Dinner last week at the magical Le Chalet des Iles, in Paris' Bois de Boulonge, inspired the molten cake lover in me. After a very filling meal I didn't order dessert, but my generous friends did. I saw the Salt Caramel Molten Cake with Caramel Ice Cream arrive at the table and discreetly readied my spoon. When offered a taste, I was ready and armed! It was warm and gooey and all about the caramel. It was fabulous on its own but, since my philosophy is that everything is better with chocolate, I knew I'd adapt it. The next day back at home, I made my favorite Chocolate Molten Cake and inserted a sea salt caramel. Oh my, was it good! I added a scoop of caramel swirl ice cream on the side. It had the perfect balance of the warmth of chocolate and caramel with the cold and creamy ice cream. This is special and since it is pure, quality ingredients are important. I used Scharffen Berger chocolate and premium sea salt caramels. Regular caramels may be substituted and the softer they are, the better. You could even make a well and use a good quality caramel sauce. Just be careful not to overcook them.
Salt Caramel Molten Chocolate Cake
1/4 cup unsalted butter
8-1 inch square good quality sea salt caramels*
*Plain caramels or caramel sauce may be substituted.
8-4 ounce (or 6-6 ounce) custard cups, buttered
You can make these a few hours in advance. Be sure to refrigerate them until you are ready to bake and serve. Bake them only when you are ready to eat them, and serve immediately. Don't overcook as you will lose the pudding in the center.
Put a baking sheet in the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Fold a piece of parchment paper 4 times. Set a custard cup on it and trace the bottom. Cut out the 8 circles and butter them. Place them in the bottom of the cups.
Melt the chocolate and butter and let cool a bit. Add the sugar, eggs, salt and vanilla. Stir to combine and add the flour. Blend into a smooth batter.Fill the cups half way and place the caramel on top. If using caramel sauce, make a well and put in 1 tablespoon of the caramel sauce.Then top off the batter evenly between the cups. Quickly place on the hot baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes (12 minutes if the batter is cold). After baking take out of oven, and if needed, run a knife around the edge to loosen. Tip them out onto individual serving plates, dust with powdered sugar and serve warm with ice cream.
Salt Caramel Molten Chocolate cake recipe (pdf).