A lotta love. A little work.

If you find yourself in need of a little love, or a lotta love, even, for not much effort — you’re in luck.

All you need are 7 ingredients and half an hour and you can have this:

Molten Chocolate Cakes are so easy they shouldn’t even be called cake. Because cake sounds hard and these little delights aren’t. If there’s a term for “throw some stuff in a bowl and get an amazing result,” THAT’s what these should be called.

Molten Chocolate Cakes

(from Country Living, July 2011)

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for buttering ramekins

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

3 TBLS cocoa powder

3 large eggs, plus 3 large yolks

1/3 cup plus 2 TBLS granulated sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 TBLS confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, or in the top of a double boiler, melt butter and chocolate. Meanwhile, butter 4 six-ounce ramekins (or 6 four-ounce ramekins) and coat all with 2 TBLS cocoa powder; tap out excess. Transfer ramekins to a baking sheet and  set aside. Remove chocolate mixture from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, yolks, and granulated sugar. Stir in reserved chocolate mixture slowly in a thin stream so that the heated chocolate does not cook the eggs. Stir in flour and remining cocoa powder until just combined.  Divide batter among ramekins and bake until cakes are firm yet soft in center, 11-13 minutes. Transfer to a  wire rack and let cool.

Loosen cakes from ramekins by running the edge of a butter knife between cakes  and ramekins, then invert onto serving plates. Dust tops with confectioner’s sugar using a sifter for best results. Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream if you like.

Cakes will store well refrigerated in an air-tight container and can be easily re-warmed in the microwave.  Serves 4-6, or easily doubles to serve 10-12.

Tasting notes:

I overcooked mine just a bit at 14 minutes and they were soft in the center but not molten. I recommend giving it a try at no more than 11 minutes. We ate ours with vanilla ice cream, but they are wonderful, too, served plain. And I covered the left-overs with plastic wrap and they sat on the kitchen counter just fine for two days.

These chocolatey treats are wonderfully rich without being too heavy. I know Molten Chocolate Cake doesn’t sound like a light dessert, but the serving size keeps the rich chocolate manageable. They’re no heavier than a brownie, but so much better and vastly more elegant.

Invest half an hour and see for yourself. Your family and friends will give you a whole lotta love for so little effort.

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