It’s the weekend! After you’re done with work, the gym, and happy hour, let’s talk dessert! Tonight: French Fondant Cake with Ganache Center, or, fondant au chocolat.
Gooey, super-chocolaty, warm and delicious, a French fondant au chocolat looks very similar to the American Lava Cake, but it’s actually a bit different (and more delicious, we think!). The American version is based on the French Moelleux cake. The main difference? Fondant cakes have a piece of chocolate or ganache in the middle, which melts into liquid chocolate goodness. Think of it as the Lava Cake, reloaded.
The beauty of the lava cake is that it only LOOKS complicated to make. In reality, it couldn’t be easier. There are no mysterious, hard-to-find ingredients or complicated, intricate techniques. We know, the results look so professional and restaurant-quality, it’s hard to believe, but it’s true! All you really need in terms of “special equipment” are ramekins or pudding molds (also called darioles). The batter is simple (and delicious!): chocolate, eggs, butter, sugar, and a tiny bit of flour to give it body and texture. The only semi-tricky part is melting the chocolate, which needs to be done in a double boiler or “bain marie”. What that really means is that you melt it slowly so you don’t burn it.
In our recipe, we go one step further and teach you how to make your own chocolate ganache. Don’t be intimidated! It’s really quite simple and gives the molten cakes an extra layer of yumminess. However, if you’re short on time (or energy), just ignore those steps and replace the home-made ganache with a piece of regular baking chocolate, it will work just as well.
Prepping these ahead is a total breeze – you can even make them one day ahead and keep them in the fridge or freezer. The cook in about 15 minutes, so you can turn the oven during appetizers, pop them in the oven while you’re clearing the plates, and voila, have these stunning little cakes on the table before any of you guests even say, “what’s for dessert?”
Serve these with a scoop of ice cream, and your favorite sauce. It’s Friday and we love a boozy sauce, so we whipped up a Caramel Frangelico Sauce to accompany them. A guaranteed crowd-pleaser, this is the dessert of dreams!
TGIF, fellow foodies!
- 2 oz bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao), chopped or in pistoles
- 2 fl. oz. Cream
- 7 oz. bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao), cut into small cubes
- 3.5 oz. butter
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 4 oz. confectioner’s sugar
- 1.5 oz. all-purpose flour
- Cocoa powder, to decorate
- 4 buttered ramekins
- Place the 2 oz. of chopped chocolate in a medium heatproof mixing bowl.
- In a small saucepan, heat the cream until just boiling. Pour it over the chocolate, mixing until the chocolate is fully melted and the cream is integrated.
- Let cool at room temperature, then take to the fridge for 30 minutes, then further cool it in the freezer for another 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Grease the ramekins or molds by brushing them with butter, using a kitchen brush and using upward motions. Reserve in the fridge.
- Melt the remainder 7 oz. of chocolate with the butter in a Bain Marie or double boiler, mixing gently until fully melted. Reserve warm.
- Whisk the eggs, yolks and sugar until the mix is frothy and pale. Sift in the flour; add the melted butter and chocolate, mixing with a spatula using gentle, enveloping movements to fully blend all the batter ingredients.
- Fill about 2/3 of the molds with the batter.
- Take the (now solid) chocolate ganache out of the freezer and cut 4 small cubes (about 1 inch square). Insert one into the center of each mold, and then cover with the chocolate batter until the mold is full.
- Place the molds on a baking tray and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes at 400 F (you’ll see that will rise).
- Remove from the oven, and carefully unmold by tipping over a plate or bowl.
- Serve with a scoop of ice cream, and some Caramel Frangelico Sauce. Sprinkle with cocoa powder or icing sugar for decoration.
This recipe also includes directions to make your own chocolate ganache for the center. If you're short on time - or energy - use a piece of baking chocolate instead, and start the recipe at Step 4.