Sunday, July 24, 2016

Cookie Butter Not-Quite-So-Lava Cake

Cookie Butter Not-Quite-So-Lava Cake - made June 18, 2016, adapted from Chocolate & Vanilla by Gale Gand
After making the Nutella Molten Lava Cakes and still on an obsessive kick to use my new 4th of July ramekins (hang in there, it usually takes me at least a month (or more) to work through obsessive use of my new toys), I was struck with the brilliant idea of doing a cookie butter version of lava cake. It seemed like such an amazing idea, I don’t know why other people hadn’t thought of it before. I combed through pinterest, figuring someone must’ve stumbled onto this piece of sheer baking brilliance and would have a recipe I could try.
Alas, no. I seemed to be alone in my mind on this one. There were lava cakes for chocolate, peanut butter, even lemon. But not cookie butter. I didn’t want to make a chocolate lava cake and just drop cookie butter in the middle because I don’t like chocolate with cookie butter. But I do like it with vanilla so I thought I could make a vanilla cake with cookie butter “lava” flowing out of it. Come on, how hard could it be? Take a light vanilla cake recipe, bake in ramekins at a high temp to set the sides with a center of cookie butter. The concept was supposed to be the same so that when you upended the vanilla cake onto a plate, forked into it while it was still warm, all this wonderful cookie butter deliciousness would come flowing out.
Welp. Once again, it was a brilliant idea in my mind but when it came to actual execution, it fell a bit flat. I found this recipe for a lemon-vanilla cake in one of my baking books and I modified it to omit the lemon and just be a plain vanilla cake. But then I ended up not baking at such a high temp because I was afraid of burning the top while the middle stayed raw. While “raw” oozing chocolate batter is equated with decadent goodness, I’m afraid raw vanilla cake batter is just….raw vanilla cake batter. So I ended up fully baking the vanilla cake.
My “lava” cookie butter filling? It decided to spread out, sink to the bottom because it was heavier than the cake batter and bake itself as a thin bottom layer of the cake. Yep, you guessed it. Fail. Not only was it not lava-like at all but it was more like a bottom-turned-over-top “crust” on top of the cake. It wasn’t hard or crusty but it wasn’t molten either. Okay, lesson from this failure is pure cookie butter doesn’t stay put, doesn’t stay molten and has a mind of its own to bake itself along with the cake. If I want it to stay molten, I will have to find something else to add to it to keep the cookie butter flavor intact but also to keep it liquid and prevent it from baking. Or freeze scoops of it and push it in the center halfway through baking. Back to the drawing board.
Fortunately, the experiment wasn’t entirely a failure as the cake itself turned out to be pretty delicious.
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (optional)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter and flour at least twelve 4 ounce-6 ounce ramekins.
  2. Combine butter and milk in medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil; set aside.
  3. In an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and stir in the sugar, vanilla and vanilla bean paste, if using.
  4. On low speed, gradually add the flour. Pour in the hot milk mixture then add the baking powder and stir until batter is thoroughly combined.
  5. Divide batter evenly amongst prepared ramekins. Drop a generous tablespoon of cookie butter in the center of each ramekin and cover completely with batter.
  6. Bake 20-25 minutes, depending on size of ramekins or until golden and toothpick inserted near the sides (avoid cookie butter filling) comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  7. Loosen sides with small spatula. After a few minutes, overturn ramekin onto plate. Leave overturned for 10 minutes before removing. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

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