Monday, February 19, 2007

Flourless Chocolate Mini Cakes

Flourless chocolate cake is a little bit overdone. And by "a little," I actually mean "quite a lot." It was the hottest dessert that a restaurant could serve for a while, but now it has fallen back into a comfortable, but permanent, position beside cheesecake on almost every single dessert menu.
That said, the reason that it became a dessert menu-staple is that flourless chocolate cake is very good and is still very popular. The rich chocolate dessert is difficult for chocolate-lovers to turn down.
As a belated Valentine's Day treat (as you might guess from the little heart-shaped pans that I used), I baked up a batch of mini flourless chocolate cakes.
Fudgy and flavorful, these cakes are not too sweet by any means. I used a 65% dark chocolate for these and would only go up to a 70% without adjusting the sugar level. I know that it's popular to get as dark as possible without increasing the amount of sugar in something, but that is one trend that is starting to get old. Of course dark chocolate is good - I just think that desserts still need to have some balance and that you're always going to find that a slightly sweeter dessert, when compared to a bitter one, is going to be more popular with guests.
I used Reynold's Fun Shapes pans to get the oh-so-sweet heart shapes of my cakes, but these can also be made in a regular muffin tin.

Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes
14 tbsp butter (2 sticks minus 2 tbsp)
7 oz bittersweet/dark chocolate (65 or 70%), chopped
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a cupcake pan or set 12 foil molds (like the hearts that I used) on a baking sheet.
In the microwave, working in 30-second increments, melt together the butter and chocolate in a large bowl, stirring after each time increment. When melted, stir int the sugar and let the mixture cool for a few minutes before whisking in the eggs one at a time. Once all the eggs have been incorporated, whisk in the cocoa powder and vanilla extract.
Pour batter evenly into prepared pan(s) and bake for 10 minutes. Turn off oven and let cakes sit inside for an additional 10 minutes. Remove pan to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.
Use a spatula to gently turn out the cakes before serving.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container.
Makes 12.