Molten Cakes with Sour Cherry Sauce
I will keep this short. I thought about making this dessert because I love molten cake, but also because I was dreaming of the sour cherry packed layered chocolate cake my Grandma used to make, so naturally I started thinking about a way in which the two would come together nicely. Since her chocolate cake was drenched in lemon and orange syrup and had sour cherry spread wedged between the layers, I made a sauce with all of these, to which I added a splash of cognac, which gave everything a nice and slightly boozy hint. If you’re serving this to kids, you can skip the alcohol.
I honestly see no downside to making this dessert. First off, it’s easy to make. Then, what’s great about it is that it can be made ahead. You could make the batter for the cakes it in the morning, divide it between the molds and refrigerate them before popping them in the oven. The sauce is not difficult to make and can also be prepared ahead and refrigerated. Baking time is about 15 minutes for the cakes, so you can put them in the oven just before bringing them out, since they should be served warm, with a generous dollop of the sour cherry sauce on top.
Without further ado, I give you the recipe. As for credits, the molten cakes I make after a recipe that was given to me years ago by a good friend’s mother and the sauce was made from scratch, by adding stuff and tasting, then adding some more and writing everything down as I went.
For the Sour Cherry Sauce:
900g/2 pounds sour cherries, washed and pitted
Juice from two oranges
Juice from one lemon
60g/½ cup granulated sugar (I used raw cane sugar, but feel free to use whatever kind you like)
50ml/½ cup cognac (brandy or even whisky work fine as well)
In a saucepan set over medium heat, bring all the ingredients to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until cherries start to pop and break down. Once they have become mushy and you can easily break them with a fork, remove from the pan with the aid of a slotted spoon and transfer to a blender. Blend cherries until they become a paste. Meanwhile, allow the liquid from the pan to reduce and thicken, about 10-15 minutes more. To see if it’s done, dip a metal spoon in the sauce; if the sauce sticks to the back of the spoon, it’s done. Just before removing from the heat, add the blended cherries to the pan, mix everything with a wooden spoon, then transfer to a bowl and allow to cool before covering and refrigerating until you will be using it.
For the cakes:
115g/1 stick butter, cubed plus more for greasing
115g/4 oz. minimum 70% dark chocolate pellets or chopped
4 large organic free-range eggs
115g/2/3 cups granulated sugar (I used raw cane sugar, but feel free to use whatever kind you like)
50g/½ cup flour
Start by greasing 6 molds (you can also use a muffin tin) with butter and sprinkling them with flour, tapping out the excess, then place them in the fridge. In a bowl set over a pan of simmering water (the bowl should not touch the water), melt the chocolate and the butter. Mix with a spatula until combined and remove from the hob. Allow the chocolate mixture to cool for about 10 minutes. In the bowl of your stand mixer or with the aid of a hand-held mixer, beat the eggs and the sugar until fluffy and doubled in volume, about 5 minutes. With mixer running, add the chocolate mixture in a slow and steady stream and mix just until well combined. Sift the flour over this mixture and with the aid of a spatula, mix just until everything is combined. Divide the batter evenly between the molds. Cover with cling film and refrigerate until ready to use. When you’re ready to bake them, just preheat the oven to 180C/350F and bake the cakes for about 15 minutes, making sure that the center is still squidgy. Remove from the oven, carefully run a knife around the edge of each cake, then turn onto serving plates and dollop sour cherry sauce on top. You need to remove from the molds as soon as they are out of the oven, otherwise they will continue to bake in the molds and you might get a brownie instead of a molten cake.