Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February Cake Odyssey

In honor of Valentine's Day, I wanted to make something special for my family.  For the first thirteen days of February, Evan has been asking me when I was going to bake the "Cake of the Month."  Anticipating the overload of chocolate hearts that would enter our home this month, I wanted to pace ourselves and not over-do it. 

Yes, even I know there is a such thing as too much chocolate, too much sweets and too much sugar!  It's hard to admit, but I do.  It's the adult in me that comes out every once in a while.

So, here's what I came up with for myself  my husband and children.  It was greatly enjoyed by one and all.  The kids especially liked the concept of having an entire cake all to themselves!

S'mores Chocolate Lava Cake
Here's What You Need:
1 stick butter, plus more for greasing

1/4 cup sugar, plus more for coating
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 large eggs plus 2 large yolks, at room temperature
1 Tablespoon flour
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
2/3 cup marshmallow cream
1 graham cracker sheet (2 squares), finely chopped

Here's What You Do:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease the inside of four custard cups, then swish some sugar around the inside of the cups until the sugar is stuck to the butter.  Place the custard cups on a large baking sheet and set aside.

In a medium bowl, microwave the butter and chocolate on medium power for 2 minutes.  Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks and sugar until foamy. Slowly whisk in the chocolate mixture.  Add the flour and whisk until completely combined.  The mixture should be rather thick by now. Fill the custard cups two-thirds full with the batter.  Place in the oven and bake until the edges are puffy.  It should take anywhere from 13 to 15 minutes.

While the cakes are baking, in a small bowl, microwave the heavy cream at high power for 30 seconds. Stir in the marshmallow cream until smooth.

Fresh from the oven and warm with ooey-gooey centers!

When the cakes are done, remove from the oven and carefully invert onto plates and drizzle the marshmallow sauce on the side. Top with the graham cracker crumbs.  If you're short on time or just have a hankering for something else, you can skip the marshmallow cream topping and just go for the ever-dependable scoop of vanilla ice cream to accompany your cakes.  BTW, a shout out to Every Day With Rachael Ray magazine.  I tore this recipe from an old copy of her publication that my Mom subscribes to.

I would also like to share a great little find that I stumbled across from one of my favorite bloggers.  Valentine Play Dough Cookie Pops are something I found on http://www.amandascookin.com/ .  I decided to omit the actual lollipop sticks for these and just serve them as regular cookies at Jenna's Valentine Party at school yesterday.  I loved how these turned out and as I was making them, I realized that you could customize the color to any holiday; Red/green for Christmas, red/white/blue for the Fourth of July, pastels for Easter, etc.  The kids really liked them and I liked that they were so simple and easy to serve. 

I pinched these into heart shapes, but for other holidays, just leave them in the round shape they make when you coil the dough.  These take a bit longer, but for the kids' holiday parties at school...totally worth it!

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