I just celebrated my 43rd birthday. It was kind of a shock. I’ve barely adjusted to being 40, and now, I’m in my mid-40s. I don’t feel that old, but then, everyone over 30 says that.
As usual, G. and spent my birthday at my mom’s house in North Carolina. My mom made my grandmother’s lemon cream pie for my birthday. It has become a kind of tradition because we both love it, but the men don’t. If we make the pie when we’re together, it saves us from having to eat the whole thing. (Not that I couldn’t eat a whole pie, or that my mom couldn’t. But really, we shouldn’t.)
This year, however, I also wanted to do something new. Just before my birthday, I checked Bon Appetit’s ebook on desserts out of the library. It included a recipe for molten chocolate mint cakes. I love chocolate mint chip ice cream, and I’d never made a molten cake, so this seemed like the perfect thing to try — a birthday adventure in the kitchen.
I emailed my mom the list of ingredients, with the idea that I’d make the cakes once we got down south. Since the pie was waiting, I put it off for a few days, and we had the cakes on the last day of my vacation. They are a great special occasion dessert.
Chocolate Mint Pudding Cakes
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (do not exceed 61 percent cacao), chopped
½ cup unsalted butter, cut into at least four pieces
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoons peppermint extract
¼ teaspoon salt
Peppermint stick or mint chocolate chip ice cream
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter six ¾-cup ramekins.
Stir the chocolate and butter in a small, heavy saucepan over low heat until it’s melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
Beat eggs, egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until slightly thickened (about 5 minutes). Add flour and beat until blended. Add chocolate mixture, peppermint extract and salt; beat just until incorporated.
Divide the chocolate mixture among the prepared ramekins, and place them on a baking sheet.
Bake the cakes until the edges are set, but the center looks shiny and still moves slightly when the ramekins are gently shaken and a tester inserted in the center comes out with wet batter attached, about 11 minutes. Run a small knife around each cake to loosen.
Place a small plate atop 1 ramekin. Using oven mitts or pot holders, hold the plate and ramekin firmly together and invert, allowing the cake to settle on the plate. Repeat with the remaining cakes.
Serve each cake with a scoop of peppermint or mint chocolate chip ice cream.
Make ahead: The batter can be made 1 hour ahead. Let the cakes stand at room temperature and bake just before serving.