Melting Chocolate Cake

I have been putting off posting this particular recipe because I kinda stuffed up the quality of the video when recording it earlier in the year and recorded it in a rather low resolution by accident and it has left me feeling irk because of it.

But I am biting the bullet and sharing it with you because I really didn’t feel like re-recording the whole thing again.

So apologies on the quality in advance. 🙂

Now onto this chocolate cake, because who doesn’t love a good ol’ chocolate cake?

Especially during this festive season which is all about gathering together with friends and family to share and and celebrate around a table of food.

This chocolate cake is one that aims to leave an impression without too much fuss behind it. It is simple yet not too one dimensional and I will also be adding some ideas on how to dress this cake up to make it fancier further down this post along with my usual tips and notes.

This twice baked chocolate cake is not a new concept, and I have wanted to work on a recipe such as this after seeing it being sold at a few places around town. There are also other recipes floating around the internet for such cakes so I definitely do not claim that this is a unique cake (but it is tasty).

I hope that you will enjoy this cake and have a great time sharing it with friends and family.

Oh, and if this helps, it is also a gluten free recipe which means more people will get to enjoy it!

And a personal note before I continue on with this recipe, it has been quite a long pause between recipes and I have been feeling rather lack luster about things during the previous period, but after having been back to Singapore for a short holiday, I am feeling rejuvenated and am hoping this effect will last for the next few months as I work a shortbread for you in the lead up to Christmas.

The Chocolate

This is a consistent note that I have mentioned in all of my chocolate recipes, but I use couverture chocolate in my recipes and would recommend using it if you have the option. In this case I am using my go-to 70% Callebaut dark choc callets.

Couverture chocolate usually has a higher cocoa butter content with a smoother texture. The quality is also better as compared to many of the off-the-shelf supermarket products.

Because this is such a chocolate reliant cake I would highly suggest using a chocolate that is of good quality with a nice flavour as it will carry through the cake.

Avoid using things with too many additives that isn’t part of the cacao bean in your chocolate, I suggest checking the ingredients section, for the most part it should contain cocoa butter, cocoa solids, sugar and maybe some sort of stabiliser like soy lecithin, but it shouldn’t contain other weird items like oil etc.

With melting the chocolate alongside the butter in the recipe, I tend to like to melt it over a pot of steaming water but you could also melt it in a microwave in bursts of 20-30 seconds mixing between each burst of heat to ensure you do not risk burning the chocolate in the microwave.

Types of Chocolate

I am using 70% dark chocolate as I find it gives a nice bitter sweet balance to this cake. You may choose to go darker but do keep in mind that it will affect the texture and sweetness of the cake slightly.

What do I mean by that?

You may notice that chocolate bars with a higher cocoa content usually have more of a snap than lower percentage ones, that is because the ratio of other ingredients like sugar and milk powder to cocoa butter+solids in them is lesser. Those additional items usually do tend to affect the texture of the product yielding a bar with less of a “snap”.

It is not detrimental, but just something to keep in the back of your mind as it might make your cake slightly crumblier.

You will notice that there is also the addition of espresso powder in the recipe, this is to help with enhancing the flavour of the chocolate in the cake, but it is optional.

Tip: If you are into the flavour of chocolate in single origin chocolate bars like the fruity notes of Madagascan chocolate then you could consider using it in this recipe to add a natural red-fruit acidity and dimension to it.

The Eggs

The eggs used in this recipe are large ones which are around 52g per egg in weight (without shell) or in a pack of a dozen of eggs, the cartons here usually states ‘min. 700g’.

I weighed the egg whites and yolks in this recipe for my own reference, but here is the breakdown if you wish to replicate exactly: 222g white, 92g yolk.

The recipe calls for separating the eggs so please ensure to allow for the maximum amount of air to be incorporated in it.

This is probably the most tedious part of the recipe, and to help make life a little easier, I recommend whipping the egg whites portion first, and then removing it from the bowl before whisking the yolks portion in that used bowl and whisk. This avoids you having to clean the bowl between whipping each portion up.

Please also ensure that your eggs are room temp to avoid causing a shock when the chocolate is added to the mix.

Whisking and Folding

There isn’t anything out of the ordinary to note with this. Just ensure you have whisked your egg whites well but not over whisked it. Better to err on the side of caution and under whisk it to a semi stiff peak than to over whisk and result in the egg whites collapsing and splitting into a watery mess.

The egg yolks on the other hand I feel has more of a lee-way so whisk it until it is pale.

The main aim is to ensure we incorporate a good amount of air into the cake to allow for a light mousse like texture that will leave more of a melting texture in your mouth.

When adding the chocolate and cocoa powder to the yolk mixture, I tend to stop the mix the moment they are incorporated to reduce the risk of knocking out too much air from the mixture.

When folding the egg whites into the yolk mixture, I like using a whisk like a spatula to cut the egg whites into the yolk mixture to ensure it incorporates well without pockets of egg whites hidden through the batter. Note: I do not whisk it in but rather fold it in using a whisk, there is a difference in the way it is done. Being aggressive will have the effect of knocking out the air. Just be nice and gentle with it and treat your whisk like a spatula. (Refer the video for visual cues).

The Texture and Bake Times

This a twice baked cake which will give you a soft mousse like chocolate cake at the base with a creamy lava like top.

The aim of this is to not over bake either portion.

The Bottom Layer:

You want to bake the base to a lightly moist consistency with some crumbs clinging to the skewer when you test it (better to under bake slightly than to over bake). This is because the cake will continue to bake when you chuck it back into the oven for the second bake.

Opps, what should I do? I over baked the base.

If you didn’t over bake it by too much then you should be alright. Just let it cool for a longer period (maybe to room temp if possible) before you add the top layer and do the second bake. That way it takes longer for the base layer to heat up in the oven as the top layer cooks.

What happens if I over bake?

You will notice that your cake might end up a little more crumbly along the base rather than smooth. Given there is no flour in this cake, the moisture from the eggs being cooked to the right temp is really what will help give that lovely texture to the cake without turning it dry. Perhaps you could think of it like when you make scrambled eggs, it can go from custardy to crumbly depending on how much you cook it.

The Top Layer:

You will want to under bake this intentionally to give you that lava like middles.

It should be soft and lava like when warm and custardy when cold from the fridge with the sides being slightly puffed.

Essentially, you are looking to ensure that the top layer and sides are just set so that there is structure but everything else beneath is cooked but still soft.

Simply look for the visual key of a jiggle when you shake the pan when it comes out of the oven and you should be good. (refer to video for visual cues)

Why do you compress the first layer?

This is to create a even flat base for the second layer to go on, it will also make the base layer a little more dense by compacting the crumb resulting in more of a textural contrast.

I use a press to compact the cake but you can use the base of a cup/mug or a ramekin or anything with a flat base to be honest.

Jazzing it up! (Flavours and Ideas)

Whilst a straight up chocolate cake is good on its own, jazzing it up with flavours and a surprise could lift your game up.

Some ideas is to add a layer of flavouring between the 2 layers of the cake.

Essentially, after the first layer is baked, compressed and cooled, you can add a layer of jam or filling before adding the remaining batter and putting the cake back in the oven for its second bake.

Alternatively you could also flavour the cake itself, add some mint extract for a minty chocolate cake or even go boozy with it.

Flavour Ideas:

  • Marmalade – Something citrus base would be a lovely touch to brighten up the chocolate flavour. Perhaps a yuzu marmalade between the 2 cake layers might be good too
  • Praline Paste – If you want to keep those warm notes in the cake, a nut praline paste between the 2 cake layers would be nice. Something like hazelnut or pistachio praline would be lovely.
  • Booze – A smoky whisky or rum would work lovely with the cake. Or perhaps some coffee liqueur to bring out that chocolate notes in the cake. You can add it by adding it to the batter or to brush it onto the cake base once it has been baked before you pour on the second layer.
  • Another way to dress it up is to add a textural base like the biscuit base of a cheesecake or even a scattering of crushed toasted nuts at the bottom of the cake
  • You can add nuts as well to the cake base by folding it into the 450g of batter before you bake the base.
  • If you are all about enjoying the flavour of the chocolate, you could look at using single origin chocolate bars that holds some strong natural flavour profiles and omit the coffee in the recipe to avoid detracting from the natural chocolate flavours. I haven’t tried baking with single origin chocolate yet, but I reckon it should work well.

Serve your cake with some simple lightly sweetened whipped cream or even a baileys whipped cream. And if you are serving it warm, vanilla ice cream would be great with it.

Baking in advance + Enjoying it

This cake can be enjoyed cold or warm.

You would need to let it cool slightly before slicing into it with a warm knife if you want clean cuts.

If you want to have it warm, you could bake the first layer and then hold off and bake the second layer right before you wish to serve it.

If you decide to prep it the day ahead, simply bake the first layer and then wrap it up and chuck it into the fridge when cooled. Also wrap the unbaked batter for the second layer and chuck it into the fridge. A couple of hours before you are ready to bake, remove it from the fridge and let it come to room temp and bake as per normal.

Alternatively, you could reheat the cold slices in the microwave for 10-15 seconds or until warm.

Melting Chocolate Cake

Makes a 6″ cake.

What you’ll need

  • 240g 70% dark chocolate
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 6 large eggs, room temp, separated (see note above on size)
  • 90g white sugar
  • 90g light brown sugar
  • 16g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp espresso powder, optional (not ground coffee beans)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 20g heavy cream

How to make it

Before you begin, prepare your baking tin by lining it with baking paper (see video for a visual example).

Preheat your oven to 170C.

Melt butter and dark chocolate over a pot of simmering water or in the microwave (see above for further notes). Once melted, turn off the flame on your stove and let the butter and chocolate sit over the water to keep warm until needed.

Meanwhile, place egg whites into a clean bowl and whisk until foamy, slowly add the white sugar and whisk until stiff.

Note: If using the same mixing bowl for both the egg white and yolk mixture to save on cleaning, transfer the whisked egg whites to a new bowl before proceeding onto the yolk mixture in that same used bowl.

In a separate mixing bowl, add egg yolks, salt, brown sugar, cream, vanilla and espresso powder (if using). Whisk until pale and fluffy.

Add the melted chocolate butter mixture to your egg yolk mix in 2 batches and mix to combine between each batch.

Sift your cocoa powder into the batter and mix to combine.

Add the egg whites in 3 batches using a whisk to fold it in gently. You can be a little less gentle on the first batch of whites but take care to maintain as much of the aeration as possible in the subsequent 2 batches.

Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure everything is evenly incorporated.

Pour 450g of your batter into the baking tin and smooth the top out. Give it a few taps on the counter to set the batter into the tin and place the tin into your oven.

Reduce the temperature immediately from 170C to 160C and bake for 40-45 mins until moist crumb cling to your cake tester when tested. (I baked mine for 42 mins in my oven).

Cover the remaining untouched batter in your bowl with a cling wrap and set aside at room temp until needed.

Once the cake is baked and out of the oven, immediately give it a few taps on the counter to release any of the trapped heat within the cake and to help compress the crumb by knocking the excess air out of it.

Let it cool in the tin for 10 mins before using a item with a flat base to press the cake down and even the top out. (see notes above)

We are looking to get a nice compact fudge like cake base so be sure to press it down well (don’t be too too rough, you don’t want to smoosh your cake into mush).

At this point, you can throw your add-ins on here, perhaps you might want spread some jam, or sprinkle some crunch, or keep it plain and simple like I did in this recipe.

Pour the remaining cake batter onto the top of the baked cake, smoothen the top out and bake it in the oven at 160C for 20-25 mins (I like doing 20mins for a gooey middle).

When it is ready the cake should wobble once you jiggle the pan and it should be slightly puffed around the edges to show that the edges are cooked yet the middle will seem soft and under baked.

Let it cool in the tin at room temp before placing into the fridge overnight to firm up, or you may serve it at room temp if serving it on the same day.

For clean slices, use a warm knife to slice your cake whilst it is fridge cold and serve.

To warm up individual, you may reheat each slice in the oven gently or in the microwave for 10 – 15 seconds or until warm (depending on how strong your microwave is).

One Comment Add yours

  1. Nik says:

    This looks yummy. May I know how should I adjust the baking time if I were to bake it in 4 inch ( half recipe )? Thank you .


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