“I’m starving!” Lucie flew in the door with the rain blowing in with her. “Canteen was terrible today so I only ate some baguette.”
Normally my bunnies are flexible eaters at school but somehow there are a few days in the year where apparently la cantine doesn’t even meet the I’ll-just-eat-it-because-I’m-hungry mark. I wasn’t much better: if that had been the kids, I’d have scolded them. I’d just returned from an extra bendy weekly yoga session (feeling wobbly and stretched to 2 metres) and, having only downed a yogurt for lunch in a rush, suddenly thought of a warming yet healthily wicked, quickly-made pick-me-up. Besides, Lucie needed energy before disappearing again for a fencing practise. Enough excuses?
Then Julie arrived like clockwork: dump rucksack, throw off Converse – shoelaces still done – blocking the front door and stairs. “What’s for goûter, Mum? Canteen was rubbish, so I ended up …. oooooh, what’s that amazing smell? Chocolate?”
We like plain and simple chocolate cake, or perhaps a layered chocolate cake with ganache, but we love squidgy individual chocolate cakes when they’re fast to prepare and, even better, packed with good quality chocolate (no less than 64% cacao solids) and less sugar. Over the years we’ve surprised ourselves, as gradually we’ve become used to reducing sugar with more bittersweet tasting chocolate in recipes after some happy sampling of the likes from the wonderful pâtisseries that Paris has to offer.
No fancy food photo props here. Luckily I had a couple of minutes (yes, that’s far too long for hungry teenagers!) to attempt to focus on them with my telephone camera!
I also make lighter chocolate moelleux (lava) cakes for dessert with more eggs. What I love about this recipe, is that it’s easier on the butter than in most fondant cakes I’ve tried plus it has a more intense chocolate taste, with the coffee bringing it out even further. A little goes a long way but boy, it’s packed with fatigue-fighting and stress-bashing magnesium! They’re dense: a perfect warm and rewarding teatime treat.
Recipe Chocolate Fondant Cakes with Mocha Glaze
Makes 6 using a non-stick silicon muffin tin or briochette mould
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 6 minutes
100g good quality chocolate (64% cocoa solids)
1/2 tsp instant coffee granules
50g caster sugar
30g plain (all-purpose) flour
Chocolate & Coffee Glaze
20g/20ml espresso coffee
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°fan (Gas mark 6). Measure out the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of simmering water. Add the coffee powder and stir until just melted.
2. Take off the heat then add the sugar and beat in the eggs until mixed together. Add the flour in one go until completely mixed. Place the moulds on a baking tray then spoon into non-stick (I used flexipan silicone moulds – briochette shaped) moulds. If you’re using regular muffin moulds, butter them lightly before filling with batter.
3. Bake for only 6 minutes (yes, I know it’s exact but don’t cook any more than this if you prefer them squidgy).
4. Meanwhile, make the glaze: make a small cup of espresso coffee (ideally directly into a small measuring cup). Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Add the hot coffee and stir until melted then spread over each cake.
The cakes are even better eaten next day after overnight maturing. They can last in an airtight container for up to 3 days. You’ll see how they are dense in chocolate! I also added thin bits of chocolate from Patrick Roger as a decoration but as the kids were wanting them quickly, they melted and oozed down the cake here…
Just after I made them, I noticed on Instagram that it was National Chocolate Cake Day on 27th January. Isn’t it fun how the US celebrate treats during the year? Liz Berg had the same idea for Chocolate Cake Day, with her deliciously runny lava cakes at That Skinny Chick Can Bake. Well no wonder: they’re so quick, comforting, nourishing, easy, delicious and totally satisfying. Next time I’ll do what I normally do and push in a square of pear in the middle of each cake before baking. And for the perfect Valentine’s Day treat, sprinkle on golden edible lustre and top with macaron hearts!
A quick question: do you bake using digital scales?
I thoroughly recommend using digital scales when baking. If you’re used to ounces, it’s easy to flip the switch on scales. If I give the equivalents in ounces in this recipe, I’m into messy-looking 3/4 oz and 2 1/4 oz etc. Digital scales are easy to find, not expensive to snatch up and you’ll discover that your baking will have constant successful results!