Tuesday, February 14, 2006

What I woke up to this morning...

Happy Valentine's Day

I had a hard time choosing what dessert to make this evening to celebrate Valentine's Day. It had to be chocolate, but it needed to have just a couple servings or be freezeable. After sifting through cookbooks and recipes I decided on one that just sounded so good I had to make it.

Spicy Mini Chocolate Lava Cakes are a flourless chocolate cake which gets its leavening only from beaten egg whites. While some lava cakes rely on underbaking to create a pool upon opening them this version uses a much better technique I think. For the lava effect, you create milk chocolate truffles which are placed inside the cakes halfway through baking. Additional batter is then placed on top and allowed to finish baking. After a small cooling time, you invert them on to your plate and when the cakes are pierced open, the truffles have almost liquified and allowed to create a rich sauce that streams out.

In the cakes, I added just enough Ancho chili powder to give the intense chocolate a boost in taste. These are small, but very rich and quite satisfying. Since these are made in muffin tins, rather than one large cake, you can easily refrigerate the leftovers and reheat for just a couple minutes in the oven to recreate the lava effect.

There isn't so much a recipe for the dinner tonight, but I wanted to make one of Jeff's favorite dishes. The base starts out with baking a pesto-garlic tortilla into a bowl shape. Layers of crisp romain lettuce, carrots, broccoli, sliced almonds and sharp parmesan cheese are placed inside. I then seasoned some steaks using the Classic Steakhouse Rub recipe and grilled them to medium-rare. When they have cooled a bit, I thinly sliced them and topped off the salad. We don't have this very often, but we love how all of the flavors work off each other.


  1. Happy Valentine's Day for you too Joe!!
    Chocolate is definitely the way to go, and lava cakes do make us happy! Yummy!

  2. Wow. That looks decadent and wonderful! Great idea on creating "lava", and I also enjoy adding spice (like cayenne pepper) to chocolate. It's sooooo good.

    I continue to enjoy your blog. Happy Valentine's Day!

  3. As usual your meal sounds great. Would you mind telling how you make the tortilla shell. Sounds like a different way to dress up a salad -- do you use a flour or corn tortilla? Does it taste like chips? or is it more for decoration?

    Thanks again,

  4. Happy V-Day Joe & Jeff. What a great meal! I'm so envious of the fact you now have leftover lava cakes! By comparison, we had grilled cheese, split pea soup from a can, salad, and Hershey bars. Romantic, yes? (We leave early in the am for Hawaii and I didn't want to go to the trouble of making a huge meal. I think we'll have enough of those there!)

  5. Oooh, lava lava lava ...

    The cake sounds amazing! My drool was flowing as freely as the molten lava in that photo. Thanks for sharing that recipe!

  6. holy cow! do you suppose you could freeze those little guys? and if reheating in the nuker, would that make the cake rubbery?

  7. JOE

    These look absolutely wonderful. There is a restaurant here that makes flourless chocolate cakes in a waffle maker....so they are warm and then you eat them with coffee ice cream! Now, that is the way to go!

    PS Liked the rose too.

    Mari K.

  8. Oh...heavenly.

  9. Happy (slightly belated) Valentine's Day - those cakes look like the PERFECT way to celebrate.

  10. Awww...that's so sweet!

    Don't you love that tortilla mold? I bought a couple years ago, and they are so fun to fill with stuff.

    Nice to see you two had a good Valentine's...

  11. Ana - Thanks! These made us quite happy too!

    Andrea - I've been slowly adding cayenne and ancho to all sorts of chocolate items. I love what it adds

    Anon - It was a flour tortilla. It is fully edible and tastes quite good! They get quite crispy - they are placed in a metal mold and baked.

    Cyndi - So jealous of you going to Hawaii!

    MM - Thanks!

    Rae - Good question, I put some on the freezer and let them thaw out today in the fridge. I reheated them in the oven for a couple minutes, but I think as long as you heat at half power for no more than a minute it should work in the micro!

    Mari K - You will so have to share the restaurant name with us! We love coffee ice cream!

    Crystal - Thanks!

    Mebeth - Thanks!

    Stephanie - Yes, I've had it for a few years too. Love it!

  12. oh yum!!! i am going to have to try this. hope you had a wonderful valentine's day :)