I absolutely love (LOVE!) listening to The Splendid Table on NPR. I have been a fan for as long as I can remember and it is a staple in my podcast collection for long plane rides and road trips. Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift developed this recipe for their cookbook The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper and I wanted to give it a try in my home kitchen. Boy, they weren’t kidding when they said, “If you can melt chocolate and stir, you can make these cakes.” They were so simple – albeit a bit expensive due to the required chocolate – but so worth it!
Lynne and Sally make note of the difference in baking times for different types of pans. In my kitchen, I have a dark(ish) non-stick standard metal cupcake pan and my little cakes were done at 18 minutes. They state that if you have a shiny cupcake pan that the baking time should be increased by a few minutes more.
As I said, these cakes are easy and delicious, but they can be a bit pricy due to the chocolate bars required. Don’t skimp, though. These little cakes had a deep chocolate flavor which tilted more toward the bittersweet than cloyingly sweet, but that is exactly what I like. Try to find really good quality chocolate – you won’t be sorry!
I chose to double the recipe (super easy), but I will list the ingredients just as they did, which will result in 6 cupcakes. Since I doubled the recipe, I used one Valrhona 71% bar and one Trader Joe’s 73% dark bar.
Little French Fudge Cakes
via The Splendid Table
One 3.5- or 4-ounce bittersweet chocolate bar (Lindt Excellence 70%, Valrhona 71%, Scharffen Berger 70%, or Ghirardelli 70% Extra bittersweet, in order of TSP’s preference), broken up
1 1/2-ounces unsweetened chocolate, broken up
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs plus 1 yolk (for a double recipe, use 5 whole eggs)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3 level tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
Half of a 3.5- or 4-ounce bittersweet chocolate bar, broken into bite-sized pieces
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a dark metal cupcake tin.
Combine the broken-up bittersweet chocolate and unsweetened chocolate with the butter in a heatproof bowl. Place bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir frequently until all butter and chocolate is melted and has a smooth consistency.
In a medium to large bowl, whisk together the cinnamon, vanilla, eggs and yolk, sugar, and salt until creamy. Stir in the flour to blend thoroughly. Then stir in the chocolate/butter mixture until smooth. Finally, blend the bite-sized pieces of chocolate. Pour batter into the cupcake pan, filling each three-quarters full.
Bake cakes for 16-18 minutes. Insert a knife into the center of the cupcake. It should come out with some streaks of thick batter and THAT IS OKAY. I got a little scared at first when I saw it, but after all, these are fudge cakes; they’re meant to be a bit fudgy. If you have any doubts about doneness, LRK suggests pressing the top of a cupcake to see if it is nearly firm. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool in the pan on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes to serve warm, or for 20 minutes to serve at room temperature.
Wrapped, the cakes will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, if they last that long.