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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Chocolate Lava…What Could Be Better?

Today’s featured recipe is one of my most favorite recipes ever – Mini Molten Chocolate Cakes. Oh so good. Better than any lava cake I’ve had at any restaurant, except Rialto in Harvard Square, although it looks like the lava cakes are no longer on the menu. SO SAD. It is still an excellent restaurant. I mean excellent.

Okay, focus Jane, back to the recipe. It comes from the Better Homes & Gardens New Baking Book. It’s way gourmet but super easy to make. Definitely one of my favorite desserts. Of course this is coming from a person who doesn’t eat dessert unless chocolate is involved…and my tolerance for rich chocolate desserts is OFF THE CHARTS. But that means I’m picky about my chocolate, and these cakes get an A+. Click on over to the Recipes-Sweet Things and scroll to the bottom of the page for the recipe.

A few quick notes:

Before I had my KitchenAid I would just use my hand mixer to beat the egg mixture. That worked just fine…but the KitchenAid is pretty awesome at getting the eggs oh so light and fluffy.

The recipe calls for melting the chocolate & butter in a heavy pan on low heat, but I usually use a double boiler (pyrex bowl over slowly simmering water). I trust myself more this way…less chance of me burning the chocolate. Also, you can just use chocolate chips – they taste great. I’m sure fancy chocolate would taste even better, but the chocolate chips work very well. If I wasn’t the cook, I would never guess it wasn’t the highest quality chocolate being used.

I use 6 small Crate & Barrel ramekins for this recipe. It’s the perfect ramekin:batter ratio. Don’t forget to butter and sugar the ramekins before pouring in the batter. When you invert your cakes onto plates after cooling, they’ll come out pretty nicely (sometimes you need a knife to loosen them around the edges a bit first). The sugar also gives the cakes a nice outer edge.

The only tricky part is taking them out of the oven at the right time. I used to always cook them too long, turning them into plain old cakes, no molteness to be found. Now I tend cook them too short, making them too reminiscent of a real live volcano. It you find that happy medium, you end up with the perfect amount of molten goodness. The edges should looked cooked and the center should be firm, but not as cooked as the edges. You just need to experiment with your oven to get it right. The picture here is of a lava cake that is NOT cooked enough. Hopefully that can help you gauge correctly! I know, so helpful. Sorry! If you don’t cook them long enough, inverting them onto a plate will be disastrous…still tasty, but not so pretty. We usually just eat them right of the ramekins, anyway…less dishes to wash. And, unless you burn them or completely undercook them, they are still mighty good even if they’re not perfect.

I’ve been wanting to share these cakes with you for some time. Enjoy!


  1. 1

    This recipe quite possibly made my day!

  2. 2
    Barbara Bakes

    I love lava cakes. My favorite was at News Cafe in South Beach. This looks like an easy recipe. I’ll give it a try. Thanks!

  3. 3

    so glad for this recipe. these were delicious. i’m always game for new excuses to eat melted chocolate in one form or another.

  4. 4

    Hi There,
    I’ve just discovered your blog! I’m a fellow San Diego blogger too. I made something similar to these recently. They look yummy!


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