If you can’t imagine Valentine’s Day without chocolate, consider adding these mini-cakes to the menu. Served warm with red wine raspberry sauce, they are almost molten inside, with crunchy edges. The recipe makes four, so you can have one cake apiece with your sweetie and save the other pair for lunch the next day. When cool, they taste like a super-rich brownie.
- ½ cup dry red wine
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ pint (6 ounces) raspberries
- 5 ounces (155 g) unsalted butter
- 5 ounces (155 g) bittersweet chocolate (65% to 75% cacao), chopped
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso or coffee powder
- 2 large whole eggs plus 1 egg white
- ¾ cup (185 g) granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch sea salt
- ½ cup (60 g) sifted all-purpose flour
- Confectioner’s sugar for serving
Whipped cream or ice cream, optional
Makes 4 servings
Prepare the sauce: Put the wine and sugar in a small saucepan and warm over medium-low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced to 1/3 cup. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate several hours until cold. Set aside 1 dozen raspberries for garnish, then put the remainder in a small food processor or blender. Puree until smooth, then add the chilled red wine syrup and puree again. Pass the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the seeds, pressing firmly with a spatula.
Prepare the cakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter and flour the insides of four 1-cup (250-ml) ramekins, shaking out excess flour.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and espresso powder. Let stand until the chocolate melts, then whisk to blend.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg white. Add the sugar gradually, whisking well. Add the vanilla and salt. Whisk until the sugar is no longer grainy. Add the chocolate mixture and whisk to blend. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared ramekins. They will be about two-thirds full. Set them on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake until the cakes are well risen and mounded on top, with many surface cracks, 30 to 32 minutes.
Protecting your hands with oven mitts, immediately invert a cake onto an individual dessert plate, then quickly invert onto another dessert plate so that the cake is right side up. Repeat with the remaining cakes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
Spoon the red wine raspberry sauce around the warm cakes, dividing it evenly. Scatter the reserved raspberries on top of the sauce. Dust the surface of the cakes with confectioner’s sugar. Serve immediately, with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.