Who doesn’t love a good lava cake?
Also known as a molten chocolate cake, it’s always been one of my favourite desserts to order when dining out. So imagine my delight when I discovered the thrill of being able to deftly whip it up at home, in my PJs before settling in for a night of Neflix.
To say this recipe is a simple would be an understatement, as all it requires really is stirring together the usual five suspects (butter, sugar, flour, eggs and chocolate), pouring the batter out into ramekins and popping them in to bake for just about 10 minutes or so. Add a dusting of icing sugar, a scoop of ice cream and a sprig of mint et voilà. Close your eyes and you could be right back in your favourite resto, biting into that glorious gush of chocolate!
Makes 2 – 3 Lava Cakes
(depending on size of ramekin)
- ¼ cup butter
- ⅓ cup good-quality baking dark chocolate, chopped
- ¼ cup + 1 tbsp super-fine brown sugar *
- 2 eggs **
- ¼ cup flour
- ½ tsp vanilla extract (optional)
* I add brown sugar for its higher molasses content which adds a moist touch to the lava cake. However you can use whichever sugar you like – caster or even cane sugar. Unless you’re using icing sugar (which is already powdered), just be sure to give it a good blitz in the mixer to ensure that the sugar has a very fine texture.
** Notes for doubling recipe: If doubling recipe, scale up all the ingredients by x2; however, use 3 eggs only.
*** You will also require ramekins (small glazed ceramic, porcelain, or glass dishes designed to withstand high temperatures). If you don’t have any on hand, you could attempt using muffin pan cups (make sure you dust with cocoa powder to prevent the fondants from sticking) – the cakes will just be smaller in size but more in number.
- Heat oven to 180°C. Butter the ramekins well and set aside on a baking tray.
- Create a double boil to melt the chocolate and butter: heat about 2 inches of water in a saucepan. Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium low and add a heat-proof mixing bowl on top (placing it carefully so that the base is not touching the water). Add the chopped chocolate and butter, stirring regularly until melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from heat and give it a good stir to make sure that this mixture is evenly melted and completely smooth. Set aside to cool.
- Next beat the sugar into the melted chocolate mixture using an electric hand whisk. Then, beat in the eggs and vanilla extract.
- Fold in the flour with a rubber spatula until combined.
- Divide the batter evenly into your ramekins (I like to use an ice cream scoop as it does the job relatively neatly); don’t fill the batter all the way to the top (leaving a bit of margin for the lava cake to rise)
- Bake the lava cakes for 8 – 10 minutes until the sides are slightly firm but the centre tops are soft, with a squidgy-ish wobble (you’ll know it when you see it; my lava cakes are ready at the 8.5 minute mark). Remove from the oven and let the puddings cool down for a minute before carefully running a knife around the sides of each ramekin, inverting it out onto a serving plate. Or you could eat the pudding directly from the ramekin – the end result is equally delicious!
- For added flair, dust some icing sugar on top and serve with ice cream, berries and a sprig of mint.
If you don’t want to bake these puddings right away, you can cover the ramekins tightly with cling film and refrigerate for up to 2 days (make sure the batter is at room temperature before you finally bake it). Alternatively you can freeze the batter for longer.
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