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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Related Links and Recipes
Rhubarb Sorbet (Simply Recipes)
Hot Caramelized White Chocolate (Ideas in Food)