While I love the summer and the sun, my favourite thing about the cooler months of the year is all the food that would be unthinkable in the heat. Slow Roast Beef, rib-sticking soups, and of course, hot puddings and desserts. And is there any better dessert than molten, oozing, Double Chocolate Lava Cakes?
What are Lava Cakes?
Variously know as molten chocolate cakes, Chocolate coulant, chocolate fondant (though there is some disagreement about this) or chocolate lava cakes, this is a simple baked chocolate dessert with a molten or flowing chocolate centre.
To make my Double Chocolate Lava Cakes you’ll need the following main ingredients:
- Unsalted butter: I always use unsalted butter in baking so that I can control the amount of salt in the finished product. In this recipe you need 100g / 3.5 oz or just less than a stick.
- Dark and White Chocolate: Use good quality chocolate for the best and tastiest results. You only need a little so splurge on the good stuff.
- Eggs: I use European size large eggs which are around 60g / 2 oz each.
- Sugar and Flour: I use ordinary white sugar and plain or all-purpose flour in this recipe.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: I use unsweetened DUTCH PROCESSED cocoa powder in this recipe. This type of cocoa powder gives a rich, dark colour and strong chocolate flavour.
Tips for perfect Chocolate Lava Cakes
Chocolate Lava Cakes have such a simple set of ingredients, but they have a reputation as being fiddly, or worse, stressful. In actual fact, they are the ultimate prepare ahead dessert, meaning all you have to really do on the night is pop them in the oven and then plate them up.
What famously makes these desserts seem difficult is that they cook very quickly, so you’re always advised to keep a sharp eye on the clock.
This is important, but the fact of the matter is that we all have different ovens, different fridge temperatures, different kitchen temperatures and all these things will affect the outcome of a recipe.
So how to make these cakes stress free?
Two things will make these desserts stress free:
I always, always make these at least a day in advance as they keep for several days in the fridge, and even freeze extremely well.
Follow these two rules, and watch for the visual clue that I describe in the recipe and you will be a lava cake pro in not time.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I prepare Easy Chocolate lava cakes in advance?
These desserts freeze brilliantly! They can be cooked from frozen (you’ll need to add a few more minutes to the cooking time) and are so delicious nobody will ever guess. They will also keep, uncooked, in the fridge for up to 4 days.
How can I be sure of a molten centre in the chocolate lava cakes?
As mentioned above, all ovens are different, so the times given are a guide only – the trick of putting a little chocolate in the middle will pretty much guarantee a molten centre – even if you overcook them a little! How gooey you like them is really a matter of personal taste – I prefer to cook them a little more and have them come easily from the moulds than to undercook them and have a nervous breakdown when they fall apart.
I am scared of turning them out of the ramekins or baking dishes! What if they stick? What if they break?
If you are at all unsure about flipping them over, or are already feeling a bit stressed, simply serve them in the ramekins. They look beautiful anyway!
Can I halve or double this recipe?
This recipe serves four, and I often halve it if it is just the two of us eating. It doubles perfectly as well so just scale up or down as you need, bearing in mind that they freeze so well there is never any harm in having a few stashed away for a chocolate emergency.
A note on baking times
Everybody has an oven that works a little differently. Whether hotter in spots, cooler in others, gas, electric or even wood burning. All of these differences mean the cakes can take a minute or two more of less to cook.
Keep an eye on them in the last minutes of cooking, and when they are puffed over the top of the ramekins with a slight dimple in the middle (see the pictures) they are ready.
Double Chocolate Lava Cakes Recipe
- 100 g (3.5 oz) unsalted butter, diced
- 100 g (3.5 oz.) dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- 2 eggs
- 60 g (5 Tbsp)sugar
- 1 Tbsp plain flour
- 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (see notes)
- 4 large pieces of white or dark chocolate for the middle
- extra unsweetened cocoa powder, to dust
- 125 g (1 cup) fresh raspberries or other berries
- 200 g (7 oz.) creme fraiche or 4 scoops vanilla icecream
- PREPARE: Generously butter four 125ml (½ cup) ramekins or dariole moulds. Dust well with cocoa, tapping out any excess, then set aside on an oven tray. Heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4.
- MELT CHOCOLATE: Place the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl, then set it over a pan of simmering water, ensuring the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Stir occasionally until melted, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool while you prepare the next step.
- BEAT EGGS: In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy. Whisk in the flour and cocoa, then pour the melted chocolate on top and fold through. The mixture will thicken quite dramatically, but don't worry!
- DIVIDE MIXTURE: Divide the mixture evenly between the ramekins - it will come about three-quarters of the way up the side of the dish which gives it plenty of room to puff up. Push a piece of chocolate into the middle of each cake, then use a teaspoon to smooth over the tops. At this point, you can refrigerate the cakes until they are needed, for up to 4 days.
- BAKE: Bake on the baking sheet in the middle of the preheated oven for 13 minutes from room temperature, 15-16 minutes from fridge temperature, or until they have puffed and risen, with a slight, moist-looking dimple in the middle.
- COOL THEN INVERT: Remove from the oven and allow to cool for two minutes, before running a thin, sharp knife around the outside of the fondants to loosen. Put a serving plate on top of each fondant, carefully invert (you'll need a tea towel or gloves as the ramekins are still hot) then remove the ramekins.
- SERVE: Dust with a little extra cocoa, and serve immediately with raspberries and creme fraiche or scoops of vanilla ice cream.
For the chocolate in the middle, white is my favourite, but dark, milk, or even flavoured truffles all work well - I use 2 squares from an ordinary chocolate block per cake.
For lovely dark lava cakes look for Dutch processed unsweetened cocoa powder.
Imperial and cup measurements are approximate. For best and most accurate results I use and recommend a digital kitchen scale like the one below.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 lava cakes Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 737Total Fat: 57gSaturated Fat: 34gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 227mgSodium: 153mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 6gSugar: 40gProtein: 8g
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