Singapore Cooks

Twice the pleasure in this chocolate lava macaron cake

A sweet ending for each meal is what national serviceman Brian Yeo seeks, and he loves lava cake

For full-time national serviceman Brian Yeo, no meal is complete without dessert.

One of the 21-year-old's favourite ways to conclude a meal is to dig into a plump molten lava cake and watch the chocolate ooze out.

Over the past two years, he has "caught on to the hype of having this Instagram-worthy dessert" when dining out.

That piqued his interest in re-creating the dessert at home. Bored with chocolate, he has experimented with flavours such as lemon, matcha, raspberry red velvet, chilli and root beer over the past year.

He also dresses up the cakes with toppings such as whipped cream studded with shredded coconut and almond flakes, and coats the cakes with butterscotch and salted caramel sauces.

  • DO IT YOURSELF: CHOCOLATE LAVA MACARON CAKE

  • INGREDIENTS

    •200g dark chocolate

    •150g salted butter at room temperature and more for greasing

    •5 large eggs

    •100g caster sugar

    •100g of plain flour, plus more for the muffin tray

    •6 Tbs hazelnut spread

    •Store-bought chocolate sauce and icing sugar for garnish

  • METHOD

    1. Preheat the oven to 200 deg C.

    2. In a pot over low heat, melt the butter and chocolate (below). Stir to mix both well. Set aside to cool.

    3. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and add the sugar. Whisk the mixture for at least two minutes, or until it turns pale yellow.

    4. Pour the melted butter and chocolate into the egg mixture. Stir the contents quickly to prevent the eggs from getting cooked.

    5. Whisk in the flour until the mixture becomes thick and viscous.

    6. Butter a 12-cup muffin tray and lightly dust each cup with flour. Tap the muffin tray gently on a flat surface.

    7. Pour 2 Tbs of batter into each cup. Tap the tray on a flat surface to get rid of the bubbles in the batter.

    8. Bake for five minutes. Observe the baked batter closely. The core should be sunken and should not rise. Remove the tray from the oven and allow the cakes to cool for 15 minutes.

    9. Use a spoon to remove the cakes gently from the tin.

    10. Spread 1 Tbs hazelnut spread on the top of one lava cake and cap it with another lava cake to form a sandwich. Repeat until all the cakes are used up.

    11. Dust with icing sugar and serve with chocolate sauce.

    Serves six.

On his love for lava cakes, he says: "I like the impressive contrast between the cake's sponge-like exterior and its flowy inside."

Now, he has taken his lava cake experiments to the next level by creating a chocolate macaron lava cake.

The hybrid dessert consists of two disc-shaped lava cakes that sandwich a hazelnut cream filling.

He says: "Having one lava cake is never enough, so this dessert packs double the sweetness in one bite."

To make the chocolate lava cake "shells" more durable, he bakes them longer so that the insides are gooey and fudge-like, rather than liquid.

He says: "This makes the lava cakes less fragile and they can be handled more easily."

The biggest challenge that he faced was figuring out how long to bake the cakes for, so that the interior will be gooey. Over-baking turns the cake into a brownie and under-baking will cause the cake to collapse easily.

To get some baking help, the resourceful baker sought free advice from American chefs such as Courtney Harris of private dining service Chef RLI and Alvin Savella of Pulehu, An Italian Grill in Hawaii, by commenting on their Instagram accounts.

Besides baking, Mr Yeo, who is single, also enjoys cooking.

Some of his favourite recipes include pork ribs with barbecue sauce, grilled garlic butter prawns, and grilled salmon with green apple sauce.

He is the weekend cook for his family and says he looks forward to getting into the kitchen after he books out of camp. He documents his cooking adventures on his Instagram account (@b.isforbrian).

His mother, 48, is an interior designer and his father, 56, is a businessman. His older brother, 23, is an engineering undergraduate.

Outside the kitchen, he hangs out in supermarkets, which he calls his "second home". He splurges on ingredients such as sashimi-grade salmon fillets, wagyu steaks and condiments such as truffle oil and Himalayan salt.

The conscientious cook sketches his cooking ideas, down to the plating of dishes, in notebooks when cooking inspiration hits during weekdays in camp.

He says: "Drawing what I want to cook gives me a sense of direction before cooking. If you want your dish to look good, you've got to plan for it."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 06, 2016, with the headline 'Twice the pleasure '. Print Edition | Subscribe