it will seize up). You can also use your microwave. Heat for 10 seconds on high and stir and keep heating it 10 seconds at a time until all the butter and chocolate are melted and can be incorporated easily. Add your pinch of salt, if you remember, I always seem to forget this, and then set the warm chocolate/butter mixture aside to cool.
Next, place eggs, yolks, and sugar in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer on high. You want the eggs, yolks, and sugar to be thick and pale. This usually takes 8-10 minutes.
Then fold in the chocolate/butter mixture once this is combined, mix/fold in the flour.
Pour the batter into the mason jar coming up to the first lip**. I found using a cookie scoop made this process a lot easier. Place the mason jar on the rimmed baking sheet and bake at 325 for about 15 minutes. The cake will rise a bit over the rim and you should be able to see that thin side crust has formed. Look for a lighter color and tiny bubbles on the side of the jar. The middle should wiggle when you slightly shake the jar. I used 4oz mason jars and in my oven, 15 minutes did the trick.
When they are done, carefully place the mason jar on a plate (caution: they will be hot), dust with powdered sugar and add a pop of color with raspberries or strawberries. It is delicious with or without ice-cream. ENJOY!!!
**Note: If you want to save for later, you can put the lid on the batter-filled jar and put in the fridge for a few days or store in the freezer for up to a month, if you can wait that long.