Easy creamy French chocolate fondant cake
Cakes are not my favorite dish to make because they require precise measurements. As you know, I particularly enjoy freedom and creativity in my cooking. However, I do find ways to add my own touch by slightly changing the recipe, while keeping the mandatory proportions.
What is often less discussed is how to pick a good cake recipe.
I have 2 shortcuts to share with you:
- First, the mention of pinch of salt in the recipe: Salt? In a cake? Yes, my dear reader:) The mention of salt will already indicate that your baker knows about taste balance and how salt can enhance taste even in sweet dishes.
- Comments or site authority: for French foods, I really like the French site marmiton.org which usually has a lot of reviews. For instance, for proportions, I used this recipe
To customize the cake, it is important to keep the original proportions, but you can add some flavoring ingredients. For instance, in mine, I added a coarse almond powder for texture and a bit of coffee to reinforce the dark chocolate aroma. Don't worry, it is not a mocha cake by any means. Adding coffee to the cake batter will just deepen the taste of the chocolate, giving it a bit of complexity. I also usually like to reduce sugar as I often prefer less sweet cake than most people. In baking with less sugar, Joanna Chang explains that you can usually reduce sugar by 10% without affecting the proportions of the cake.
Easy creamy French chocolate fondant cake
Indulge in this creamy French chocolate fondant cake. Perfect for a dinner party or a family treat. A pinch of salt and a shot of espresso bring out the rich chocolate flavor. Customize with almond powder and reduced sugar. Recipe tested and approved by a creative cook.
NB: In italic the ingredients I added or modified to improve the recipe, compared to the original Marmiton directions.
For the cake:
- 1.25 cups or 200 grams of pastry dark chocolate
- 1/4 cup or 100 grams of butter
- 1 shot of expresso coffee (for kids perhaps skip the coffee?)
- Half a cup or 50 grams of flour (all purpose is fine here)
- Half a cup or 50 grams of coarse almond powder. Extra fine works as well, but coarse almond powder will bring in a bit of interesting texture. You can also chop some almonds as an alternative.
- Half a cup or 90 grams of sugar
- 3 eggs
- Pinch of salt
To coat the cake tin:
- A teaspoon of butter
- 1 tablespoon of cacao powder
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- Cut the chocolate and butter into small cubes. Place them in a pot on low heat to melt. Be careful, you do not want to burn the chocolate. Thankfully, adding fat such as butter will allow to coat the chocolate to make it less likely to burn. That’s the reason one you do not need to do in the bain-marie in this recipe (so easy!).
- Whisk together the eggs and the sugar until they become light yellow. I used my kitchen aid robot for 5min whisk attachment, but you can do it by hand as well, of course.
- In a separate bowl combine the dry rest ingredients: flour, almonds, salt.
- Add the low temperature melted chocolate and butter progressively to the eggs and sugar (make sure the chocolate is not super-hot or it will scramble the eggs). Add the coffee and stir to combine (I used the paddle attachment this time, but a spoon works perfectly).
- Add the dry ingredients progressively and stir just enough to combine. You do not want to stir the cake too much at this stake to keep it light (stirring to much will activate the gluten in the flour and make the cake thought).
- Coat the cake tin with the rest of the butter and tap in the dark cacao powder. You want dark cacao powder instead of the usual flour to avoid white traces on your beautiful dark chocolate cake. I used a spring form round cake-tin of around 20cm. If you do not use spring form, you will need to line the bottom with cooking paper to make it easier to unmold.
- Pour the cake batter into the cake tin.
- Cook for 20min, the center should be still slightly undercooked for maximum creaminess.
- Allow the cake to get cold before unmolding, to allow your dessert to regain a bit of structure (about 15min for me).