Photo by Claire Lower
The molten chocolate cake may have had its heyday in the 90s, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to stop making and eating them. Maybe it’s because they were the first “fancy” dessert I ever made in an attempt to impress another human, but I associate them pretty firmly with cliche romance, which is what makes them perfect for Valentine’s Day.
I’ve been making these ridiculously rich and chocolatey babies from Queen Nigella for years now, and never had a complaint. I do, however, sometimes have a hard time getting the cake out of the ramekin, but pressure cookers have changed all that. Not only did these pressure-cooked cakes come out moist and tender with the perfect amount of molten chocolate in the center, they slid out of their ramekins like a dream.
Being able to slide your creation out of the ramekin without incident may not seem like the biggest game changer, but it does wonders for your presentation (and my stress levels, to be quite honest).
You could actually cook almost any molten cake this way, but Nigella’s recipe is my favourite. It makes six cakes, but you can always make a batch of batter, keep it in the fridge, cooking a cake or two as you need them. (I made two last night, and I plan to make another couple this evening.) To make these melty, gooey babies, you will need:
- 350 grams of extremely good bittersweet chocolate
- 3 tablespoons of butter, plus more for greasing
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 4 whole eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup flour
- 6 x 100g ramekins
- Parchment paper
Chop the chocolate into chunks and melt it using your preferred chocolate-melting method. (For me, it’s 30-second blasts in the microwave.) While the chocolate is cooling, cream the sugar and butter together in a mixing bowl. Slowly incorporate the eggs, the extract and the flour. Once everything is well-mixed, stir in your cooled chocolate.
Using the bottom of a ramekin, trace six circles out on some parchment paper. Liberally grease six ramekins, cut out the parchment circles, and press them down into the ramekins. Divide the cake batter among the ramekins and cover each one with a bit of foil.
Place your trivet down in your pressure cooker and add two cups of water to the insert. Stack as many cakes as you like on the trivet, seal the cooker, and press “Manual” or an equivalent setting.
Adjust the time to six minutes using the “+” and “-” buttons and, once the time has elapsed and you hear the melodious “I’M DONE” screech of your pressure cooker, release the pressure manually.
Give the cakes a minute or two to cool slightly, and carefully invert them onto plates. Wait a minute or two, gently lift the ramekin, and ooh and ah over how easily the cake slides out. Serve with ice cream, some sliced strawberries, and a sense of whimsy.