Saturday was my sister Hellen’s birthday. Her husband called to ask if I wanted to join them for sushi, and of course I said, “Well, yeah!” Off we went to our favorite sushi joint, which just happens to be midway between their house in the mountains and their son’s apartment in LA and– very conveniently– right around the corner from my house. My nephew Will and his fiancée were to join us, but they still hadn’t arrived by the time we were on our last roll. They finally made it just as the host seated someone else in their places. So they decided to order to-go and join us at my house, a mere three blocks away. I left while they waited for their order and decided on the way home to make my sis a birthday cake.
We all know you can’t make a birthday cake in that short a time, but I have a fabulous molten chocolate souffle recipe that takes about half an hour to make. Lucky for me, I had a 17-ounce bar of semisweet chocolate from Trader Joe’s but not quite enough eggs, so my sister Dee ran down to the 7-11 and grabbed a dozen eggs. In the five minutes it took her to get eggs, I had the chocolate and butter already melting in the double boiler .
She got back and I separated the eggs. I had it assembled in just a few minutes and in the oven before the rest of the group arrived. So, in case you need a quick but terrific dessert, here’s the recipe:
Molten Chocolate Cakes (4 servings)
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1 tbls Frangelico
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
5 tbls sugar
1 tsp vanilla
large pinch of salt
1 tbls flour
1/2 cup chilled whipping cream
Generously butter 4 soufflé dishes (3/4 cup) and arrange on baking sheet. Stir chocolate and butter in heavy saucepan until smooth and stir in Frangelico. Cool 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Using electric mixer beat eggs, yolks, 4 tablespoon sugar, vanilla, salt in medium bowl until very thick ribbon falls when beater is lifted (about 6 minutes). Sift on flour and fold in. Next, fold in chocolate mixture and divide between dishes, filling completely. (This is a great recipe for dinner parties because it can be made a day ahead. Cover loosely and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before baking; failing to do so will result in flat souffles — never a good thing!)
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake cakes until tops are puffed and dry and a tester inserted into the center comes out with moist batter still attached, about 15 minutes. Cool cakes 5 minutes.
Beat cream and 1 tablespoon sugar in small bowl until firm peaks form. Top cakes with whipped cream and serve warm.
I doubled the recipe, but I needn’t have; it was way too much after sushi! I own a dozen clear 3/4 cup soufflé cups, but I think I need to buy a set of even smaller ones so I can make a single recipe and not end up throwing out eight half-eaten soufflés. Oh, yeah, and I need to buy some dang birthday candles; apparently I don’t own any!