My grandmother used to make a variation on these cakes served in ramekins right out of the oven. The contrast between the slightly crunchy cake and the warm, gooey hot fudge interior makes it a perfect dessert to serve at dinner parties and holidays. Likewise, the chocolate and the espresso work in tandem to create a dash of dark sweetness coupled with a rich coffee flavor. The cocoa powder adds a deeper chocolatey taste to the mix.
Top each cake with powdered sugar, a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for a classy "comfort" dessert.
Hot Chocolate Fudge Cakes
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
5 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
8 large egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (2.6 ounce) bar dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa), finely chopped
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1. Sift together flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder and salt.
2. Place butter in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer on medium speed for 1 minute. Add granulated and brown sugars, beating until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add egg whites and vanilla, beating until well blended. Fold flour mixture into the sugar mixture; fold in chocolate.
3. Divide batter evenly among 10 4-ounce ramekins. Arrange ramekins on a jelly-roll pan. Cover and refrigerate for four hours. You can refrigerate the ramekins for up to 2 days.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
5. Let ramekins stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Uncover and bake for approximately 21 minutes or until cakes are puffy and slightly crusty on top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or top with whipped cream. Serve immediately.
Calories: 260 per cake
Variations: Replace egg whites with 1 cup egg substitute; omit espresso or substitute instant coffee powder (you will need to use more for the same flavor, usually a 1:2 ratio); use up to 4 ounces of dark chocolate for a richer flavor.