Caramelized White Chocolate Cakes

white chocolate cakes

Laura Adrian is half of the team behind Verjus, a wine bar in Paris that she runs with her partner Braden. With a little help from an adorable Boston Terrier that pops his head into the action every once in a while.

Laura worked for one of my favorite bean-to-bar chocolate makers in America, Theo chocolate in Seattle, before moving to Paris. Due to word-of-mouth, and because of the innovative yet familiar cooking, their supper club Hidden Kitchen (which they ran before opening Verjus) was deservedly booked months in advance.

Laura of Hidden Kitchen whisk

One night I was having dinner there, and Laura leaned over and said, “I’ve been making a cake with the caramelized white chocolate recipe that’s on your site. It’s pretty amazing.”


Always on the lookout for new ways to use one of my favorite recipes of all time, I was intrigued because the caramelized white chocolate has such a specific burnished flavor, similar to dulce de leche, and I was curious to taste it baked into a cake. It seemed like a great idea. And sure enough, on my next visit, she prepared these cakes for dessert and I have to say, they’re as good as they sound.

eggs and butter

She serves the cakes with a scoop of homemade ice cream or sorbet, but sometime in the future, I’m going to try poking a wayward chocolate bonbon or chocolate truffle into the center of each cake midway during baking, when the batter is just stiff enough to support a chocolate. Imagine an oozing chocolate center smack dab in the middle of each cake, which would be a nice surprise when you cut into the little cake, spilling out some of that dark chocolate goodness, spreading the chocolate love around. Sounds good to me too.

filling white chocolate cakes caramelized white chocolate cakes 1

Another option would be some warm cherries or plums, or a compote of fresh fruits, such as nectarines, peaches, or pears, depending on the season. Of course, you could gild the lily with a scoop of white chocolate-fresh ginger ice cream, too.

When you melt the white chocolate and begin the recipe, it may look a bit lumpy, and those small lumps might remain as you spoon the batter into molds. But they’ll melt during baking, so not to worry.

white chocolate cake and rhubarb sorbet

Feel free to use any size molds. I would imagine rectangular mini-cake molds would be nice, or another pan that bakes individual cakes that you have on hand.

Be sure to underbake these rich little cakes. They’re not meant to be runny inside, like individual warm chocolate cakes, but when served, should still on the side of just-baked, not too firm.

caramelize white chocolate cake1 caramelized white chocolate cakes

And serve them warm, if you can. The molds can be filled in advance and baked a bit later.

Caramelized White Chocolate Cakes

Recipe from Laura Adrian, of Verjus

This recipe makes sixteen small cakes (using 2 ounce ramekins), but Laura noted that it would likely make eight to ten larger (using 4-6 ounce ramekins). Only fill the molds up two-thirds of the way full since the cakes are rich.

Note the quantity of white chocolate is for the already caramelized white chocolate, so start the caramelization with more white chocolate than the finished amount, to allow for reduction and “spoon lick-loss”, as I call it. You can make the white chocolate in advance; it’ll firm up, but can be rewarmed in a microwave oven or set over simmering water.

  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 cups, 170g) almond flour (see Note)
  • 3/4 cup (110g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 12 ounces (340g) caramelized white chocolate, warm
  • 1 1/2 ounces (45g) salted or unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons (45g) sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature

1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC).

2. Generously butter sixteen 2-ounce ramekins, or similar-sized molds, and set them on a baking sheet.

3. Whisk together the almond flour, all-purpose flour, and salt in a bowl and set aside.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the white chocolate with the melted butter and sugar. Add in the eggs one at a time, until they’re completely incorporated. The mixture may be lumpy, which is normal.

5. Stir in the flour mixture with a spatula just until no specks of flour remain.

6. Spoon the batter into the butter molds, filling them no more than two-thirds full.

7. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the cakes are still quite soft in the center, but firm at the edges.

8. Remove from the oven and when cool enough to handle, run a small knife around the outside of the cake to loosen it from the mold, then turn the cake out onto a serving plate.

Note: Also called almond meal or ground almonds, almond flour is simply pulverized almond. It’s available in specialty stores, including Trader Joe’s and online at King Arthur Flour and Amazon. You can make your own by pulverizing sliced blanched almonds in a food processor with the sharp blade attachment (measuring by weight) with the flour and salt, until finely ground.

caramelized white chocolate cake spatula

Related Links and Recipes

Verjus

Caramelized White Chocolate

Warm Spiced Chocolate Cake

Valrhona Chocolate School

Rhubarb Sorbet (Simply Recipes)

Warm Individual Chocolate Cakes

Caramelized White Chocolate Ice Cream

Hot Caramelized White Chocolate (Ideas in Food)

White Chocolate Sorbet

Chocolate Idiot Cake

Baked Altoid Brownies

62 comments

  • Ohmygod. I actually did just gasp out loud. So much wanting I can’t bear it! This is what I get for only having dark chocolate in the house… and inability to fulfil a craving that didn’t exist two minutes ago but now consumes my life!

    P.S. I don’t know if any other Australians are likely to read this, but Laura looks so much like Claire from Masterchef…

  • I’m going to try poking a wayward chocolate bonbon or chocolate truffle into the center of each cake midway during baking

    Aha. So that’s how it’s done. 7 years ago at a bakery in Iceland, I tasted these chocolate cakes (about the size of a canellée) with banana flavoured hollows in their middles.

    I have wondered how they managed to get the morsel of banana centred in the dough. Now I’ve a good hypothesis. But I’m gonna wait for cooler weather to test it.

  • being a mega fan of dulce de leche as well as white chocolate this is a must try for me!!!
    love the pics as well david!
    marci x x x

  • I can’t wait to try this. Thanks for the tip about the bonbon too. Really appreciate it!

  • That definitely does look like such a treat!

    Hannah- your right she does look a lot like Claire from Aussie Masterchef! Funny!

  • Just looks absolutely divine, David!

  • Oh my goodness.
    I would come up with something more creative to say, but I can’t manage to pick my jaw off the floor. Love this – and I would totally have mine with the white chocolate fresh ginger ice cream.

  • Yes – she does look like Claire. Here’s to another yummy experience.

  • Given your note at the bottom, I’m guessing almond meal (flour) is not that common? I use it all the time.. Woo, go Australia. (ha, yes, I see the Claire thing. I think it’s the hair.)
    Was wondering how to test for ‘just baked’ness – would you say like a brownie? (My judge for brownies or fudge cakes is that a skewer through the cake will come out with cake clinging to it – but if you can roll it into a cakey ball, it’s ready.)

  • That looks utterly beautiful. I love the color of the cakes. Do you have to use almond flour? My daughter is allergic but she would love this recipe.

  • This looks/sounds heavenly, I’m making it asap!

  • this is such a wonderful recipe…& although it is 86 degrees @ 8:30am EST (nyc)…i am very tempted to re-create this today!

    thanks for the link to the caramelizing….& the bonbon…just brilliant…

    i wish i was in paris taking class w/you!

  • Do you think macadamia nut flour would work as well?

  • the cake looks so yummy

  • i’m all over the chocolate truffle poked in the middle!

  • I can’t wait to try these cakes! First, caramelized white chocolate was an insanely good idea and now this. Love the thought of serving these with cherries.

  • For those of you inquiring about substitutes for almond flour, mostly likely any other nut flour would work. Almond flour is the most commonly available, and usually the least expensive (and don’t have the stronger flavor of other nut flours.) But I would imagine any of them are fine to swap out.

    I’m also interested in case anyone does poke a truffle or chocolate in the middle. It’s too hot in my apartment right now (in August!) to do much baking, so of you do try it, I’d love to hear about it. I think it’d work really well.

  • “Summer turned sultry and oppressive. David continued to slave on in his kitchen under the hot tin roof, standing hours over hot saucepans, caramelizing white chocolate, turning out sweet tasty morsels from his hot oven as if he were living in Antarctica and heat was all his body craved for.”

    —-

    Now I have to hide this from my children. Those caramel temptations would be just down their alley!

    Believe it or not, I was coming here, to see how you were coping with hot summer days, expecting no-cook recipes. I am in awe of your stamina!

  • Wow. Oh, wow. I really need to read through your archives, because I completely missed the caramelized white chocolate, and I would have been on that. I have raspberries, cream, and other ice cream ingredients in my fridge … I just have to check my white chocolate supplies and then an ice cream experiment is in order.

    A raspberry-white chocolate swirl, maybe? Or a caramelized white chocolate ice cream with a raspberry swirl? I’ll see how they taste together and let you know.

  • Oh, my. Now that is just trouble, with a capital T!

  • I’ll be honest – that looks divine but all those little ramekins look like a dozen + small children running amok that need washing. So much WORK! Why not just use a buttered muffin tin?

  • oh MY, this looks AHHHHmazing! thank you for sharing, though i am now drooling all over myself. ;) and yet another reason to visit paris!

  • Not to quibble, but I’ve always understood that almond flour and meal are not the same thing. Nut flour is made after the oil is extracted, while the meal is simply ground nuts. Alas, Trader Joe’s (in Los Angeles) seems not to be carrying almond meal anymore (although not all stores carry the same items). I’ve found almond flour in restaurant supply stores, in order to make a to-die-for chocolate torte from Sherry Yard’s The Secrets of Baking: Simple Techniques for Sophisticated Desserts.

  • I’m making my own wedding cake (cupcakes really) for my small wedding of 40. This recipe looks like a contender. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Hi MarkH: I’m not heard or seen anything that says they are different. There is an entry on Wikipedia about almond flour which groups them together, and King Arthur, which is a very reputable source, says that their almond flour is “Milled from blanched almonds” (blanched meaning they’ve been skinned.)

    It is fairly easy to find in Europe, where it’s sold in supermarkets (in small bags) but is becoming more widely available in the states.

  • Could the cake be made in a one large cake pan? And could you put fruit on the bottom of it (such as nectarines)?

  • Oh, why did I just eat the last bite of white chocolate I had lying around? I’m glad to finally see a recipe where white chocolate becomes something other than a disappearing ingredient, about which people say they don’t enjoy it because it’s not “real chocolate”.
    I can just imagine the great taste with the almond meal and caramelized white chocolate together. Sounds amazing! I’m thinking it could also be pretty delicious to make another almond based cake like a financier and drop little pieces of cooled caramelized chocolate on the top during baking. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • I actually tasted thes gorgeous cakes at Hidden Kitchen this winter and they were divine. As soon as it cools down enough to cook again I am going to make this recipe. Thanks!

  • Hi David,

    regarding the preparation of caramelized white chocolate should it be placed on a baking sheet covered with parchment or not?

    Thanks & regards

    Stef

  • I just had an incredibly rich dinner and now am craving this…and it is a problem! When I am thinking straight, I think these would be a delightful dessert. I am really curious about the caramelized white chocolate…I will definitely have to make that. There are so many wonderful ways I can think of using that in a dessert.

  • My second son, Andrew, is always pestering me to order white chocolate from Valrhona, which I do. But the kilo bag of fêves seems to disappear before I ever get around to using any. I shouldn’t say this around you, the chocoholic king, but I’m feeling weary of dark chocolate and these little cakes using your caramelized white chocolate sound just the thing for my next “do.” And I may even poke a little piece of chocolate truffle into the centers. I’m lazy and just cut them into squares before dusting with cocoa powder, though I suppose no sans cocoa would be better for poking.

  • Pretty yummy looking, David. Even if I’m not going to turn the oven on in this heat, it is nice to look at the photos and be an armchair diner.

  • This just sounds like the perfect marriage of ideas! I am not a white chocolate fan, but I am salivating over the thought of this!! Now I have 2 new things to try…Hidden Kitchen (if I can get reservations) and these little cakes.

    In regards to inserting a chocolate, last year I made molten lave cakes and inserted a fleur de sel caramel inside. I added them to the individual cake centers along with the batter. The caramels had to be on the soft side or the cakes had to be served very warm. I would think a chocolate truffle would be soft enough to work. I found that once the cake started to cool, the candy went back to it’s original consistency.

    Thanks for this post!!

  • You, sir, are an evil man. Please continue. :) Looks like I’m making this one as a special treat for the misses.

    We live all of about 3 miles from Theo’s. Sadly, We’ve not yet made it to their shop. I really need to do that tour. But I have had their chocolate, and it is just heavenly. In fact, their chocolate added to a gelato recipe that turned out a bit hard is what brought me to your site.

    Speaking of, should I package up some Theo chocolate and send it on the next plane across the pond? :D

  • Diane: The caramel idea sounds great, and thanks for the tip about using one that’s not too firm.

    Stafania: I’m not sure how you’d be able to stir the chocolate if it was on a piece of parchment paper. I just use a baking sheet.

    Sara: Laura said she never tried that but if you do, please let me know how it works out here in the comments!

    Nancy: Those kilo bags of feves are, indeed, dangerous…

  • Wow. That would explain why I have the Masterchef theme song and Gary’s voice running through my head, she does look like Claire. I am being driven insane by these, I-need-to-go-and-buy-some-white-chocolate-now…and some almond meal. I often use almonds just pulverized, raw, skins and all in the food processor. The texture is a tad rougher and the colour isn’t as pleasant but I prefer the taste/texture of it.

  • i’m a big fan of anything with caramel, and i’m sure that white chocolate caramel would be great in cake form! love the idea of the chocolate piece inside!

    oh, and i adore theo chocolate! we went to seattle for a long weekend in march and made the trek up to their store, but their tours were sold out. fortunately, they had so much to sample in the store that we were full on chocolate without it, and bought plenty to take back to chicago!

  • Have you ever heard of Caramac bars? I know it’s a total cheat and they don’t contain cocoa but they do taste of caramelised white chocolate – in a sickly sort of way. I think they could be the antithesis of this dish… look into your heart, you know it to be true etc :)

  • These cakes look amazing. I am most certainly going to try that little bonbon trick. Hmm… plain old chocolate truffles? or maybe something mocha… I love the combo of coffee and dulce de leche. I’m also thinking that would be a wonderful way to spruce up my favorite recipe for mini dark chocolate cakes.

  • I saw the caramelized white chocolate on your site ages ago and I keep meaning to try it. This sounds like a wonderful way to use it.

  • Um…David, it’s not August yet. (Re post of 7/7)

    …but it’s so friggin’ hot, it certainly feels like it! -dl

  • Aw, no photos of the doggy? :)

  • Spoon-lick loss-it explains so much about what is happening when I make your lovely recipes. My guests loved your ice cream sandwiches (with coffe ice cream) while watching the fireworks last weekend.
    Merci beaucoup,
    Deb

  • Dear David,

    May I please ask your advice:

    I will be harvesting at least 10kg of Kordia cherries on Sunday and would like to preserve them in alcohol (either vodka or rum) to give away at Christmas to friends and family.
    Unlike a German Rumtopf, I am planning to put them straight into individual 750ml Kilner jars and like the idea of keeping the stalks on.

    Should I completely dissolve the sugar (at a weight ration of 1:1 with cherries?) in the alcohol first, then cover and seal the fruit and do I need to prick the cherries with a toothpick or can I just leave them whole? There’s is lots of conflicting advice out there. Unfortunately I won’t have time to make jams and chutneys this time and need a less labour-intensive, but nonetheless delicious and pretty way of dealing with my cherry crop.

    Thank you and bon weekend!

    PS: I would also be happy to use some of our own honey in the recipe.

  • Andrea: The only time I’ve preserved stemmed cherries was to make pickled sour cherries, in which case, the cherries do get pricked with a needle to allow the liquid to get absorbed.

  • I’m wondering if it’s possible to bake these as one whole cake instead of individually and what size cake tin would be best in that case?

    Stef

  • Stafania: In my previous comment, I responded to the same question that Laura hadn’t baked it in a larger size, but if you do decide to give it a try, please let us know the results.

  • This post and pictures falls into the category of things that you wish you could just pop a spoon into the screen for! Talented lady :)

  • Wow. These look great. I can easily make them gluten free. Would they work with dark chocolate instead of white?

  • These sound so delicious, and I love the hide-the-truffle idea!
    However, am I the only one who thinks there is too much flour in this recipe? Or maybe the oven was too hot – that is a seriously peaked top. I wonder if reducing the flour to about 80g may even things out a little, and help with the soft texture…

  • they look like muffins ~ i wonder if they’d do well in a muffin tin… they may need a lot of turning, as the outside tins would get cooked faster. i’ll have to experiment, LOL.

  • If people are looking for suitable white chocolate (holds up well to caramelization) and almond flour, both seem to be carried at Whole Foods (at least in San Francisco).

  • Mmmm, these look so tasty right now! I shouldn’t be looking at this blog so close to dinner time.

    Brandon T, White chocolate and almond meal can be purchased at Trader Joe’s in SF as well for a considerably lower price.

  • This seems to be inaccurately tagged rhubarb, FWIW. I’d love to see more rhubarb recipes :)

    Hi Thomas: The rhubarb tag is because the cake that Laura served, in the photograph, was with rhubarb sorbet. You can find several rhubarb recipes on my Recipes page. -dl

  • well, David. I must say thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe. I made it last night for a dozen friends post dinner in honor of Bastille Day and my guests were licking their plates! even going for seconds! good thing there were 16 little cakes (I made them in greased muffin tins and they came out perfect)
    also, I did serve them with your red wine & cherry compote as you suggested in the other post with a tiny spoonfull of vanilla bean ice cream and it was YUMMY!

  • Hope I’m not being silly, but is there a link I’m missing with instructions on how to caramelize white chocolate? I don’t know if I would get as far as baking the cakes, but caramelized white chocolate sounds scrumptious!

  • Hi Ali: The recipe is linked at the end of the post, but thanks for pointing out that it wasn’t evident : )

    I added the link in the recipe as well.

  • This sounds fantastic. David, I’ve been looking for something to serve with your roasted banana ice cream and was wondering if this would work. I love caramel and banana together, but since I haven’t tried either recipe yet, I’m wondering whether it will be too rich. Do you think these too will pair well?

  • Oh my, I much prefer white chocolate to dulce de leche anyday. (Don’t get me wrong, though, they are both tasty). This is a percect spin on a favourite of mine–white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. I would actually love to incorporate them somehow…I was thinking of roasting and chopping them and serving on the side with some ice cream but was wondering if you had any suggestions?

  • David, I made these and they turned out fantastic! I baked some as is and took your recommendation and put a dark chocolate truffle in the middle of the rest and the truffled cakes were the winners for sure. I served the truffled cakes on top of some bruleed bananas with an almond brittle and espresso ice cream, sooo yummy. Thank you for the great idea!!!

    Thanks for the report (including the info about the truffles)– am glad you liked them! -dl