Eggless Lava Cakes

Gujarati relatives who don’t eat eggs are not difficult to find. I have them too. And they were visiting. And the lava cakes are my USP, as far as my family in concerned. So an order was placed. A dozen eggless lava cakes. Sigh! The things they make me do for love.

A recipe was looked up.

I reworked the recipe I found to adjust for chocolateyness, saltiness and sweetness. Besides, I didn’t have cocoa powder. Or well, couldn’t find it.

I skipped my usual addition of orange zest, because I was baking fairly late in the evening. Also, my mum wasn’t home. She entertains my demands when I ask her to “run to the fruit-wala” and get me one, single orange. She’s supportive, like that.

Ingredients:
(makes 12 cupcakes… err, cupcake sized lava cakes)
For the cakes:
1. 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
2. 3/4 cup powdered sugar
3. 1 cup dark chocolate chips/chunks, molten
4. 1 teaspoon baking soda
5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
6. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
7. 1 cup water
8. 1 tablespoon Vinegar
For the centres:
9. 4 tablespoons dark chocolate chips/chunks,
10. 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Method:
1. Melt the chocolate.
2. Combine the molten chocolate and the cream for the centres of the lava cakes. Put this mixture away in the freezer to solidify.
3. Preheat the oven to 200F.
4. Sift the dry ingredients for the cupcakes into a bowl. Add the water, oil and molten chocolate to form a homogenous mixture.
5. Add the vinegar in last. Mix well.
6. Pour the batter into cupcakes moulds (I use the silicone kind, you might want to grease yours in case you use the metallic ones) to about half-full.
7. Get the chocolate mixture for the centres out of your freezer and roll into balls a couple of centimetre in diameter.
8. Drop these into each of the cupcake moulds and top them up with some more batter, until about two-thirds full.
8. Bake for 15 minutes and check with a knife, at the corner of the cupcake, if it’s done. You don’t want to stick the knife down the centre, there’s gooey chocolate in there!

How can cakes not contain eggs? Cakes don’t taste bad, eggless. But they’re not as yummy as eggy cakes! Almost always, I can take the slight bitter-saltiness from the vinegar and baking soda. And I don’t like that. At all. Or may be I need to perfect the recipes I use.

Oh well, the lava cakes were baked. They came out of the oven, just right. Usually, they sink a little in the centre. And I was happy that hadn’t happened (yet). Of course, all bubbles burst. Even bubbles called chocolate lava cakes. And the little depression showed up when the cakes cooled down.

The extended family absolutely loved dessert – lava cakes served with vanilla ice cream. My aunt asked for the recipe. And the true judgement came the following day when my dad met my uncle at the hotel he was put up at, and my uncle talked about how awesome dinner and dessert was the previous night. Very gratifying.

So, we spoke about eggless recipes and the need to perfect them, right? Here’s what I’m going to do this weekend. Prototype the eggless recipe. Make basic batter for a half dozen cupcakes. And test them in batches of 3.

Attempt # 2:
No salt.
Using milk instead of water.

Attempt # 3:
Baking powder is normally made of three different parts – an acid (cream of tartar), a base (baking soda) and a filler of some sort (corn starch).

White vinegar, lemon juice or Cream of Tartar can be mixed with baking soda to get the same effect as baking powder. And in that case baking powder, instead of the baking soda + vinegar combination, should work for my recipe. That way I can avoid the soapy, bittery, salty soda-bicarb complaint.

I’ll update this post with the results. Pictures, may be. Because I forgot to take pictures this time.

Meanwhile, here’s for some interesting reading on the matter.
http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/tools-and-techniques/baking-powder.htm
http://www.joyofbaking.com/bakingsoda.html

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