Oh, that Joy the Baker! I was so pleased with my (admittedly food-poisoning-induced) ten-pound weight loss… And then Joy the Baker’s “single girl melty chocolate cake” came into my life, courtesy of the Joy the Baker Cookbook. This bit’o’cake is petite and addictive and far too easy. I’ve made two versions (for the sake of science, obviously) and both made me want to make out with the cake.
Joy is wrong about one thing: this is a two-person cake. Both nights I made this cake and ate it (for science) I was unable to finish it, although I tried my best. It was silky and seductive, heavy with chocolate, simple, direct, something to think about hours after it was gone. Dear god, this cake was the best affair I’ve never had – and it was just too much. With a wee scoop of ice cream, this is a two (to four) person sweet treat.
Before I go any further, I must implore you: buy this book:
It’s everything I hoped it could be – it’s well written, engaging, informative, and full of things I wanted to make. It didn’t freak me out or make me feel inadequate; it is simply, beautifully, humorously inspiring. It’s full of things I can handle, in ways I’ve never thought of – absolutely marvelous. I was lucky enough to receive Joy the Baker’s cookbook as a KCRW angel member (another thing I implore you to go for, if you’re a KCRW listener) and I’m so thankful. I never buy baking-skewed cookbooks because I’m easily frightened, so, thanks, KCRW! (Note: KCRW is my local public radio station – the programming is stellar and you can listen, and subscribe, online.)
Okay, the recipe. You want this – you want to keep it in your virtual back pocket. This is something you can make anywhere you have access to basic ingredients and have fifteen minutes of spare time. You know how on Top Chef everyone is defeated by dessert? It’s because they don’t have Joy the Baker as an ally – her cake will make you king the lab, Top Chef champion, and the best date ever. It will make you look like a rockstar chocolate goddess. After making it twice (for the sake of science) I had the recipe memorized. It’s like having a superpower, or an edible Invisibility Snuggie. It’s awesome.
Adapted from Joy the Baker’s Single Girl Melty Chocolate Cake, found in Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes
1 tbsp butter
¼ c semi-sweet chocolate chips, or heaping ¼ c chunks
4 tsp sugar
1 tsp flour
¼ tsp instant coffee (add to melting butter and chocolate) OR
1 tsp strong-brewed coffee* (add to melting butter and chocolate) OR
Pinch orange zest (add to melting butter and chocolate) OR
Pinch cinnamon (add to flour and salt)…..and on and on.
Preheat oven to 375F and butter ¾ c or 1 c ramekin.
Heat butter and chocolate in a double boiler**. As this is melting, whisk egg and sugar vigorously in medium-sized bowl - I gave it a serious beating the second time and my tiny piece of heaven rose beautifully. When chocolate and butter have melted and combined, add to egg/sugar mixture and whisk. This will thicken. Stir in flour and salt. Pour into butter 3/4-cup ramekin and bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, checking regularly after 8 minutes.
Let the cake rest for 2-3 minutes. If you plan on turning it onto a small plate, run a knife around the edge. Or, do as I have done and set the ramekin on a folded napkin on top of a small plate (to keep it from sliding onto your legs and ruining your night).
* you’re adding liquid, so it will impact the texture and cooking time – I had trouble getting this version out of the ramekin cleanly, but the taste was so extraordinary that I’m happy to eat it directly out of the ramekin.
** or microwave, or glass bowl set above an inch of simmering water, which is what I did…
I used Scharffen Berger semi-sweet chunks; chocolate is the bulk of this dessert, so use the best you can.