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in the kitchen with: justyna’s chocolate mini-cakes

by Kristina Gill

Because I am an ardent lover of desserts, people are always surprised to learn that I’m not a fan of chocolate and definitely not gooey chocolate.  This recipe by food blogger Justyna Anna Miziolek, of the blog Love Lives in the Kitchen, however, was so good I had to instantly freeze the cakes so that I wouldn’t eat them all at once!  I believe the tortino al cioccolato, or chocolate cake with the molten center, is like the little black dress of the baking repertoire.  Everyone needs a good one.  (AC, what’s the equivalent of the “little black dress” for men??).  Here, the cakes are paired with blackberries which are in season in August in Italy, where Justyna lives.  You can use any fruit of your liking, however.  Let us know what you choose, especially if it’s an uncommon combination! –Kristina

About Justyna: Justyna Anna Miziolek grew up in the Polish countryside between Mazovia and Warsaw.  It was here that she developed her preference for natural and seasonal food and for a simple and aesthetic way of life. She moved to Milan in 2006, and started a blog last year called Love Lives in the Kitchen. Cooking, especially baking, has always been her favorite activity and she dreams of dedicating her professional life to kitchen and lifestyle one day.  She strongly believes that good food and good presentation of food is the key to success in any kind of human relation and an antidote to stressful and chaotic life.  She tries to spread this philosophy using her motto “love lives in the kitchen”.

CLICK HERE for the full recipe after the jump!

Molten Chocolate Mini-Cakes
For the Garnish:

Wild berries garnish: wash 1 cup of fresh wild berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, red currant, black currant etc.) and cut them in small pieces. Put them in a pan, add 1 tablespoon of sugar and cook on a small fire for at least 15 minutes to obtain berry sauce
Raspberry garnish: same as above but with use of raspberries only. To be served with few leaves of fresh mint (to decorate and scent the dessert)
Raspberry mousse: wash 3/4 cup of fresh raspberries, add 1 teaspoon of powdered sugar and whisk them with a hand blender. Put whisked raspberries in a sieve and press with wooden spoon in order to remove all the seeds. In a separate bowl whip 1 cup of fresh cream with 1 tablespoon of icing sugar to stiff peaks. Mix gently raspberry sauce with cream

For the Cakes

115g (1 stick) of butter + 10g (2 teaspoons) to butter the molds
115g (4 oz)  dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
115g (2/3 cup)of sugar
4 eggs
50g (1/2 cup minus 1 tbsp, or 6.5 tbsp) flour
Powdered sugar
6 cake molds of 75ml capacity each (5.3 oz or 1/3 cup)

To make the cakes

Heat the oven to 180°C (360°F).

Butter the baking molds and sprinkle them with flour, tapping out the excess.  Put them in the refrigerator.

Place the butter and chocolate in a small metal bowl over a pot of simmering water.  Alternatively, melt the two in a saucepan over very low heat.  Once the butter has melted and the chocolate is soft enough to mix, remove the bowl/pot from heat and mix with a spatula until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.  Set aside to cool, approximately 10 minutes.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, mix the eggs and sugar for 5-7 minutes to obtain a pale yellow mixture which has increased in volume.  With the mixer on low, slowly add the chocolate/butter mixture until the batter is uniform in color, stopping to scrape the bottom of the bowl halfway through.  Stop the mixer and sift the flour over the batter.  Gently incorporate the flour with a spatula or wooden spoon.

(You may prepare the cake mix up to this point, place in the molds, cover with cling wrap, and refrigerator over night.)

Remove the molds from the refrigerator and fill each one up to the edge, and place on a baking tray to catch any batter which may overflow.  Bake for 15 minutes, maximum 18 minutes.  They will have crested like muffins, don’t worry!

Remove the cakes from their molds and serve immediately with 3-4 tablespoons of garnish. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

(Food photography by Kristina Gill.  Platter with three cakes by Astier de Villatte; individual baking molds and pastry brush from Peroni; ingredients small dishes by l’atelier de madame M; “Prospérité” dessert plate (assiette à dessert) and plate with stars (assiette étoiles) for individual cakes by Le Petit Atelier de Paris; small pebble bowl (white) for individual cake by mud australia; silver spoons traditional Cambodian silverwork; white striped background Christmas wrapping paper by IKEA)

Why Justyna chose this recipe

I love giving parties and organizing dinners. For me, the most important part of every reunion is the time of dessert.  I’ve observed over the years that chocolate-based desserts are the most appreciated. The tortino al cioccolato is one of these recipes that is perfect for any kind of party: it’s fast and easy to prepare, it takes a short time to bake and it can be even prepared in advance! It’s perfect both hot and cold and always looks beautiful. You can vary the garnish every time: whipped cream or icing sugar in the winter and any kind of fruit (especially berries) in the summer. If you are not a fan of eating desserts post-dinner/late in the night you can have it with your afternoon tea or (like my husband) for breakfast. Hands down, it’s one of my favorites!

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