There are countless variations of this simple yet elegant French chocolate dessert, said to have been invented by chef Michel Bras in 1981.
The basic formula for all chocolate fondants is pretty much the same: plenty of dark chocolate, butter and sugar, some eggs and very little (or no) flour.
The “original” version is described as a “slightly firm yet crispy” chocolate cake with a melted chocolate centre. To achieve this, Chef Bras placed some frozen dark chocolate ganache in the middle of the cake batter prior to baking. But the method is rather tricky and results can be somewhat unpredictable.
Other recipes instead use a few squares of chocolate on the bottom of the cake pan before adding the batter. Some require up to 8 eggs, while others use no flour.
By varying the relative amounts of each of the basic ingredients, it’s possible to obtain a wide range of textures, from “molten lava” to “baked chocolate mousse” to a chocolate brownie-like consistency.
Fortunately, there’s a classic version of this amazing chocolate cake that’s very easy to make. And while less dramatic in the contrast of textures, it’s just as exquisite.
This easy fondant au chocolat doesn’t have a runny centre, but it is sure to melt in your mouth with every luscious morsel!
For my first entry in the Monthly Mingle, hosted by Meeta of the blog What’s For Lunch Honey, here’s a basic recipe for gâteau fondant au chocolat (chocolate fondant cake) that’s easy to make and a perfect treat for any occasion.
The theme for June’s Monthly Mingle, guest-hosted this month by Erin at The Apartment Kitchen, is “Special Sweet Treats,” so be sure to check the round-up later this month for more delicious desserts.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 40 to 45 minutes
Serves 6 to 8
- 200 grams (7 ounces) superior quality (70 per cent cacao) dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 150 grams (5 ounces) butter, softened
- 150 grams (5 ounces) sugar
- 50 grams (2 ounces) flour
- 3 eggs
- 1-2 tablespoons icing sugar for decorating
- Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius (300 degrees F).
- Melt chocolate pieces in a heatproof bowl above a pan of barely simmering water.
- In a large bowl, mix together softened butter and sugar using a wooden spoon. Work the mixture into a smooth paste.
- Add eggs one at a time, alternating with flour. Mix thoroughly after each addition, using the wooden spoon.
- Stir in melted chocolate, mixing thoroughly until a smooth batter is obtained.
- Butter the sides of a round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Pour batter into cake pan and spread evenly.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until done. With so little flour, this cake remains dense and moist while forming a thin, delicate crust. A cake tester inserted in the centre should not come out clean but have a few crumbs sticking to it.
- Allow to cool and then remove from pan by inverting on a rack. Cake should be served right side up.
- Sprinkle with a little icing sugar and refrigerate.
This rich dessert needs no accompaniment, but if desired it can be served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or some chocolate sauce.
Be sure to bring it out of the refrigerator at least two hours before serving.