Chocolate lava cakes, also known as molten center chocolate cakes, are one of the most indulgent desserts that you can treat yourself to. They’re a popular restaurant dessert because there is a perception that they are tricky to make. Making the batter for a chocolate lava cake is easier than you might think, but the cakes do need to be eaten almost immediately after baking for best results. Many recipes make size, eight or more cakes, but this recipe for Small Batch Dark Chocolate Lava Cakes makes just two decadent chocolate cakes, perfect for treating yourself and a loved one.
The recipe starts out with a dark chocolate batter that almost resembles brownie batter, as it contains no leavening and only a small amount of flour. It gets plenty of chocolate flavor from dark chocolate that is melted into the mixture. The batter is divided into two eight-ounce ramekins to bake.
The baking is done at a high temperature and is done for a relatively short time. The high temperature allows the outside of the cake to set, while the inside cooks yet remains fudgy and molten. It can be difficult to check these cakes for doneness – and you don’t want to leave them in the oven until they are completely set, or you really will have brownies on your hands – so you need to trust the baking time given in the recipe below. I also recommend making sure that you have an accurate oven thermometer, as an oven that runs too hot or too cold can have a big impact on these finished cakes.
After baking, the cakes should be turned out onto individual plates and served while they are still warm. The cakes should be perfectly set on the outside and will reveal their fudgy “lava” centers when you dig in for a bite. They’re rich, packed with dark chocolate flavor and are not too sweet. I serve the cakes on their own or pair them with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream, just to add a contrast to all that chocolate. You could also serve them with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Small Batch Dark Chocolate Lava Cakes
3 ounces dark chocolate (60-70% cacao), chopped
4 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 425 F. Butter two 8-ounce ramekins and dust with cocoa powder.
In a medium sized, microwave-safe bowl, melt together chocolate and butter by heating in 30-second increments, stirring until smooth. Stir in vanilla extract.
In a large bowl, beat together egg and egg yolk until foamy, about 1 minute. Add in sugar and beat on high speed for 1 additional minute. Stir in the chocolate mixture at low speed, followed by the salt and all purpose flour. Mix just until all dry ingredients have been incorporated. Divide evenly into prepared ramekins.
Bake for 10 minutes, until the tops of the cakes feel firm to the touch and the cakes appear to be set around the edges.
Run a knife around the edge of the cakes to loosen them from the ramekins, then turn them out onto individual dessert plates. Serve immediately.