Sunday, January 1, 2012

Aztec Chocolate Cakes and Desanta-tizing the house

January 1st brings a bit of a let down around here.  It is dark (have I told you that yet?), it is cold (-40º today), the holidays are over and it's time to put the Santas away for another year.  I LOVE Santa. I have them everywhere, smalls ones, 3 foot ones, tiny ones.  Everyone knows I love Santa, so much so that I can't remember a year when someone didn't give me a new Santa for my collection.  This year it was a Santa carrying a wine bottle and a bunch of grapes from my new neighbor, Suzanne (hmm, do you think that says something about me?)  I can't even begin to guess how many Santas I have.  Maybe next December I'll have a contest to see who can guess the closest, of course that would mean I would have to count them all.
Shelves of Santas in the kitchen.

So because of the aforementioned reasons, I believe it is a good day to bake chocolate cake.  I can't make a whole chocolate cake because I'm really the only one who will eat it.  Dave will eat a piece and then I'm left with the whole cake.  Then later this week, I have a birthday and will have a cake then too, so a whole cake is out of the question.
These small cakes are perfect.  They are a rich chocolate with a hit of cayenne and a smooth chocolate ganache over the top.  The recipe makes two big single servings or 4 smaller servings.  The sweet and the spicy are the perfect thing to warm you up and shake off the fact that the holidays are over, New Year's resolutions are going to start soon and it's time to desanta-tize the house.
Happy New Year!

Aztec Chocolate Souffle Cakes
adapted from Pampered Chef, Cooking for two & more, 2006

1 tsp. plus 3 Tbsp. sugar, divided
1 Tbsp. butter
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (at least 60% cocoa, I use a 72% cocoa bar)
2 eggs, separated
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Chocolate glaze (optional, see below)

Preheat oven to 400º F.  Spray two (or four small) souffle or pyrex prep bowls.  You could use cupcake pans also.  Coat the inside with 1tsp. sugar, tapping out excess, set bowls aside.  Melt butter and chocolate in microwave, uncovered, on hight 1 minute, stirring every 15 seconds.  Set aside to cool.

Beat egg whites until foamy.  Continue beating, gradually adding remaining 3 Tbsp. sugar.  Continue beating until soft peaks form.  Whisk egg yolks, cinnamon and cayenne pepper into cooled chocolate mixture.  Gently fold in egg whites.

Pour batter evenly into prepared bowls.  Bake 16-18 minutes or until cakes spring back slightly when gently pressed with fingertip.  Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes.  Turn cakes out onto serving plates.  Serve with chocolate glaze, if desired.

Chocolate glaze
1/4 heavy cream
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Place cream and sugar in microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on high for 45 seconds or until hot.  Add vanilla extract, chocolate, cinnamon and cayenne.  Stir until smooth.  Drizzle over cakes.

Use really good chocolate, that is the main flavor of this cake so don't scrimp.

It is easier to separate eggs when they are cold, but let them warm to room temp. before beating the whites for maximum volume.

Two cakes are really big, they are very rich.

If you make 4 cakes, adjust the bake time.  I start checking them after 10 minutes of baking.
Small Santas lining the stairs.

January 1, 2012   Daylight 3 hours, 58 minutes, 41 seconds     Current Temp.  -40º F

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that's quite a collection! Those Santas look so cute sitting on the staircase! And about the can you go wrong with a chocolate cake?! This just might have to go on my giant list of recipes to try! :)


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