Aztec Molten Chocolate Cake

Country: Mexico, USA

Notes: The United States-based chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten claims to have invented molten chocolate cake in New York City in 1987, but the French chef and chocolatier Jacques Torres disputes this, arguing that such a dish already existed in France. Regardless of who invented the dish, Vongerichten has been credited with popularizing it in the United States, and it became almost a de rigueur inclusion on high-end restaurant dessert menus around the world.

Mayan and Aztec chocolate was very different than the chocolate we know today. It was a liquid made from crushed cocoa beans, chili peppers, and water. (There was no sugar yet in Central America.) They poured the liquid from one cup to another until a frothy foam appeared on top. In fact, the word ‘chocolate’ is said to come from the Mayan word ‘xocolatl’ which means ‘bitter water. Cocoa was often consumed during religious ceremonies and marriage celebrations. Eventually Cocoa got to Spain and eventually lost the chiles and spices in place of the addition of sugar.

For our chocolate we give a nod back to the origins of chocolate with the addition of spices. We add just a small amount of cayenne and cinnamon to our molten chocolate cake.

Preparation: The chocolate batter is placed in the oven and cooked until the outside is cooked but the inside is still liquid and just warm. A compote of uchuva is made to add an ingredient local to Costa Rica and then the cake is finished with ice cream.