Frozen Lava: In a heavy saucepan, bring sugar, water and cream of tartar to a
boil over medium-high heat. If crystals form on the sides of the pan, cover the
pan for 30 seconds or as long as 5 minutes so steam rinses off the sides. When the
caramel darkens, you may swirl the pan to even the color. Take the caramel to the
color of iced tea. Remove from heat and pour in cream. Caramel will spatter, so
stand back. Return to heat and stir until smooth. Stir in butter until smooth, then
remove from heat.
Pour 1/3 of the caramel into a buttered 8-inch square baking dish. Chill very
Form this cold caramel into 8 pear shapes about the size of walnuts, then
put the pieces on a plate and freeze them. Reserve the remaining 2/3 caramel to
re-warm later and use as sauce.
Volcano Cakes: Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Heavily butter and then flour 8 (1-cup)
ramekins or coffee cups. Set cups on a cookie sheet.
Chop chocolate into small even pieces. Melt with the butter in a double boiler
over barely simmering water (or microwave, uncovered, on MEDIUM, stirring every
20 to 30 seconds after the first one or two minutes, until only a small chunk of
solid chocolate remains). Remove from heat and stir until melted, smoother and cooled.
Beat eggs, yolks and sugar together at high speed for 6 to 8 minutes. The mixture
will become thick like cream and become beige-colored.
Fold in the cooled chocolate
and vanilla extract.
Sift the flour over chocolate and fold in. Pour batter into
prepared cups. Bake 7 minutes.
Pull out of oven and tuck a piece of frozen lava
deep into the center of the half-baked batter in each cup.
Return to oven and bake
for 6 to 7 minutes more. Cakes will rise straight over the rims of the cups and
may crack slightly.
Cool in cups on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Chocolate Sauce: Chop chocolate evenly. In a saucepan, heat half the cream with
sugar until it boils. Remove from heat.
Add chocolate and stir until it melts and
sauce is smooth.
Add remaining cream and stir again, patiently, until thick and
Warm sauce gently for pouring. If allowed to set at room temperature, it
will turn the consistency of sour cream and can be used like frosting. Makes 2 cups.
To assemble, warm remaining caramel sauce and make Chocolate Sauce. Pour some
caramel sauce on each plate, tilting so caramel coats the surface. Drizzle Chocolate
Sauce in a north-south zigzag over the caramel. Pull a wooden pick or knife back
and forth cross the chocolate, going east-west to create a feathering effect. Run
a thin knife around each cake to carefully loosen, then invert onto the sauce. Top
with warm Chocolate Sauce, letting sauce drip down the sides of the cakes. If desired,
decorate with fresh berries.
Serve warm. When cut, caramel will spill out of the