Monday, May 6, 2013

Bomba Chocolate (Chocolate Lava Cake)

We've been reminiscing about Spain lately. We lived there for 2+ years after college, and sometimes we wonder why we ever came back. During the Spanish summers, we'd spend evenings outside at our favorite cafe near the Puerta del Sol, sipping sangria and nibbling on tapas. We'd park ourselves for hours, chatting with whomever happened to sit next to us, the heat radiating long after the summer sun had gone down. The Spanish don't hurry you, and never ask if you're ready for the check. They let you sit, and savor, and be. Spaniards teach you to slow down, to be present, and to delight in the little things. More than doing in Spain, we were just being.

One of our favorite streetside cafes in Madrid served Bomba Chocolate, also known as souffle, or maybe molten chocolate lava cake. Whatever you call it, it's a decadent crowd pleaser that will seriously impress despite its simple preparation. It's probably my favorite dessert; a rich, bittersweet cake for rich, bittersweet nostalgia. Vale? Venga!

Bomba Chocolate
Adapted from here

Makes 4 - 6 bombas, depending on size of ramekins.

This is the perfect dessert for a dinner party because you can prepare it (up to a day) in advance and then throw it in the oven 12 minutes before you're ready to eat it. If you make it in advance, make sure to bring it to room temperature before baking. I like to serve it with vanilla bean ice cream and some berries, but it's amazing on its own, or with freshly whipped cream.

12 teaspoons plus 5 tablespoons sugar
8 ounces *Lindt or other high quality bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional, but divine! - just a pinch, taste batter and make sure you can taste it, but faintly)
Small squares of *bittersweet chocolate, or one per ramekin
Ice cream, freshly whipped cream, or berries

Generously butter ramekins. Sprinkle inside of each dish with 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar.

Stir chocolate and butter in medium saucepan over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat. Using electric mixer, beat eggs, egg yolks, and remaining 5 tablespoons sugar in large bowl until thick and pale yellow, about 8 minutes. Fold 1/3 of chocolate mixture into egg mixture, then fold in remaining chocolate. Fold in flour. Stir in cayenne pepper, if using. Divide batter among ramekins. Place a small square of chocolate in the middle of each ramekin and submerge it in batter; this will ensure a runny center. (Can be made 1 day in advance. Cover with plastic and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before baking.)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place ramekins on baking sheet and bake uncovered. Watch cakes carefully, especially after 10 minutes! Bombas are ready when the edges are puffed, have started to pull away from the sides, are slightly cracked but the center 1 inch of each jiggles when ramekins are shaken gently, about 12-13 minutes. Be careful not to overcook.

Remove from oven. Using a potholder (ramekin will be hot!) place your serving plate flat on ramekin and invert cake onto dessert plate.

Top with ice cream and serve immediately. Ole!

*I use Lindt 70% Cocoa Smooth Dark. The secret to this recipe is high quality chocolate.

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