When it comes to dessert, a little bit can go a long way. That's why this chocolate dream of a recipe takes the form of smallish individual cakes rather than a single, family-size gut-buster.
It's also why the butter usually found in chocolate cakes has been replaced with nonfat Greek yogurt. Not only won't you miss the butter, but you won't taste the yogurt. It's in the mix strictly as a lower-fat way of adding body to the finished product.
What you will taste is chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate, specifically dark chocolate. It's built into the cake batter, of course, but it also reappears as a melted surprise in the center of each cake. Use bittersweet chocolate that's between 60 percent and 70 percent cacao. Once the percentage gets any higher, the chocolate begins to taste too bitter.
The eggs in this recipe (one of only five ingredients, by the way) ensure that the cakes will be light and spongy. But one of the tricky things about cooking with eggs is that while it's easiest to separate yolks from whites while they're cold, it's best to add them to recipes at room temperature (they generate more volume that way).
So, how do you warm them up without wasting a lot of time? First, go ahead and separate the eggs when they're fresh out of the fridge. Then put the whites in one bowl and the yolks in another and float each bowl in a larger bowl of hot water. Ten minutes later the eggs will be at room temperature.
By the way, the best way to separate eggs is with impeccably clean hands, rather than by using jagged-edged eggshells. Just crack the egg into your palm, toss the shell, and let the white run through your fingers. This way the yolk never breaks.
After the batter is made, it needs to set up in the fridge for a little while before you put it in the oven. You can keep the batter in the fridge for several days before baking without any damage to the recipe's freshness. So this is the perfect make-ahead dessert for entertaining.
These little cakes with a very simple -- but very flavorful -- raspberry sauce. There are exactly two ingredients: raspberries and sugar. You just buzz them in a blender, then strain out the seeds.
And here's a trick from Jacques Pepin about the quickest way to strain a sauce with seeds. Working in batches, put some of the pureed sauce in a medium-mesh strainer set over a bowl, then bang it until the only things left in the strainer are the seeds. Discard the seeds, add more sauce and continue. This method is much faster than forcing the liquid through the mesh with a rubber spatula.
Warm Double Chocolate Cakes with Raspberry Sauce
Makes 8 servings. Start to finish: 3 hours 20 minutes (30 minutes active).
For the chocolate cakes:
1/4 cup sugar, plus 8 teaspoons for coating the ramekins
4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, divided