Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. If you’re looking for a great dessert to celebrate with, check out this decadent Molten Chocolate Cakes recipe, courtesy of Jenn Segal, Once Upon a Chef. Also known as chocolate lava cakes, molten chocolate cakes are rich individual chocolate cakes with an oozing molten centers. The original recipe was created by master chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten fortuitously, when he pulled a chocolate cake out of the oven before it was done and discovered the center to be enticingly warm and pudding-like. Surprisingly, molten chocolate cakes are easy enough for even the novice baker to make at home. What’s more, they can be prepared ahead of time, stored in the fridge, and then baked at the last minute. The key is to serve them right out of the oven; if they sit too long after baking, the molten centers will cook through.
Quick Tip: You’ll need six oven-proof 6-ounce ramekins for the recipe, which you can find at any kitchen store. If you have ramekins that are slightly larger, the recipe is still doable, but you’ll likely need to add a minute or two from the baking time (and this will also impact the number of servings you get from the batter).
Shopping List for Molten Chocolate Cakes
- 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the ramekins
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped, best quality such as Ghirardelli
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 450°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Generously butter six 6-ounce ramekins (really be generous, and do not substitute non-stick cooking spray). Set the ramekins on a baking sheet.
- Melt the butter in a medium bowl in the microwave. Immediately add the chopped chocolate and stir until the chocolate is completely smooth and melted. If a few chunks remain, place the bowl back in the microwave for 20 seconds, then stir again. Repeat if necessary. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle or beaters, beat the eggs, egg yolks, brown sugar, vanilla and salt at high speed until thickened and pale, about 4 minutes. Add the melted chocolate mixture and flour to the egg mixture and fold with a rubber spatula until just combined (the chocolate sinks to the bottom so be sure to scrape it up into the batter).
- Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared ramekins and bake for 10 minutes, until the cakes are set and puffed over the edges of the ramekins. Let the cakes cool in the ramekins for 1 to 2 minutes; then, holding the hot ramekins with a dish towel, carefully invert the cakes onto dessert plates. They should pop right out, but you can run a thin-bladed knife around the edges if necessary. Serve immediately. (It’s important not to let the cakes sit after baking, as the centers will continue to cook.)
For Serving (optional)
- Confectioners sugar, vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream, and berries
Make-Ahead Instructions: The batter can be spooned into the ramekins, covered and refrigerated for several hours before baking. Take them out of the fridge about 30 minutes before baking so they come to room temperature.