BRYANNA’S VEGAN PEANUT/BUTTER CHOCOLATE MOLTEN LAVA CAKES
These individual peanutty cakes have a soft center of chocolate ganache that erupts in a rich, dark puddle from the cakes. They are best served right out of the oven, but they can be quickly reheated in a microwave oven just before serving. NOTE: The molten lava filling has to be frozen for at least 4 hours first, though, so you can’t make these on short notice unless you have the filling in the freezer already.
Originally, this type of cake was a flourless cake based on eggs that formed a molten center when the batter was baked, or, rather, under-baked. These days, more often than not, a rich cake batter containing flour is used and a frozen chocolate mixture is placed between layers of batter before baking. This is the version that I started with to make a vegan version of this cake.
**These cakes are baked individually. Use ramekins, little soufflé dishes, giant (1 cup) muffin tins, ceramic coffee cups—anything that holds about 1 cup (8 oz.). They should be generously greased with vegan margarine and placed on cookie sheets, not touching. I used 8 decorative glass pudding dishes.
Chocolate Molten Lava filling:
4 oz. bittersweet or semisweet organic dark dairy-free chocolate (eating chocolate is fine)
1/2 cup plus 7 teaspoons organic soy creamer OR rich soymilk or nut milk
4 teaspoons agave nectar, maple syrup, brown rice syrup,or organic corn syrup
1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Peanut Butter Cake:
1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth natural
1/2 cup Earth Balance
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup organic light granulated sugar
1/2 cup medium-firm tofu OR firm to extra-firm silken tofu, mashed
1 tablespoon egg replacer powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 and 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 and 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup nondairy milk
To Make the Chocolate Molten Lava Filling (make at least 4 hours ahead of baking time):
Melt the chocolate gently with the creamer or milk and syrup in a small heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk until smooth. Add the vanilla and let cool until tepid. (This will seem runny, but don’t worry!)
Spray an ice cube tray with oil from a pump sprayer. Fill 8 of the ice cube cups with the chocolate mixture, distributing it evenly. Freeze for 4 hours, or cover and freeze for up to a month.
To make the cake (make this just before baking): Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Have the cups or ramekins for the cakes prepared as noted above**.
Cream together the peanut butter and Earth Balance, using an electric beater or a food processor. When smooth, add the sugars and beat well again. Add the tofu, egg replacer and vanilla and beat again until very smooth.
If using a food processor, scoop the mixture into a mixing bowl.
Whisk the flours, baking powder, and salt well in a smaller mixing bowl.
Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk, starting and ending with the flour mixture, and beating just enough so that you don't see the flour or milk anymore between additions. Divide the batter in half by scraping the batter into a 2- qt. measuring pitcher. Level it off, figure out exactly what half of the batter amounts to and scoop that top half back into the original bowl.
Divide the half of the batter evenly into the prepared cups or ramekins. Gently place one of the frozen chocolate cubes in the center of each (on top—don’t force down) and then top evenly with the remaining half of the batter.
Bake in the center of the oven until puffy and set, and slightly cracked on top, about 40 minutes. Test on the side of one of the cakes with a cake tester or toothpick. Let cool in the pan 10 minutes, then loosen carefully and overturn onto individual dessert plates. (This is quite rich, so 1/2 a cake might be enough for light eaters!)
Serve hot with topping of your choice— a vanilla nondairy “ice cream, is particularly good, but a vegan whipped topping is also a good choice.
The cakes cans be reheated by microwaving them for 30 to 40 seconds.