Single- or small-serving dessert recipes are often hard to come by. But if you just want something for yourself, or you and your +1, it’s often impractical to bake an entire cake. It’s not uncommon that I find myself either taking a pie to work because I wanted one slice, or I have tons of cookies in the freezer to eat one or two at a time.
I found this recipe years ago for Warm Vanilla Cakes and was able to modify it to serve 2. The recipe was originally inspired by a dish served at the now-defunct Citarella restaurant in New York (not to be confused with Citarella markets), and later published in the New York Times as a version that serves 10.
These cakes have intense vanilla flavor if you use beans or paste. Don’t try to get away with using just extract, you will likely be disappointed and won’t enjoy the full flavor of simple vanilla. As the recipe title suggests, these are best eaten warm. Not only are they less delicate, but they start to deflate which just isn’t a good look. And serving it with ice cream is a must.
Warm Vanilla Cakes
Recipe adapted from New York Times Cooking
1.5 T butter
2 oz. white chocolate (chips are ok), divided
1 egg, yolk and white separated
½ vanilla bean or vanilla bean paste equivalent
1 ¼ T all-purpose flour (note: if you have bread flour, use it here for a higher rise. But AP flour will work if you don’t have bread flour on hand)
pinch cream of tartar
1 ¼ T sugar
vanilla ice cream
- Preheat oven to 375 and grease two individual sized (about 10.5-oz) ramekins. Set aside.
- Melt butter and all but a fraction of the white chocolate (about 10 chips, or equivalent if you’re cutting your own) in a double boiler. Once chocolate has melted, remove from heat and stir to ensure no lumps remain.
- Slowly whisk a dollop of the butter/chocolate mixture into the egg yolks, and then gently fold in the remaining butter/chocolate mixture. Add half of the vanilla bean seeds.
- Sift flour over the mixture and whisk until smooth.
- With an electric mixer using the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until fluffy. Slowly add in sugar until peaks form, creating a meringue.
- Fold the chocolate and meringue mixtures together, and set aside to reach room temperature.
- Spoon batter into prepared ramekins. Each should be about 1/3 full. Drop remaining chocolate into center of each, covering it with batter. Add remaining vanilla to each dish, swirling with a knife to incorporate a bit.
- Bake 12-14 minutes, until golden and with a slight jiggle in the center. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.