Taking a picture comes easy when the subject is this lovely. After cooling, I stacked these lovelies onto a cake stand to store. I could not resist but to take a few pictures.
These cupcakes are a house favorite. The recipe is from a chef I have followed for years, Michael Chiarello. We have dined at Chef Chiarello's restaurant in Napa Valley, California, known for his Italian yet California influenced food. In this post, I share his recipe from his cookbook titled, At Home With Michael Chiarello.
The cakes are irresistible served warm. Eat one, or two, as soon as they are cool enough to do so. In the next days, simply warm them in the microwave for 10 seconds to melt the chocolate center. One more thing, don't freak out when you review the ingredient list to include mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is an emulsion of eggs and oil, both normal ingredients for baking. This just takes a shortcut.
Flourless Molten Chocolate Cupcakes
1 stick of unsalted butter (8 tablespoons)
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces dark chocolate baking bar, I use Ghirardelli 60% cacao
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup mayonnaise, I use Hellman's
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cocoa powder for dusting the cupcake liners
Powdered sugar for dusting the finished cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line 2 12-cup standard cupcake pans with paper liners, using the ones that are double lined with both paper and foil. Lightly spray the liners with non-stick cooking oil, then dusting the inside of each liner with the cocoa powder.
Working with a small saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and cream to the pan. Allow this to heat for a few minutes, stirring to combine. While this is heating, chop 5 of the 8 ounces of chocolate into small bits. Set aside the remaining 3 ounces of chocolate for use at the end of the recipe. Place the 5 ounces of chopped chocolate into a small heat-proof bowl. When the cream and butter are combined and hot but not boiling, pour the mixture over the chopped chocolate. Allow the cream mixture to melt the chocolate without stirring for a few minutes. Then stir to combine into a smooth chocolate blend. Set aside.
Prepare the remaining 3 ounces of chocolate for use by breaking or cutting into 24 pieces. These pieces will be added to each baked cupcake at the end of baking. Set aside until the cakes are out of the oven.
In a separate larger bowl with a pour spout, whisk the eggs, sugar, mayonnaise, salt, cornstarch and cinnamon until just combined. Pour the now cool chocolate blend into the larger bowl with the egg mixture, gently mixing until fully combined. Pour the batter into each lined cupcake cup, filling each three-quarters to the top, leaving room for each to puff up when baked.
Place the filled cupcake pans into the preheated oven, baking the cakes for 30 minutes. Each cake will be puffed with the tops still a bit shiny. The cakes are best just a bit under baked. Remove the trays from the oven. Immediately insert 1 chocolate piece from the remaining 3 ounces into the center of each cupcake. I use a small spoon to help push each piece deeply into the center of the cake. The chocolate will melt in the center of each hot cupcake. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 15 minutes before removing them to a rack to cool until ready to eat. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!
Makes 21-24 cupcakes.