Poking around the overburdened shelves of cookbooks in my garage I came across the big, beautiful volume called Death by Chocolate Cakes by Marcel Desaulniers and got it into my head that I really needed to veganize one of his particularly decadent recipes from my B.V. (Before Vegan) and R.S. (Refined Sugar) days. He called it Chocolate Heart of Darkness Cakes which should give you an idea about its rich and very, very dark and chocolatey goodness. These kind of chocolate cakes enjoyed an extended popularity in restaurants for a while – lava cakes, I guess – the kind that are all warm and melty in the middle and cakey on the outside.
I tied on my apron and pulled out the flaxseed meal (to replace the 3 eggs in the original recipe), my whole wheat pastry flour, my soy yogurt and Earth Balance (instead of butter and the egg yolk) and some stevia and maple sugar to use instead of refined, white sugar. Oh, and the almond milk with which to replace the heavy cream used in the truffles (did I mention that truffles are the first step in making these cakes?).
Batter mixed and muffin cups filled; truffles tucked into the freezer – it was show time. Into the oven went the muffin tin filled with lovely, shiny-with-chocolate batter. After five minutes it was time for deft and quick action: pushing one frozen truffle into the “heart” of each muffin cup. Then back in the oven for 20 more minutes. The first sign of trouble was that after the suggested time, the cake part was still not baked through…nor was it after an additional 10 minutes…nor after an additional five. After that, I decided they had to come out sometime whatever the consequences. After resting on a wire rack for 20 minutes, I was ready to see what I’d wrought. I ran a sharp knife around the edge of one of the cakes and I quickly realized that it wasn’t going to come gracefully out of the tin in one piece. So grabbing a spoon I simply scooped one out and put it on a plate. Warm, dusky chocolate aroma. Melting truffle center. Taste-testing ensued, revealing a very delicious, rich and chocolate…cake, sort of… The truffle was sublime, the cake had a nice crumb. Only trouble was, the cakes would never come out of the pan in perfect shape. So, they will be spooned out one by one and consumed and I will continue to tweak the recipe. I believe the fault lies in the truffle, which as hard as it is to believe, was just too large for the cakes. They overwhelmed the batter portion resulting in a cake that just couldn’t hold together.
So stay tuned. My version (perfected?) of Marcel’s Heart of Darkness cakes may be making a reappearance – this time with a recipe.