I’ve always been a sucker for sweet treats that look simple on the outside, but reveal a whole new realm of pleasure as soon as you put your fork through them; chocolate fondant, or lava cake, definitely tops my list of favorites.
Making one that’s diet-friendly, however, presents quite a conundrum: how do you go about baking a cake with a liquid center that oozes melted chocolate, when you’re not allowed even the tiniest piece?
After much tweaking recipes and tinkering with ingredients (and several failed attempts), I think I came up with a decent approximation. It involves a variation on my chocolate cupcake recipe, and a chunk of Dukan-compatible chocolate truffle hidden inside. As the cupcake bakes, the truffle starts to melt, and the result is a cake with a tender crumb and a liquid center.
Being the slightly-OCD perfectionist that I am, I can see more tinkering in my future, so look out for possible edits to this post; meanwhile, this is still pretty tasty and satisfying, and it will curb your cravings and/or impulse to cheat on your diet.
This is what you’ll need:
If you’re anything like me, you often make a batch of Dukan frozen truffles and stash them in your freezer for those late night cravings; if not, you can whip these up pretty quickly and freeze them for a few hours before starting to prepare the rest of your lava cake.
This recipe yields 6 medium-sized truffles — just enough for 3 lava cakes, which feature three days’ worth of the tolerated dose of cocoa powder.
Preheat your oven at 180o C and line a muffin tin with cupcake cases; silicone molds are a lifesaver for this application, but if all you have are standard paper cases, make sure you lightly oil them or spray them with cooking spray first, as the cakes will stick (and you want all that chocolate goodness on your plate, not stuck to the paper cup).
Start by adding your dry ingredients, except the skim milk powder, in a mixing bowl. Give your ingredients a quick whisk to combine, and add the cream cheese, milk and egg. Whisk to incorporate.
Add the vanilla and powdered milk and stir again.
Your mixture will be lumpy, but that’s perfectly all right. Add a generous spoonful to each of the cupcake molds and fetch your truffles from the freezer.
Grab a truffle (or two; the bigger the truffle, the more molten goodness will ooze out when you cut into your cake) and place it on top of your batter.
Try to work quickly, as the truffles will start to melt as soon as you take them out of the freezer. Once they’re in place, spoon over the rest of the mixture, making sure it covers the entire cupcake.
Place in the oven immediately and bake for anywhere between 15 and 20 minutes. It takes my oven 18′ to deliver a perfectly baked cake with a still-liquid center, but it might require some trial-and-error to get the baking time down pat, depending on your oven and the size of your cakes and truffles.
As soon as your cakes are baked, remove from the oven and take them out of their tin. Give them a couple of minutes and take them out of their molds (if using silicone cases). The top will start to sink a little as they cool down — that’s a good sign, as it means the center is still liquid. Serve right away or store in a ziploc bag and heat briefly in the microwave when you’re ready to eat them.
and there you have it; chocolate lava cake, Dukan-style!
I might use a double dose of truffle next time, just to see how much chocolate I can get to ooze out of the cake without risking having it collapse when I take it out of the oven. It’s kinda tricky though, as all the steam coming out as the truffle cooks along with the cake batter might end up leaving a gaping hole in the middle of the cake instead of a runny chocolate goo, so for now, this will have to do!