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Hot fudge sauce on the bottom; deep, rich chocolate cake in the middle; gooey marshmallows on top! That’s the triple treat in this decadent riff on a mug of hot chocolate. Like lava cake, this dessert is at its best served hot from the oven. The nice part is, it bakes for about 45 minutes, giving you plenty of time to enjoy your dinner before going back to the kitchen to finish and plate the cake.
2/3 cup (4 ounces) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup (2 ounces) half and half or cream
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup (2 ounces) Dutch-process cocoa powder (we prefer our Double Dutch Cocoa)
1 1/3 cups (9 3/8 ounces) sugar
2 teaspoons espresso powder
2 1/4 cups (18 ounces) water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup (2 ounces) melted butter
24 full-size marshmallows (6 ounces)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" round or 8" square pan. Make sure whichever you use is full-sizedat least 2" deep.
To make the bottom: Combine the chocolate chips and half and half or cream in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat till the chips are soft and the cream is very hot. Remove from the microwave, and stir till you’ve made a smooth, dark sauce; just keep stirring, you’ll get there. If any unmelted chips remain, reheat briefly. Spread the sauce in the bottom of the prepared pan.
To make the middle: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa, sugar, and espresso powder. If the mixture is lumpy, sift it. Stir in the water, vanilla, and melted butter. Gently stir till everything is just combined. Pour the batter over the sauce in the pan.
Bake the cake for 40 minutes, till the top appears set and the bottom is bubbling (and making the top jiggle). Remove the cake from the oven, arrange the marshmallows evenly over the surface, and return to the oven for 3 minutes, just to soften the marshmallows. Remove from the oven, wait 2 minutes, and serve immediately. This cake is best enjoyed within 30 minutes of baking. For any leftovers, reheat briefly in the microwave.
Yield: 1 cake, about 8 to 10 servings.