With the craziness (and expense) of raising four children, my parents usually celebrated Valentine's Day with a special meal at home. The most vivid recollection I have of this was when I was in middle school - the year that my mom arranged for us kids to be the chefs and servers. With mom's guidance, we helped decorate the dining room, learned how to boil lobster tails and transformed into "fancy" maitre d's with white towels draped over our arms. It was fun for all of us, my parents didn't have to battle the crowds, and - I realize now - it was cost-effective!
Now that I'm grown, I've tried to integrate those home-made, money-saving tips into my celebrating with Ryan by preparing a meal at home as well. This year, however, we are delighted to spend that meal with some of our favorite couples at a "Sweet Hearts' Dinner" hosted by some good friends from college. Now we get to share the responsibility and fun of preparing that delicious meal while spending time with dear friends! I volunteered to make the dessert - Chocolate & Caramel Molten Cakes - as you can't celebrate the season for love without something decadent and chocolatey.
To make your own, start by pre-heating your oven to 400 degrees. Grease four custard cups and place them on an ungreased baking sheet to more easily transfer the cups into and out of the oven. If you would like to include nuts in your molten cakes, sprinkle pecans into the greased cups.
Heat the butter and dark chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds, then stir. Heat for another 30 seconds or so until completely melted.
Add your cream cheese to the melted chocolate and stir thoroughly. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar, vanilla and eggs and beat at medium speed.
Add in the chocolate/cream cheese mixture and beat until combined. Then add in the flour with the mixer on a low speed. Mix until the batter is smooth.
Evenly pour the batter into your four greased custard cups. At this point you can either cover the cups with plastic wrap and refrigerate until later, or you can place them directly into your pre-heated oven.
While the cakes are baking, combine the whipping cream and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Beat at a high speed until it begins to thicken.
Keep a close eye on the cakes. They only need to bake for about 14 minutes. You can tell they are ready when the tops begin to crack, though the center is still smooth and creamy.
Use a knife to loosen the edges of the cakes. Then, flip each custard cup onto its own plate. Drizzle caramel onto each cake, add a dollop of whipped cream. Top it off with a little more caramel or, balance the richness of this chocolatey confection with ice cream. It's a delicious dessert your sweetheart will love!
Spend quality time with the one you love while enjoying the decadence of this Chocolate & Caramel Molten Cake. Then, rate and review the recipe. Happy Valentines Day, love birds!
Looking for a taste of summer in the dead of winter? Come by on Monday when I'll be grilling burgers for my friends.
Amanda is paid to write for the Land O'Lakes Recipe Buzz® Blog.