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Air Fryer Mini Fudge, Not Lava Cakes

While on a recent vacation, I had a chocolate lava cake that wasn't anything like what I was expecting. The dessert I received was actually a little cupcake with a slightly fudgy center but no lava. No problem. The mini cake was just the right size, and it was moist and really good. So good, that, having returned home from my vacation, I still had that cupcake on my mind. Nonetheless, with the temperature warming to 90 degrees, no need for a dozen (or more) cupcakes sitting on the counter and calling out to me to eat them, and no recipe, I decided to improvise and see if I could come up with a batter for a few mini fudge cakes that I could bake in the air fryer rather than in the regular oven. The answer was yes. In fact, those little fudge cakes went fast--good thing I didn't make more, or I'd be doing extra time on the StairMaster. Of course, the holiday weekend is coming, and the little cakes would be nice accompaniments to some cooling ice cream.... Really, though, the cakes are simple to make, mix up quickly (no need to haul out the mixer), and bake in 10-15 minutes. If you have any chocolate truffles on hand--like dark Lindor--they'd add tremendously to your mini cakes. Unfortunately, I don't keep such temptations around, so I used a small 1-inch square of chocolate (like from a Hershey bar). I suspect a chocolate kiss would work equally well. Regardless, my mini cakes were quite good, even better than the ones I had on vacation. The little cakes are moist, not too sweet, and get extra depth of flavor from a bit of cinnamon and espresso powder. Try them! No lava (or frosting) needed. Although, if you'd like, a scoop of ice cream, a fluff of whipped topping, a drizzle of chocolate sauce, and a scattering of raspberries would all make nice additions (separately or all together if you're feeling indulgent).

Air Fryer Mini Fudge, Not Lava Cakes

Air Fryer Mini Fudge, Not Lava Cakes -- Makes 4

1 egg

1/4 cup of canola oil

1/2 cup of low-fat buttermilk

1/3 cup of sugar

2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar

1/4 cup of cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of espresso powder

2/3 cup of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1/8 teaspoon of salt

4 squares of chocolate (about 1-inch square)

Confectioners' sugar, ice cream, whipped topping, and/or fruit (optional)

Coat 4 ramekins (3-4 inches round) with baking spray (the kind with flour in it) and preheat the air fryer to 320 degrees. To a medium mixing bowl (or a quart measure, which is easier), add the egg, canola oil, buttermilk, sugars, cocoa, cinnamon, and espresso powder and whisk them together well for a few minutes. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, and salt for a minute or so until you have a mostly smooth batter. Pour the batter into the prepared ramekins and push a 1-inch square of chocolate into the center of the batter in each ramekin, pressing the chocolate until it's submerged in the batter. Put 2 ramekins in the air fryer and cook them for 10-15 minutes or until they're firm to the touch on top and a pick inserted on the side of a cake (not the middle!) comes out with only a few moist crumbs and no wet batter attached. Let the cakes cool in the ramekins a few minutes before removing them to cool completely. Repeat the baking process with the remaining two ramekins of batter. Serve the mini cakes plain, dusted with confectioners' sugar, or with ice cream, whipped topping, and/or fruit.

Air Fryer Mini Fudge, Not Lava Cakes

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