That it has seen so many milieus means what we already know: A chocolate cake with a gooey middle is irresistible, for anyone. As David Leibovitz writes in his book My Paris Kitchen:
As popular as molten-center chocolate cakes have become in America, it’s nothing compared to their omnipresence here in Paris, where they’re described as branché, which literally translates to “plugged in,” but often refers to something that is trendy. It’s hard to find a restaurant that doesn’t have moelleux au chocolat on the dessert menu.
But then when you try to make molten cakes, you remember that inverting a molten cake from its mold is precarious, and the recipe you used wasn't as chocolatey as you want it to be, and can someone just invite you Jean Georges already.
But David’s recipe fixes all of the solvable problems (he probably won't take you out for dinner), and then adds flare in ways we didn’t know a seductive, gooey chocolate cake needed.
As he showed us on Facebook Live, the recipe asks little of you: Coat ramekins with cocoa powder, tab a bit of dulce de leche in the middle. You can buy dulce de leche at any grocery store, or follow David's Genius recipe.
Then, to stay trendy—and because it helps offset some sweetness—sprinkle a little sea salt on the dulce de leche puddles. Pour a stirred mixture of melted chocolate, cocoa powder, brown sugar, and eggs—yep, no flour; yep, no beating eggs—over and bake for 15 minutes. Voila! Break into the shiny tops to reveal a jiggly, caramelly middle. They’re molten cakes without inversion crossed with soufflés without panicky pouf.
Speaking of panic, these cakes don’t call for any of it. You can fill up the ramekins hours before you need to bake them, or throw them together in a matter of minutes. So no matter what sort of entertainer you are, or how fancy the occasion, these wee cakes are ready to steal your show (sorry, mug cakes).
- 8 tablespoons (4 ounces/115g) unsalted butter, cubed
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for the ramekins
- 6 generous tablespoons dulce de leche (see note)
- 1 scant teaspoon flaky sea salt, preferably fleur de sel
- 8 ounces (225g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 6 tablespoons (90g) packed light brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
To watch David make this recipe, head to our Facebook page.