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Chocolate Caramel Cakes: Easy, Decadent Treats for Valentine's

caramel covered chocolate cakeValentine’s Day is not as big a cooking day as some other holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Independence Day, but the pressure is still on. This is food you are baking to show how much you love somebody. Are you up to the task? Well, here’s a delicious treat to take some of the pressure off–individual chocolate and caramel cakes.

The chocolate and caramel combine to give this cake an intense richness, offset by barely sweet whipped cream. Let me reiterate–chocolate, caramel, and whipped cream. Well, hello Valentine. This cake is moist, with decadent, chocolaty flavor, just like you want from a chocolate cake. Best of all, these are really easy to make, so they should turn out even if you don’t make your own desserts very often. All in all, this is a dessert guaranteed to make your sweetie feel loved.

Chocolate and Caramel Cakes

for the cake (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 cup yogurt, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

for the caramel
1/2 cup water
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
4 oz. unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sour cream

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, grease 12 ramekins, and dust with cocoa powder.

Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

Cream the butter with a beater on medium speed until fluffy. Then add the sugar and beat two more minutes until it is well-combined and light.

Next, add the egg, then the yogurt, and then the vanilla extract. Stir in the flour mixture with a spoon and mix until just combined. Spoon the batter into ramekins  Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes, and flip them out of the ramekins to cool completely on a wire rack.

While the cake cools, begin making the caramel. Combine the water, sugar and corn syrup in medium saucepan over medium high to medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon now and then. Fill another large saucepan or metal bowl with cold water and set aside. Watch for the sugar mixture to bubble and cook for about 6 or 7 minutes and then begin to brown.  As soon as the sugar starts to brown, stir, and reduce the heat slightly. Keep a very close eye on things, and as soon as it is a deep golden color, remove from heat immediately, stir, and dip in the prepared water bath to cool it off.
Continue stirring, until the caramel has stopped cooking, but is still warm and soft.

Pour in the heavy cream, being mindful that the caramel may sputter. Next, stir in the butter and then the sour cream.

Pour the caramel over the cakes and serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

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