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About a week ago I watched Julie and Julia and Saturday for the first time I got just a glimpse into what it would be like to take on such a challenge.  I cooked an entree and baked a dessert, prepped and cleaned up, and took pictures in just under five hours.  I was constantly mixing, washing, transporting, and photographing.  I was concerned that the smell of the entree would linger when I made the dessert, but we all know that dessert aromas win out!

I haven’t shared much about myself, but it’s about time that things change.  My friends will tell you that I don’t like to share about myself unless someone asks.  Well, I will assume that you are asking since you’re reading this blog.  I love chocolate cake!  Ok, that isn’t very personal but it’s true.  I will search delis and bakeries the world over (once I have the opportunity to travel the world) for the best chocolate cake.

When I came across this recipe from a Top Chef cookbook, I knew that I had to make it!  I pondered over a low-fat cheesecake, but I couldn’t resist chocolate.  I can’t confess to watching Top Chef very often because I only watch it when I go to the gym.  I guess I need to work out for inspiration!

The raspberry coulis is very easy to make and tastes delicious with the vanilla creme fraiche.

I had no idea what creme fraiche was but was very fortunate to find it at Trader Joe’s.  I am a big fan of whipped cream, but I have never tasted whipped cream so delicious.

I read that you can substitute sour cream which I suppose makes sense since creme fraiche is a french soured cream.  It seems much more silky and richer than sour cream though.

Be careful not to over beat the whipped cream.  I was waiting for medium peaks to form and didn’t watch the texture of the whipped cream.  It still tasted delicious but wasn’t as smooth as I’d hoped.

Now for the best part, chocolate!  You’ll want bittersweet or dark chocolate.  The bars made for baking or chocolate fondue seem to work the best.

You’ll need a double boiler to melt the chocolate and butter, but if you don’t have one two pans will work.  You melt the chocolate over simmering water instead of directly on the stove.

The batter uses beaten egg yolks as a leavening agent.  My recipe failed to direct me to add the melted chocolate, but I figured it wouldn’t be a molten chocolate cake otherwise. 🙂

The chocolate tends to separate from the batter, so keep stirring as you pour into the pans.  A large muffin tin works great instead of individual pans.  Be careful not to overcook the cakes.  You want the sides set but the center soft.  This seems a bit tricky but  either way you will have extremely moist cake.

Be sure to invite some friends over to enjoy the cake.

And don’t worry about clean up.  It will take care of itself!

This recipe is taken from Top Chef: the cookbook  (Brett Martin – Liana Krissoff – Leda Scheintaub – Chronicle Books – 2008)


Raspberry Coulis:

  • 1 pint fresh raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Vanilla Creme Fraiche:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespons creme fraiche
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Molten Chocolate Cakes:

  • 9 ounces bittersweet (or dark) chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for the baking cups
  • 4 large eggs plus 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

To Serve:

  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • Fresh mint leaves


For the Raspberry Coulis:

  • Put all the ingredients in a food processor and puree.  Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pushing down on the solids.  Discard the seeds.  Taste and add more sugar or lemon juice if needed.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the Vanilla Creme Fraiche:

  1. Put the cream in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Add the creme fraiche, vanilla, almond extract, and granulated sugar and beat until medium peaks form.
  2. Refrigerate while you make the chocolate cakes.

For the Molten Chocolate Cakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 deg. F.  Butter eight 4- 6- ounce ramekins or individual muffin cups.
  2. In the top of a double boiler, combine the chocolate and butter and place over barely simmering water.  Stir until melted.  Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and yolks until frothy.  Add the sugar and continue beating until doubled in volume.  Beat in the flour.  (Fold in the melted chocolate.)  Divide the batter among the ramekins.  Bake until the sides are set but the center remains soft, 11 to 14 minutes.

To Serve:

Run a small knife around the cakes to loosen, and turn the cakes onto plates.  (or a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper).  Spoon raspberry coulis around the cakes and top with a dollop of creme fraiche.