Bitter Chocolate Cakes with Basil-Ginger Ice Cream
Baked just a short time, these soft, warm chocolate cakes spill out warm soft centers when they are opened with a spoon. The ice cream adds an interesting flavor, combining basil and ginger, and lifts the dessert even further from the ordinary. To make slipping the cakes out of the molds easier, leave a tail on the parchment circle you put in the bottom of each mold, pressing it up the side of the mold; later you can grip the tail and start the cake slipping out of its mold.
- Ice Cream
- Milk - 1 cup
- Sugar - 1/4 cup
- Honey - 2 tablespoons
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1/4 cup
- Gingerroot - 1/2 inch, peeled
- Basil - 10 small leaves
- Egg Yolks - 4
- Chocolate Cakes
- Unsalted Butter - 2 tablespoons, softened
- Cocoa Powder - 2 tablespoons
- Bittersweet Chocolate - 2 ounces, chopped
- Eggs - 3
- Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Flour - 1/4 cup
- Unsalted Butter - 1/2 stick + 1 pat
- Bittersweet Chocolate - 1 oz, grated
To make the ice cream: Put all ingredients except the egg yolks in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Put the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl and whisk until completely blended together. Whisk in a large spoonful of the hot milk mixture, then whisk the egg yolks into the hot milk. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve. Let cool to room temperature; press plastic wrap on the surface and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Store in an airtight container in the freezer.
To prepare the cakes: Butter four 5-inch diameter, 1-1/2-inch deep round molds. Cut parchment paper to fit the bottoms of the molds and press the paper into the butter; butter the parchment paper. Dust with cocoa powder.
Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water. Remove from heat and set aside. Whisk the eggs and sugar until the mixture thickens enough to form a ribbon when drizzled back upon itself. Whisk in the flour, then fold in the chocolate and butter. Fill the molds 3/4 of the way to the top and place on a baking sheet. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake the cakes 4 to 5 minutes; the cakes will remain soft in the center. Remove from heat.
To serve: While the cakes are still very warm, loosen the edges from the molds and slip the cakes onto individual serving plates. Sprinkle with grated chocolate. Dust around the cakes with confectioner’s sugar. Place a quenelle of basil-ginger ice cream on each cake.