Food is a huge part of every cruise ship experience. Of course, just about everyone loves dessert. People love some desserts more than others. Carnival has a dessert so popular random people talk about it on facebook. They love it, and can’t wait to cruise again to taste it one more time. Warm chocolate cake with the center all gooey and melty. Mmmm, what’s not to love? People like this dessert so much that instead of just appearing once on the dessert menu during a cruise, it has become Carnival’s signature dessert available as one of the dessert choices every night. Another great dessert from Carnival is the Bitter & Blanc Brioche Bread Pudding. I have a gluten-free version of the chocolate melting cake in a different blog.
I discovered the chocolate melting cake through conversations on Carnival’s facebook page. At the time I had awhile to go before my cruise when I could finally taste this marvel for myself.
Finally time came to embark on a Caribbean cruise on the Liberty. First night’s dinner I tried the chocolate melting cake. Warm and chocolaty with a not-quite set center that oozes chocolate. They must make thousands of them every week for another horde of hungry vacationers. I ordered it again another night, but that time the center was close to cooked through so it wasn’t as good. Lest any would-be melting cake makers try to overbake their melting cakes, don’t. Overcooking takes all the melty goodness away and it just becomes yet another ordinary chocolate cake. However, if you do accidentally overbake it, you can redeem them by poking a hole in the middle and filling it with hot fudge or other chocolate ice cream sauce.
I didn’t just try the cake, I got the recipe. For all the chocolate melting cake lovers, or those would like to become melting cake lovers, here it is:
Carnival Cruise Line’s Chocolate Melting Cake
7oz semi-sweet chocolate
7oz butter (1/2 cup + 6 1/2 tablespoons)
6 fresh eggs
3oz sugar (1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon)
4oz flour (1 cup)
Melt chocolate and butter. (I use a double boiler.) Mix half the eggs with all the sugar and whisk for a few minutes, then add flour. Add the rest of the eggs. Blend egg mixture with melted chocolate mixture. Pour into 8 ramekins cups. Bake at 200 degrees C (390 Degrees F) for 15 – 20 minutes. Do not overbake. Their given time is longer than it has ever taken any I’ve made. Cake is done when the outsides are cooked through and the middle remains somewhat gooey. If you look at them in the oven, it should look done around the edges with a darker shiny not-quite-done spot in the middle. The bigger the shiny spot, the more melty goodness in the center of your cake, so cook it until the shiny spot looks about the size you want the melty center to be. Although Carnival’s recipe does not mention dusting the top with a bit of powdered sugar, they do serve them that way. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Makes 8 servings.
I tried this recipe at home and baking them the 15 minutes at the low end of the range in Carnival’s recipe cooked them all the way through with no wonderful melty center. Baking 13 minutes they turned out pretty well. To test for the best baking time for your oven and the size of dish you are using you could try baking just one. Start with a fairly low baking time like 7 or 8 minutes. If the top has stopped looking too doughy at that time, take it out and see what the center looks like. If the top still looks too doughy give it another minute or two. When you find the right time for your preferred doneness then bake the rest. It can vary so be sure to check the tops for the dark spot in the center that tells you the outside is done, but the middle still gooey.
They are better underbaked than overbaked. Extra melty deliciousness in the center tastes much better than none, though it does need at least some cake part around the edge. They also taste great topped with whipped cream instead of ice cream. I even tried making them with half as much butter to cut down on fat and calories and they came out fine that way too.
You can make these ahead of time and then put them in the refrigerator until you want to bake them. They’ll even keep in there overnight so you can bake some one night and the rest the next if the recipe makes more than you want to eat at one time. You usually need to add a minute or two to the bake time with cold dough.