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Warm chocolate cakes with dulce de leche

February 7, 2007
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Serves 6

Like a little black dress, dark chocolate goes with almost everything. The Latin American caramel cream called dulce de leche -- available in many supermarkets -- goes into the center of these cakes. It can be replaced with raspberry jam, Nutella, marshmallow cream, or even a bitter orange curd.

Butter (for the cups)
Flour (for the cups)
1/3 cup flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 eggs, separated
7 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup rum
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 teaspoons dulce de leche
Confectioners' sugar (for sprinkling)
Extra ground cinnamon (for sprinkling)
1.Set the oven at 400 degrees. Butter 6 standard muffin cups, then sprinkle with flour, discarding the excess.

2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, salt, and cinnamon.

3. In a medium-size heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt the chocolate and the butter, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.

4. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and 3 tablespoons of the sugar for about 2 minutes or until slightly foamy. Beat in the rum. Gradually add the cocoa mixture, beating only until blended. Add the melted chocolate and beat just to blend.

5. In an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until the whites form soft peaks. Gradually add the remaining 4 tablespoons of sugar. Continue beating until the whites are stiff and glossy, but not dry.

6.Use a large rubber spatula to fold the egg whites into the chocolate mix until no white patches show.

7.Fill each muffin cup with a scant 2 tablespoons of batter. Add 1 heaping teaspoon of dulce de leche to each. Divide the remaining chocolate batter among the cups.

8. Place the muffin tin on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the tops of the cakes look crackly. Cool the cakes in the cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

9. Line a cool baking sheet with parchment paper. Set it, parchment side down, on top of the tin. Invert the tin so the cakes fall onto the parchment. Lift off the pan. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar and cinnamon. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream. Leigh Belanger

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