Friday, March 18, 2011


Chocolate lava cakes--fallen chocolate cake--is a cross between the most intense, rich, decadent chocolate cake you've ever tasted and a chocolate souffle. I've been making them since they first hit the restaurant scene some 15 years ago, I'd guess. I've had great success with the various recipes I've made in the past, but what drew me to this recipe was that it is for 2 individual cakes-- enough for a splurge, but not a sugar coma. Since I've had good success with the other recipes I've tried from The Best of America's Test Kitchen 2011, I anticipated that these ultra-chocolatey, molten-in-the-middle cakes would be a special ending to a family dinner.

Serves 2
cocoa powder, for the ramekins
2 tbs unsalted butter, softened
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Ghiradelli)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 tbs granulated sugar
pinch salt
1 tbs all purpose flour
confectioner's sugar for dusting (optional)

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter two 6 ounce ramekins and dust with cocoa powder.

Combine the butter and chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high until melted, 1 to 3 minutes, stirring often. Stir in vanilla.

In a large bowl, whip the egg with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip the egg to soft, billowy mounds, about 1 minute. Gradually whip in the granulated sugar and salt; continue to whip the egg until very thick and pale, 5 to 10 minutes longer.

Scrape the whipped egg mixture on top of the chocolate mixture, then sift the flour over the top. Gently fold the mixture together with a large rubber spatula until just incorporated and no streaks remain.

Divide the batter between the prepared ramekins, smooth the tops, and wipe any drops of batter off the sides.  Place the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet and bake the cakes until they have puffed about a 1/2 inch above the ramekins and jiggle slightly in the center when shaken gently, 10-13 minutes.

Run a small knife around the edges of the cake and gently invert onto an individual serving plate. Let sit until the cakes release themselves from the ramekins, about 1 minute. Dust with confectioner's sugar (if using) and serve immediately.
With a tiny scoop of vanilla ice cream, this was a small piece of heaven. I loved the runny center, the deep chocolate flavor, and the warm airy cake. This is my new go-to lava cake (sorry! Old Faithful). It was so easy to prepare. In fact, I prepared them earlier in the day and kept the filled ramekins in the fridge until they were ready to bake. I wondered if this would inhibit the puffing--it didn't. You must try these.


  1. Easy Peasy!! Thanks for the Chocolate Rush!

  2. Really a romantic dessert for two lovely !

  3. Mmmm. You made something very similar for a school breakfast once. It was delicious. I might have to try this recipe myself.

  4. I will be trying these when I have my next chocolate attack. I love that they keep until baking time. Your photo just invites.

  5. We first tasted chocolate lava cakes like this on our first (and only) cruise! I've made them every Valentine's Day since! I like that this is a recipe for only two cakes as this will help me make them more often and not feel guilty about it. :)

    Happy Spring Arlene!

  6. I love that this recipe only makes two! It's so hard to find recipes for small batch baking and I would definitely benefit way fewer desserts.

    I've been hearing great things about the ATK 2011 book. Gonna have to check it out!

  7. OK, loving the fact that is only makes two! I usually wait until I am at one of my favorite local restaurants for their version but this might make me make some at home. Yum!

  8. Oh yum! Two is just enough for me and DH. I will definitely try this recipe.
    Glad I found your blog!

  9. This is so yummy. Thank you very much for sharing!

  10. i love thisssss! i had this and a couple other recipes bookmarked to go back to and just say how much i lovvvvve it! ha, thank you for sharing!

  11. What a neat post! Looking forward for more post from you. Thank you for sharing!

  12. I absolutely adore these lava cakes!!! We've been experimenting with different flavors. One of our favorites is mint lava cakes - just replace the vanilla extract with peppermint extract and drizzle with chocolate syrup or minty chocolate syrup. We've also tried a Bailey's chocolate sauce. So delicious!


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