I love molten chocolate cake. This is my go to “fancy” dessert that is secretly not at all fancy to make. Some links are affiliate links that earn me a small commission if you purchase through them.
Various desserts come into and go out of fashion on a regular basis.
For example, I’ve been told that cupcakes are overdone and on their way out. And I haven’t seen molten chocolate cakes on a menu in a long time.
Apparently I’m not the most fashionable, and that’s ok. Sometimes foods are just good and fit, so we’ll continue to make cupcakes for the wee ones half birthdays, and there are definitely days and times that I’ll be making molten chocolate cakes.
Before you non-baker people stop reading, check it out. This recipe has FIVE ingredients. Five. That’s it.
And it takes seven minutes to pull the whole thing together and another 13 to bake it. Seriously, you can do this. It’s an easy dessert to impress someone when there’s an occasion that calls for it.
Like yesterday. Seriously, warm oozy gooey chocolate? It’s the perfect dessert for Valentine’s Day.
I’ve had a lava cake recipe for it for a long time, and I love making it for dinner parties. It makes between six and ten individual cakes (depending on the size of the ramekin I use), but that’s no good for when I want just enough for my family.
These aren’t something you keep around to eat the next day, after all!
I’ve been playing around with my molten chocolate cake recipe for years trying to shrink it so that I can make a smaller batch and have it actually work out.
Last night? I did it. Soooo so good.
I made two large ramekins, as the wee ones had already gone to bed, but this would easily stretch to three smaller ramekins and possibly four – you’d just need to shorten the cooking time.
What’s the best way to separate an egg?
When you separate an egg, you always want to do this in a separate dish to ensure you don’t accidentally “ruin” all your other eggs that you’ve already separated. Hubris is not your friend (trust me, I know).
Crack your egg, then break it into half over a clean bowl, holding the yolk and white upright in the shell half. Tilt the shell into the other shell half, letting some of the egg drop into the bowl while transferring the yolk to the second shell half.
Repeat until all the white is in the bowl and you have just the yolk remaining.
Be gentle and careful with this to ensure you don’t puncture the yolk with the shell.
If you mess up, put the whole egg into the mixing bowl and use that as your whole egg, then repeat with a new egg to get the yolk you need for this recipe.
What kind of chocolate do I use in molten chocolate cakes?
Molten chocolate cake uses dark chocolate, although semisweet chocolate will work. You want to use high quality chocolate, as a good chocolate taste is your goal.
Avoid chocolate chips, as they generally have extra ingredients that prevent them from melting smoothly and tend to taste plasticky.
I like to use a good quality chocolate bar or stock up on chocolate callets that are pellets of quality chocolate designed to melt well.
Can I make lava cakes ahead of time?
You cannot bake lava cakes ahead of time, but you can prep the batter in advance.
Because you want that warm molten chocolate to pour from your cake as you cut into it, you cannot make these ahead of time. They do not reheat, and they taste best straight from the oven.
That said, you can absolutely make the batter in advance and place it into your ramekins. You can prep this up to a day in advance.
Be sure to cover each ramekin with plastic wrap to protect it before you refrigerate it – and remove it when you bake them.
If you do make them in advance and refrigerate them, you will need to add 1-2 minutes to your cook time since the batter is cold rather than room temperature.
What should I serve with molten chocolate cakes?
Honestly, I tend to serve my cakes with nothing but a sprinkle of powdered sugar atop them. But you have options.
My husband loves it with a scoop of premium vanilla or even caramel ice cream.
If you want to decorate your lava cake, add some raspberries around it, or even a sprig of mint.
You can even make a raspberry reduction if you like (like the one I do for my chocolate olive oil cake) and spread that on the plate next to your cake for a delicious flavor combination.
What if I overbake my lava cake?
This is why I never tell anyone I’m making a molten chocolate cake. I just say it’s a chocolate cake. If you overbake this, it will simply be a solid “traditional” chocolate cake.
It’s still delicious, but it isn’t a lava cake.
Be sure to remove your cakes from the oven as soon as you see that the top is cracked to prevent it from losing the molten center.
How do I remove a molten chocolate cake from a ramekin?
First, if you want, you absolutely can serve the lava cake in the ramekin if you prefer. It tastes the same, and no one will complain.
That said, to ensure your lava cake pops out from the ramekin in a single piece, be sure to butter the ramekin thoroughly before you add the batter. Get the entire bottom and sides, including the edges.
Once it comes from the oven, let it sit for a couple minutes, then slide a knife along the edge of the cake and loosen it all around the edges.
Place your serving dish atop the ramekin, and hold it firmly in place. With your thumbs on the ramekin and fingers holding the plate in place, quickly flip it upside down.
Set the plate onto your counter, and gently lift the ramekin. Ta da!
How to Make Molten Chocolate Cake
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Melt the butter in a very heavy saucepan. While the butter in melting, chop your chocolate so that it will melt quickly.
Remove the butter from the heat, and add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate melts – making sure the butter isn’t so hot that it will burn the chocolate (though I’ve never had this issue when making it this way).
Let the butter/chocolate mixture sit and cool for a bit while you work on the next part.
Get your ramekins out, and butter the bottoms and sides really well. You don’t want anything sticking!
I leave the butter stick in its wrapper, just peeling back the side enough to expose one of the four sides of the stick. With a secure hold, I can quickly and easily butter everything perfectly – and you can, too!
Crack one egg, carefully placing the white into a separate container to save for later (meringues? an omelet? marshmallow fluff?), with the yolk going into your mixing bowl. Crack the second egg into the mixing bowl.
If you oops the first egg, put the whole first egg in the mixing bowl – and the second egg becomes your yolk only egg. Voila, no waste – and yes, this is why I do the separated egg first!
Using a whisk, whip the eggs around until they lighten in color and are a uniform consistency – this will take less than a minute. Add the powdered sugar and whisk again until well beaten. Like this:
By now, your chocolate mixture has cooled a little, and you’ll want to add it to the eggs. Make sure you temper the eggs first so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs.
Tempering is super easy – just put a little dribble into the eggs while whisking them. Slowly add a little more, continuing to whisk. After you add about a quarter of the chocolate mixture and incorporate it, go ahead and add the rest, whisking until it’s all combined.
Get your flour – and when I say not quite a quarter cup, I mean about this much:
Add it to your chocolate mixture, and stir until just combined. Immediately pour into your buttered ramekins.
Place in the oven and bake for 13 minutes – you want the top not really jiggly and just barely starting to crack.
The spots on top show darker in the picture than they actually were; they were just shiny – don’t overcook this, or you’ll have just a really good chocolate cake. This is why I tell people I’m just making chocolate cake. There’s either a really good surprise, or people get what they’re expecting!
When they’re cooked, remove them from the oven. Run a knife around the edge to loosen them.
Place your plate atop the ramekin and – using your pot holder to hold the ramekin! – flip so that the plate is on the bottom and the ramekin atop. Slowly lift the ramekin, and bliss appears.
Serve immediately. If you’re planning ahead (I wasn’t), serve this with a little scoop of premium vanilla ice cream. And raspberries. Or just dig in with a fork and mmmmmmmm!
Save this molten chocolate cake date night dessert to make again!
Molten Chocolate Cakes for Two
This deliciously fudgy and rich chocolate cake makes the perfect date night with this scaled down recipe for two. You'll be surprised by how quickly this fancy looking dessert appears on your table - and by how quickly it disappears.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 ounces dark chocolate
- 1 whole egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup flour (scant)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Butter the bottoms and sides of ramekins.
- Melt four tablespoons butter in heavy saucepan. While the butter melts, chop chocolate.
- Remove butter from heat, and add chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted.
- Separate one egg and place yolk in a bowl, saving the white for another recipe. Add another whole egg to the bowl. Whisk eggs until lightened in color and a uniform consistency. Add powdered sugar and whisk again.
- Add semi-cooled chocolate to eggs and whisk to combine. Add not quite a quarter cup of flour (remove a tablespoon) and stir.
- Immediately pour into buttered ramekins. Place in oven and bake for 13 minutes until sides set and top has just cracked.
- Run a knife around the edge to loosen. Flip onto plates and serve immediately alone or with ice cream and fresh berries.
- You want to use your larger size ramekins for these lava cakes.
- For more tips and tricks, be sure to read the full article.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1 molten cake
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 585Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 249mgSodium: 50mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 2gSugar: 41gProtein: 8g
This site uses an outside source to provide nutrition. If you need exact details, please calculate yourself.
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