Nov 9, 2009

Baby Chocolate Oblivions

This picture says it all. How do you feel about unvarnished chocolate? If the idea of something that is the essence of pure, rich chocolate, enriched by butter and saved from heaviness by the addition of beaten eggs, this cake will be your idea of heaven. If that description sounds over the top, then this is probably not the cake for you.
Compared to last week's various buttercream fiascos, these baby cakes are simplicity itself: Melt together a bit of sugar and a lot of high-quality butter and chocolate,

heat a half-dozen beaten eggs until they're lukewarm,

and then beat them again until they've tripled in size and gone from egg-yolk yellow to eggnog cream.

Then fold the eggs into the chocolate.

Actually getting them baked was much tricker than mixing them up. I had two six-cup silicone muffin pans instead of one twelve-cup pan, and an ancient roasting pan that was just a hair too small to hold both pans without smooshing them up a bit. Fortunately, because they're silicone, they smooshed easily.

But the really tricky part was getting the pans and the rack out of the roasting pan, which had hot water on the bottom, without a) burning your hands, b) getting hot water on the cakes, c) accidentally squirting more water on the cakes when trying to pull water out of the pan with a bulb baster, or d) all of the above. Note to self: throw that miserable cheap bulb baster away and get one that works. Also, Rose says that the cakes just twist easily out of the pans. I didn't think it was that easy, and many of the cakes left little pieces behind. This was not all bad, of course, because I was forced to eat all these little leftover pieces. And eventually, I got them all out of the pans, and even the ones that had absorbed a bit of hot water seemed none the worse for wear.

I invited a few neighbors over to test these cakes. Fortunately, they were all chocolate lovers. These baby Oblivions is that they come within just a hair of being too much--too rich, too chocolatey, too fudgy. But even the small piece of cake is probably too much. With the first bite, you may think this is the most delicious thing you've ever eaten. By the tenth bite, you're not sure you can, or should, eat another forkful. When I took the rest of the cakes into work, I noticed that everyone dived into theirs with great enthusiasm, but not everyone ate the whole piece. Even with these provisos, my final verdict is that this cake is chocolate with a soul.


faithy said...

Marie, i like how you describe this cake "this cake is chocolate with a soul"! :) Very apt!

Anonymous said...

These little cakes simply look like a chocolate lovers dream.

doughadear said...

Anonymous is me.

Patricia @ ButterYum said...

Great job Marie. I loved reading this post. My silicone pans haven't arrived yet, although I ordered them weeks ago. Hopefully I'll get them this week. Can't wait to give these a try.

hector said...

Marie, you are hired to author a cookbook or better yet to be a cookbook critic. Eggyolk to eggnog did it for me!

I also fear unmolding with silicone, been the most non stick surface, the physics and mechanics are very different than metal pans.

With cakes containing chocolate (cocoa butter), I would unmold when cooled to just above the cacao butter nelting point (82oF???)

For butter cakes, till butter melting point (65oF?)

For oil cakes, refrigerate first!

A good trick for chocolate and butter cakes is to cool them at room temp, then refrigerate overnight (till the centers are cold), then take them to warm room temp (80oF, warm spot in the kitchen or oven) for 10 minutes when the outside (silicone touching sides) melts, thus unmold popping right out cake is cold firm, but sides are soft and slidable.

I don't have a dishwasher, so I noticed the way silicone becomes non stick, is by attracting oil to its surface and this doesn't wash off easilly, even with hot water silicone remains greasy! So this is the principle of making silicone non stick, by unmolding when this surface grease is soften.

Ok, this is really too much poesy for what really is, in summary, just cool the cake unmolded, then unmold when totally cooled or at around 80oF in a warm kitchen.

Also, if you buy the best, not all silicone is made the same. I find lekue, paderno, and gastoflex silicones the best, they are sturdy but yet very flexible.

Anonymous said...

If you're in need of a quick roasting pan of a certain size, you can always buy those cheap foil ones at the grocery and set them on top of a half sheet pan.

Julie said...

Very enjoyable post, Marie. What kind of chocolate did you use? I also find it difficult to unmold silicone, I'm going to try Hector's suggestion of chilling the cakes.

PAM said...

Great post Marie, I dipped my molds (after chilling) in hot water for a minute and the cakes popped right out. "Chocolate with a soul" very appropriate.

Marie said...


You are right--I guess they'd also be a chocolate hater's nightmare.

Too bad you didn't get them in time for this week's cake--I always like to see how you interpret a recipe.

Thanks for the hints. I'm totally sold on silicone for some things (silicone spatulas are the best!), but I'm still not sure about as baking pans. I'll try your suggestions next time.

Jenn said...

Great job Marie! I love the post (as always) and the pictures. Love how you call it "chocolate with a soul." I posted mine as well.

Marie said...

Good idea! Now that you mention it, it seems obvious but I never thought of it.

I used Valrhona, but I also like Scharffenberger a lot. I also have some chocolate that I bought with Woody in bulk--not sure of the breand, but it's quite good.

Sugar Chef,
OK, it sounds like chilling really helps. Have you compared the results between just chilling and chilling and then a quick hot bath?

evil cake lady said...

excellent post! chocolate with a soul, indeed. luckily your pans smooshed and that you got them out without a lot of drama. that part of the recipe made me nervous.

hector, thanks for all the advice!

Vicki said...

Well done! I'm thinking these would be the perfect size made in mini silicone cupcake pans. Just enough rich chocolate indulgence!

Marie said...

You know, I almost took that "chocolate with a soul" description out because I thought it sounded too hokey, but when I looked at the transformation between the bar of chocolate and the baby oblivion, it was the best explanation I could come up with.

Luckily for me, Jim wasn't in the kitchen taking pictures of me struggling with the pans, the boiling water, and the useless bulb baster. It made me very nervous too!

I think that's a brilliant idea! A tiny one would still leave people wanting more.

Patricia @ ButterYum said...

Hold the presses, I'm a happy baker today... a box was outside when I returned from running some errands today. Tucked inside were my two new pans. I'm headed into the kitchen right now! Yea!!!

Jenn said...

@ Patricia - WOOHOO! Have fun baking!

@ Marie - thanks for the comments. You see that I started with "pretty rich" then at the end of my post I said "very rich" - :). It's deadly rich!

Melinda said...

Now, what exactly were you doing with that turkey baster? Sorry, I didn't get that part!
Your little chocolate guys look so innocent. Fancy that they could actually make a chocolate lover stop eating? That is chocolate with a soul and a plughole!

Rebecca said...

some great tips for using silicone pans... thanks everyone! I'm with you Marie, I'm not sold on them yet, but I will try them again and test out some of these suggestions... I did chill my cakes first and then used a hot dishtowel to try to get them to slide out... it worked for a couple but then I walked away for a moment and left the towel in place and melted a couple of them a little too much!

I found these rich, yes, but also they have a certain lightness about them... that's what everyone here loved about them, that they are like mousse rather than a heavy cake... I had no problems polishing off a whole one and one of my guests ate two in a row! a true chocolate lover! :)

Mendy said...


Well done as usual Marie. The finished picture of the baby oblivion on the bottom of your post really looks tempting.

azrina said...

I completely agree with hector. you do coin the best phrases and hilariously funny without even trying. however do you manage that ?

anyhow .. i am so glad i made mine in mini silicone cups as it was just enough soul for a person. and i so agree with you that the getting ready to bake was far far trickier than preparing it ..

i even dropped one of the babies in the water while I was trying to lift them out of the hot water .. sigh!

anitsirK said...

I haven't actually tried unmolding mine yet. Since I'm planning on serving them on Saturday, I froze them still in their little individual silicone cupcake liners, and I'm thinking I'll leave the job of "unmolding" to my guests. Given them each a spoon and let them dig in! The other advantage to using the individual liners was that they were fairly easy to get out of the water bath: I used tongs (gently) while lifting each baby with a pancake turner onto a cooling rack. On top of that, I don't have a roasting pan big enough for a one-piece cupcake pan, so these were fairly easy to arrange into into a smaller pan for a water bath.

Marie said...

So glad they arrived!

I can assure you I was not doing anything untoward with the turkey baster. I think that the ability to eat an entire baby chocolate oblivion without giving up should become a new test of character. If you can't eat one, you show a lack of will. If you eat two or more, you have a problem with greed. But finish one? Just right. If I ever run for office, that will be my campaign slogan.

So it sounds like chilling and using a hot dishtowel is perfect--except for the human factor. As is true, I guess, with many other things.

Indeed it was (tempting, I mean).

I hope you didn't throw the baby out with the bath water.
Did the mini babies look too small on the plate? Even if you served two per person, that might be a little less overwhelming than the cupcake-size piece.

You're such a good planner! It sounds like you have everything under control for Saturday dinner. Your guests have a treat in store for them.

Maria said...

This is the recipe I couldn't wait to make... and then my husband and I found a new apartment and spent this last weekend moving. I think I'm going to make them anyway, as a pinch hitter for the next recipe that's on the "allergy" list.

I'm hoping to get my cookbooks unpacked soon and join you all for the next cake. I love lemon, so how can I resist?

Marie said...

Too bad you missed, but I hope you like your new apt. I hope you put Rose's Heavenly Cakes on top of your cookbook box(es)!

Patricia @ ButterYum said...

I'll be posting my entry soon... within the hour.


Patricia @ ButterYum said...

Finally, it's up.

smartcookie said...

Love, love these!!! How fabulous! I would love to make the English Gingerbread Cake over the holidays--when can we slot that one in?

Marie said...

Absolutely beautiful!

I've got the gingerbread cake tentatively slotted on for Dec. 21--does that work for you?