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Soft-centered chocolate cake

Soft-centered chocolate cake

Soft-centered chocolate cake
with cherries and vanilla sauce

(serves 8)

Chocolate cake
250g good-quality dark chocolate
250g unsalted butter
200g castor sugar
5 eggs
50g cake flour
1T finely grated fresh ginger

1 cup sour cherries, in
their preserving liquid
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 vanilla pod, sliced lengthways
with seeds removed
1T Maizena
2T cold red wine

Vanilla sauce
400ml milk
100ml whipping cream
1 vanilla pod, sliced lengthways
with seeds removed
5 egg yolks
100g sugar

Chocolate cake
Pre-heat the oven to 190°C . Butter and sugar 8 dariole moulds or small ramekins. Melt the chocolate and butter over boiling water. Whisk the sugar and the eggs until white and creamy. Add the chocolate mixture. Fold in the flour and the ginger. Spoon into the prepared moulds. Bake for 10-12 minutes. (These cakes can be made in advance and frozen for up to 2 months. You can place them in the oven frozen, but then extend the baking time by 5 minutes.)

Strain the cherries over a pot. Bring the preserving liquid to the boil together with the cinnamon stick, star anise, vanilla pod and seeds. Simmer for 2 minutes. Dissolve the Maizena in the red wine and add slowly until the mixture thickens. Cook for about 10 minutes to remove the Maizena taste. Allow to cool. Remove the vanilla pod, reserve the star anise and add the reserved cherries just before serving.

Vanilla sauce
Bring the milk, cream, vanilla pod and seeds to just under boiling point. Whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar. Pour the hot milk mixture slowly into the egg mixture whilst whisking continuously. Return to medium heat and keep stirring until the mixture thickens. Strain immediately and serve with the chocolate cake and cherries. Decorate the plates with chocolate (see tip) and reserved star anise.

If you wish to create a heart decoration as per our picture, thin down melted chocolate with cream and use a piping bag or squeeze-bottle to create these pretty shapes.

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