Molten Center Chocolate Cakes

Chocolate lava cake

One way to make a molten center chocolate cake is to undercook your batter, preferably at a high temperature that will cause the outside of you cake to appear to be cooked. I don’t honestly think that this is the best way to make a dessert because while cake batter is tasty, I don’t want it for my dessert. I mentioned once before that I was taught to make molten center chocolate cakes by putting a ball of ganache into the center of the cake (or of a souffle) before baking. Once the individual cake is done, the ganache is melted and makes a lovely, warm center when the cake is served.

The trick of using a ball of ganache can really be done with most cupcakes or souffles, and is not specific to this recipe, so don’t be afraid to try it out with your favorite chocolate cupcakes sometime. This recipe has a fairly light cake that is somewhere between a sponge cake and a souffle, though it is much more chocolaty than those two types of cake usually are. The base is formed and a ganache ball is inserted. It’s very simple.

Once of the best things about this technique is that it is easy to add different flavorings. You can use mint truffles, for example, or even store-bought truffles, provided that they do not have a hard chocolate coating. A chocolate coating should not affect the outcome, but it’s rather like adding ganache and chocolate chips, instead of just ganache.

Whipped cream is the best serving option because the light cream contrasts with the richness of the cake beautifully, though you can’t go wrong with vanilla ice cream, either.

Molten Center Chocolate Cakes
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped and divided
1 tbsp heavy cream
3 tbsp unsalted butter, very soft
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 400F. Butter a 6-cup muffin tin and dust each well with cocoa powder.
In a small bowl, melt together 2-oz. chocolate and 1 tbsp cream, either in the microwave in very small intervals or over a small double boiler. Chill for about 20 minutes once it is smooth. (This step can be done in advance and the ganache softened before using.)
In another small bowl, melt together the remaining 4-oz chocolate and the butter. Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes at room temperature.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt. Beat with an electric mixer until the mixture triples in volume and is very thick (about 5-7 minutes). Sift flour over egg mixture and fold in. Add cooled chocolate/butter mixture and fold in until batter is uniform. Pour into prepared muffin tins.

Form ganache into 6 teaspoon-sized balls and place one in each cake, pressing gently to cover with batter. (If there is a little left over, that’s ok.)
Bake at 400F for 9-11 minutes, until the tops are set. Let cakes cool in pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack and serving on individual plates. Cakes can be served right side up or still inverted (personal preference for the look).
Serve immediately, with lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Serves 6.

19 comments

  1. I have to try this! I love the idea of using the mint truffles (which I have to attempt as well). It looks too good for words. :)

  2. Any suggestions on alternate pan types? That sounds really tempting, but I don’t have a six-cup muffin tin. (And I already have way more kitchen stuff than fits in my kitchen.)

  3. Naomi – If you have a 12-cup muffin tin, you can just fill up half of the cups.

  4. Putting a ganache truffle in the center sounds quite obvious now that I’ve read it, but I would never have thought of that before. Thanks for the tip, the warm, gooey center is always my favorite part.

  5. Ah. I had been thinking that they were larger cups. They’re normal-muffin-size, then?

  6. mmmm…… chocolate…..

  7. Helen (AugustusGloop)

    Wow. I like the idea of a mint truffle centre. Mmm…

    I’ve tagged you for this meme on The Foodbloggers’ Guide to the Globe if and when you have time. Hope you can join. I’d love to see your recommendations.

  8. This sounds wonderful! And though I’d heard of the undercooking method, I’d never heard about using truffles inserted into the cake! I don’t know if they’d sink, but I can’t wait to find out :)

  9. not for poor weightwatchers, auntie struggling!

  10. Can this recipe be prepared ahead of time and popped in the over just before serving? I’d hate to be mixing up the batter while my guests wait?

    Colleen

  11. risingsunofnihon

    You have now just officially put me off my diet! I think my perfect day now includes starting with your waffle french toast, moving on to a perfect burger, and have a molten centre chocolate cake to top it all off!

  12. I made your recipe last night and it turned out great. I put the batter into 4 6oz ramekins and they released fine. I also made it two hours ahead and then kept them in a cool place.
    Cheers.
    mac

  13. Hi, I made your recipe for my daughter’s birthday yest. Though it didnt turn out as I expected, it did definitely taste very yum :-)

    Is the batter supposed to be very runny, since mine did turn out to be quite so ( not at all thick ! ) and I wasnt confident of baking it that way, so I increased the amount of flour in it ( is that the reason that it turned out to be less molten chocolaty ) …also, putting it in for 11 mins didnt give me any crust ( I baked it for another 20 mins to get a light brown crust !)

    cheers

  14. Hi, I made your recipe for my daughter’s birthday yest. Though it didnt turn out as I expected, it did definitely taste very yum :-)

    Is the batter supposed to be very runny, since mine did turn out to be quite so ( not at all thick ! ) and I wasnt confident of baking it that way, so I increased the amount of flour in it ( is that the reason that it turned out to be less molten chocolaty ) …also, putting it in for 11 mins didnt give me any crust ( I baked it for another 20 mins to get a light brown crust !)

  15. I made this with a chocolate sauce recipe i found instead of real melted chocolate and it turned out great!

  16. This recipe was very, VERY easy to make. The only thing I would change is using semi-sweet chocolate next time. The bittersweet chocolate was a little too bitter and it turned some people away from my Valentine’s Day dessert!

    Also, I found it easier to fill the muffin tins halfway with the batter, drop in a teaspoonful of ganache, and then cover the ganache with the rest of the batter. I did one batch by buttering the muffin tins without dusting with cocoa powder and one with. My cakes stuck when I dusted the tins so I would skip the dusting for next time. If you choose not to dust, use a lot of butter to prevent sticking.

    Overall, I would definitely be making this again in the near future. I just really love the simplicity of the recipe. It makes it easy and less stressful to bake.

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