Serves 6 to 8
Individual chocolate cakes that burst with molten chocolate when you break into them with your fork—what's not to love?
To Make the Ganache
Place chopped chocolate in a large stainless steel bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil over medium-low heat and pour over the chocolate. If using liquor, reduce in a small pan by about half and add to the chocolate mixture. Stir occasionally until melted. Refrigerate until cool enough to roll into balls (one per ramekin) using a rounded tablespoon (one ounce) of ganache. You may have a bit of ganache left over to use
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the ramekins and arrange them on a baking sheet. Set aside.
To Make the Cake Batter
Place chocolates and butter in a large stainless steel bowl or the top of a double boiler and set over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, combine the eggs, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and whip at high speed until fluffy, pale yellow and more than doubled in volume, 7-8 minutes.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Fold whipped eggs in to chocolate mixture in two additions. Gently fold in the dry ingredients in two parts. Put in a small amount of batter in the bottom of each ramekin and place a ganache ball in the center. Divide the remaining batter among the ramekins, making sure to cover each ganache ball. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tops crack and the edges of the cakes are slightly springy. (Don't test for doneness.)