This coffee and chicory "cupped cake" is made with a stiff, eggless cake batter that gets topped with a cocoa crumble and then covered with coffee. Baked in actual coffee cups, the cake soufflés up and makes its own built-in lava sauce on the bottom. It’s fantastic eaten within an hour or two of baking, while the cake is still warm, soft, and molten.
Heat the oven to 350°F. Spray the insides of 6 large oven-safe coffee cups or six 6-oz. ramekins with nonstick cooking spray and place on a rimmed baking sheet.
To make the cocoa sprinkle, whisk 1/4 cup of the sugar, the light brown sugar, and 2 Tbs. of the cocoa powder in a small bowl until most of the brown sugar lumps are broken up, and set aside.
Using a stand mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer), blend the butter and remaining sugar together on medium speed until the sugar looks like wet sand, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the cream and vanilla, mixing until well blended, using a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Whisk the flour, the remaining cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl and then add it to the butter mixture. Mix on low speed until a stiff dough comes together, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 15 seconds.
Divide the batter between the coffee cups, filling each one about half full, using the back of a spoon to press the batter into the cup. Top each with 2 Tbs. of the reserved cocoa sprinkle and then pour 3 Tbs. of coffee over the cocoa. Bake until the cakes soufflé up and the top of each cake is crusty and dry on top with no visible wet spots, about 55 minutes to 1 hour. Cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Photo: Ellen Silverman