These individual chocolate cakes with dulce de leche and fleur de sel came out of the oven like earth cakes. I called them earth cakes for good reasons. They were bubbling with immense energy rising to the surface. Molten lava-like dulce de leche was oozing out from the bottom. I can’t tell whether the cakes were thoroughly baked or not. However, experience tells me that they have been in the hot oven for over 15 minutes and they would certainly solidify once cooled.
The sequence of pictures showed the progression of the physical states of the cakes over a span of three to four hours. From liquid lava, to a crumbly loose cake, to a solid mass, unmolded. One thing in common, they were all seductively delicious. What stopped me from stuffing myself with the chocolatey gooey goodness was the heaviness of the cakes. A good thing, considering my waistline.
One thing that strikes me is the multi-dimensional flavor of these individual chocolate cakes with dulce de leche and fleur de sel. As the name and the ingredients of the cakes imply: there are the bittersweet chocolate, the sweet caramel of the dulce de leche and the saltiness of the fleur de sel. Besides the bitter, the sweet and the salty taste, there is also the fat from the egg yolk. As a result, the cakes cover the entire spectrum of the flavor chart, no wonder they taste so amazing.
All these flavors are in perfect harmony which gives the roundness and mellowness of the finished cakes. No one taste overpowers the others. I recalled hesitating at the moment when I had to sprinkle salt on the bottom of each cup. That doubt has dissipated; I can hardly taste the fleur de sel. If there is anything else they might need, maybe some acidity, like lemon zest or strawberry to temper the richness. Well, that’s just the opinion of one.
I wonder what the rest of the Cook-the-Book-Fridays group thinks of the cakes?
Individual Chocolate Cakes with Dulce de Leche and Fleur de SelPrint Recipe
- 8 tablespoons (4 ounces/115g) unsalted butter, cubed
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for the ramekins
- 6 generous tablespoons dulce de leche (see note)
- 1 scant teaspoon flaky sea salt, preferably fleur de sel
- 8 ounces (225g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 6 tablespoons (90g) packed light brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
Butter six ramekins or custard cups. Dust each with cocoa powder and tap out any excess. Put a heaping tablespoon of dulce de leche in each cup, then divide the flaky salt among them by sprinkling it over the dulce de leche. Put the custard cups on a baking sheet.
In a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate with the butter, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa powder and the brown sugar. Mix in the eggs, one at a time.
Divide the chocolate mixture among the custard cups and bake for 15 minutes, or until the sides are firm but the center is still shiny and quite jiggly. Let the cakes cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Note: You can find dulce de leche at well-stocked supermarkets or stores that specialize in Mexican and South American products, or you can make your own, using the recipe on David Lebovitz's website.