love + chocolate molten cake

It’s been 5 ½ years since my husband, Matt, proposed to me on Calder Hill at the Storm King Sculpture Garden in Upstate New York. About a week after the proposal, we were legally married at City Hall in Manhattan (which is also the same building where my husband’s grandfather used to work as a condemnation lawyer for the city- just a fun fact!). We filled out the marriage certificate, repeated a few phrases, there was perma-smile, laughter and a few tears of joy. And in an instant we were legally wed. In that moment my husband gave me two of the most valuable gifts of all: his commitment to our love…and health insurance.

Our legal marriage was followed by a religious ceremony in my parent’s backyard near the roses. It was important to them since they are observant and religious people. There was a ketuba, a rabbi, mumblings in Hebrew...and just like that, our union was sanctioned by the Lord (and though my husband and I are both agnostics and our interest in Jewish culture boils down to customs that revolve around food- it was important to our loved ones, so we did it).

By the time our third wedding came around, this one at Wave Hill in NYC in early November, all of the legal and religious requirements had been satisfied, so we could really just have a party and do things our way. We wanted the celebration to feel like “us”- so we asked our friend Rigsy to assemble a four piece Jazz Band - which we knew would set the tone we wanted. We walked down the aisle to Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World and concluded the ceremony with Down by the Riverside- which admittedly is a baptismal song with Gospel roots, but it’s a song that we’ve always loved and reminded us of our time in the Big Easy, which is where we met and fell in love. We also got married next to the Hudson River, so it kind of tied together nicely.

There were speeches about love and the early parts of our union. Our dear friend Megan read Walt Whitman's poem Crossing Brooklyn Ferry and my father-in-law recited a Scottish sonnet that everyone remembers loving, but no one can remember where it came from or what the title was (if you know, let me know!). 

My mother- who's a really a great orator which I attribute to her years in education- presented the sermon. She talked about doing good and honest work (at which point many of my husband's Legal Aid colleagues erupted into applause) and then she talked about the significance of the chuppah, the bridal canopy. 
Standing under the chuppah, surrounded by 160 of our closest friends and relatives, was a truly wonderful moment-- one of the best of my life to be truthful. Our chuppah was constructed of poles, linen and what seemed like a million flowers (which were later donated to the Hebrew Home for the Aged for crafting projects). Traditionally, the chuppah symbolizes the couple's first home together and it is also usually associated with the tent of Abraham-- since it is open on all sides. The idea is that newlywed couple should be able to build a home that is welcoming to passersby, neighbors, friends and family.

When we bought our home in Denver, it was our hope that it would be filled with a never-ending stream of loved ones and neighbors. And in that sense, our hope has come true. For almost nine weeks straight, family and friends came to stay with us- beginning in July and ending in the early fall. Friends who were road-tripping across the country, friends who were making Denver a pit stop on a larger trip to explore national parks, and friends who just wanted to see where we finally landed (and missed us!) all made their way to our new abode in Congress Park. My parents, my brother, in-laws, aunts and cousins came too. We all cooked together, ate together, drank together, and sat outside on the porch talking and laughing. There was warmth and love…and somehow, in our fair city by the mountains, we managed to create our own little chuppah-- where the door is always open…and if you come and visit you'll be greeted by something warm coming out of the oven…maybe, even, this chocolate molten cake.  
See you all soon! 
Wedding photography by: Courtney Davidson Photography

Last month Matt and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. To celebrate the milestone I made Chocolate Molten Cake, which was the dessert served at our wedding! This recipe comes from a former law school classmate, Laura Marasco, who like me, seems to have developed a love of cooking and baking. So thank you Laura for sending this my way. The recipe is an amalgamation from several sources and Laura cobbled it together about 10 years ago. If it is attributable to any one particular source, she can't remember. My only tip is: DO NOT over bake it! For all you Denverites out there, I suggest pulling the ramekins out of the oven at around 9 minutes!

Chocolate Molten Cakes
1 stick butter
2 tablespoons flour
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (Laura uses Hershey's Dark. I went with a bulk bittersweet block- label unknown)
2 tablespoons cold cream (or milk or half & half)
1/4 cup cocoa
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Grease and flour the ramekins or mugs.
In a double boiler (or a bowl set over a pot of simmering water), melt the stick of butter with the chocolate, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat.
Whisk in the cocoa (sift it in) and cream. Sift flour over top and whisk that in too.
In a bowl, whisk together (or use a mixer) the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla and salt until thick ribbons form, about 3 minutes.
Add sugar and mix until well incorporated. Mix a little of the chocolate into the eggs to temper. Add the rest gradually. 
Divide among the dishes and bake until the sides of the cake are set but the inside is still soft- about 10-12 minutes* (*Denver or altitude bakers- mine took 9 minutes). DON'T OVERBAKE!
Remove from the oven and let cool in the ramekins for 2 minutes. Then unmold (or you can serve in the baking dishes) onto dessert plates. 
Serve with a little coffee gelato or fresh whipped cream. I served it with a tiny bit of powdered sugar and berries.
Makes 4