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December 11, 2008 3:25 PM

Get 'em while they're hot: Theo chocolatier Autumn Martin takes the (molten-chocolate) cake

Posted by Nancy Leson

Bless my pal Mina's heart. And God help mine. Yesterday she showed up at my door with two tiny canning jars filled with chocolatey goodness: the dessert course served at my book-club meeting the night before. Which I'd missed, because I was busy accompanying my kid to the Greater Seattle Aquarium Society's annual Christmas potluck where I got to play Fisho and trade White Elephant gifts. (Don't ask.) Anyway, last night, when Mr. Sweet Tooth, Jr. wondered, "What's for dessert?" I thrilled his sweet little heart by offering up these:

Turns out Mina had been at the Ballard Sunday Farmers Market last weekend where she ran into Autumn Martin, head chocolatier at Fremont's Theo Chocolate, who's started a side-business of her own:

photo of Autumn Martin courtesy of Mina Williams

You've got to love Autumn's idea for selling molten-chocolate-cake-in-a-jar, which came to her after she'd made them for a dinner party. She explained this to me earlier today when I caught her by phone at Theo, where she was busy creating 2-foot-tall Santas using premium fair-trade chocolate from Madagascar and the Ivory Coast. "My very first [sales] day I sold about 80 cakes" she said. "It blew my mind."

This Sunday will be her fourth as a farmers market vendor, where she's also selling Josephine's (butter almond rum financiers, $3 each), and a mix of sauteed dates, bacon, blue cheese and croutons (soaked with olive oil and balsamico) to nibble from a paper cone (!) as you stroll ($7). Josephine, she explained, is her sister's nickname. The "decadent" molten chocolate cakes ($7 each) are named "Ari Cole" in a nod to her brother's two middle names.

"He doesn't have a sweet tooth," Autumn said of her big brother, "but when we go out to eat he always orders the molten chocolate cake." You can enjoy her bro's namesake at the farmers market, where, once you pay-up, she'll give you a kitchen-timer set to go off when your cake (baked directly in its glass jar, sans the lid), comes hot out of her antique propane-fueled oven.

Or do as Mina did and buy the treats to-go. Then indulge yourself -- or your friends. Those hot-selling cakes keep in the fridge for a week (or in the freezer for three weeks) and make the perfect dinner party show-stopper. You just pop them into the oven at 325-degrees for 17 minutes and they come out looking like this:

I don't suppose I need to tell you last night's dessert was delicious -- and crazy-rich. Which explains why I had to pour myself a second glass of non-fat milk:

So, what great treats have you been buying at our local farmers markets?

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