What’s the one thing that makes these Molten Chocolate Cakes stand out from the crowd? The oozing chocolate centre. It isn’t raw cake batter, it’s chocolate ganache. No more stressing about overcooking and losing the chocolate lava – because melted chocolate will always ooze!
Molten Chocolate Cakes
Molten Chocolate Cakes, also known as Lava Cakes, are warm individual-size chocolate cakes with oozing chocolate centres.
Most recipes will simply have you undercooking a chocolate cake batter, so the outside is set like cake but the inside is raw batter that pours out like lava when you cut into it. Hence the name!
But why settle for cake batter when you can have the real thing? I’ll take molten real chocolate over raw cake, thanks!
What you need for Lava Cakes
Here’s what you need to make Molten Chocolate Cakes:
Dark chocolate / semi-sweet chocolate chips – for both the cake batter and the chocolate ganache filling. Anything up to 50% cocoa will work here. Do not use chocolate with a higher cocoa %. The cake isn’t as soft and also it’s quite hard to make a small batch of ganache with a high cocoa % chocolate;
Flour – A surprisingly small amount, just 2 tablespoons for 4 cakes! Are you shocked? 🙂 These babies are literally mostly chocolate – and we’re all very happy about that!!
4 eggs – We’re using 2 whole eggs and 2 yolks.
Sugar – White caster sugar / superfine sugar. The finer grains make it easier to incorporate into the batter;
Butter – Unsalted; and
Cream – Heavy / thickened cream to make the ganache filling.
If you’re short on time, you can just use Lindt balls instead of making your own ganache!
How to make Molten Chocolate Cakes
You’ll need a few hours for the ganache to set so you can scoop up balls to drop into the batter. But once that’s done, the cake itself is a 10-minute hand-mixing job, and a 20-minute bake.
1. Ganache for molten chocolate filling
This ganache is thicker than traditional ganache. Ordinarily, a ratio of 1:1 chocolate to cream is used. For Lava Cakes, I use less cream so the ganache oozes more thickly and slowly. Otherwise it runs out of the cake too quickly.
Ganache – First, make the ganache. Traditionally ganache is made by pouring hot cream over chocolate, letting it stand to make the chocolate melt then stirring until it’s smooth and combined.
For this recipe, we only need a small batch of ganache. This doesn’t work so well using the hot cream method. So we’re doing it the old-school way: put chocolate and cream in a bowl, microwave in 20-second bursts to melt, then stir until combined and smooth; and
Chill ganache – Once melted, refrigerate until it’s firm enough to scoop into balls. For a small bowl, it shouldn’t take longer than 2 hours or so.
Remember: If you’re short on time, you can just use a Lindt ball instead of making ganache!
2. Molten Chocolate Cake batter
Start the batter once the ganache is firm:
Grease & dust moulds: Grease 4 x 170ml / 5.75 oz dariole or pudding moulds with butter then dust inside with cocoa powder. This ensures the cakes slip right out. You’ll see me demo how I do the dusting in the recipe video below.
No moulds? No problems! Just use ramekins or muffin tins. The puddings won’t stand as tall, but it will taste just as good! Bake times in recipe notes.
Melt chocolate: Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring in-between. Then leave to cool for 5 minutes to ensure it doesn’t cook the eggs!
Finish Batter: Whisk the eggs and sugar first, then add the chocolate mixture and finally fold through the flour.
Avoid vigorously mixing. There’s not much flour in this, but we can still over-work the gluten which will make the cake less tender. Once you can no longer see flour and the batter has come together and is smooth, stop mixing;
Fill moulds: Fill the prepared moulds ⅓ of the way with the batter;
Drop in ganache: Drop in one generously-heaped teaspoon of ganache and cover with more batter until it reaches 1.5cm below the rim;
Bake for 20 minutes, feeling confident in the knowledge that you needn’t worry about an overcooked molten centre that doesn’t ooze! Because ganache will always ooze!
Turn out: Stand for 2 minutes to let the cake stabilise a bit so it won’t collapse when you turn it out. Then place the mould upside-down on a plate. Give the base a solid tap with a spoon, and gently slide mould off. Voila!
And now, for that moment everybody been anticipating … when you crack into the cake and see that hot chocolate lava come pouring out. Ooof … Surely one of the greatest chocolate theatre moments in living history!
Backtracking a bit now to plating up. 🙂 A scoop of ice cream or dollop of whipped cream is sensational here. The whole hot vs cold and creamy thing is amazing. Finish with a dusting of cocoa powder to pretty it up.
A splash of colour and freshness is always nice, whether it be strawberries, raspberries or perhaps some little edible flowers for looks.
Hmm, it looks like quite a frightful mess once you start digging in, doesn’t it? But a deliciously frightful mess, right?? – Nagi x
PS Extra bonus: keeps 3 to 4 days and you still get the molten centre because reheating won’t cook the chocolate ganache inside! I just reheat in the microwave for 45 seconds, and it is as good as new. If you try reheating the raw cake batter Lava Cakes, the inside cooks.
Watch how to make it
Molten Chocolate Cakes
Molten Chocolate Ganache Centre:
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or melts/ semi sweet chocolate chips (Note 1)
- 4 tbsp cream , heavy/thickened
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips or melts/ semi sweet chocolate chips (Note 1)
- 100g / 7 tbsp unsalted butter , cut into 1cm / ½" cubes
- 2 eggs , at room temperature
- 2 egg yolks , at room temperature (Note 2)
- 1/2 cup caster/superfine sugar (sub ordinary white sugar)
- 2 tbsp flour , plain / all purpose
- Ice-cream or cream (highly recommended!)
- Cocoa or icing sugar / powdered sugar , for dusting
- Strawberries , raspberries or edible flowers, optional decoration
Molten chocolate ganache:
- Place chocolate and cream in a microwave-proof bowl. Microwave on high for three 20-second bursts, stirring in between, until chocolate is melted and smooth.
- Let cool on the counter for 10 minutes, then refrigerate for 3 hours or until firm enough to scoop into balls. (Note 3)
- Preheat oven to 200°C / 390°F (180°C fan).
- Grease & dust moulds: Grease 4 x 170ml / 5.75oz dariole or pudding moulds with butter then dust insides with cocoa powder, tapping out excess. (Note 4)
- Melt chocolate and butter: Place chocolate and butter in a bowl. Microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring in between. Stir well until smooth, then leave to cool for 5 minutes.
- Whisk eggs and sugar: In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks and sugar.
- Combine with chocolate: Add the melted chocolate into the eggs, and mix until combined.
- Fold through flour: Add flour and fold through until just combined. Do not over-mix.
- Fill moulds: Pour or scoop the batter into prepared moulds until it reaches ⅓ of the way up.
- Drop in ganache: Place one generously-heaped teaspoon of ganache into middle of batter. Top with more batter until it reaches 1.5cm / ⅗" from the top rim. Repeat for remaining moulds.
- Bake 20 minutes: Place the moulds on an oven tray and bake for 20 minutes, or until the pudding tops spring back when gently touched.
- Turn out: Stand for 2 minutes, then turn onto plate. Tap base then gently remove each mould.
- Serve with ice-cream or cream, dusted with cocoa powder. Decorate with strawberries!
Life of Dozer
Every year, I vow that this is the year I will teach Dozer to hold a rose in his mouth for a sweet Valentine’s Day photo!
I continue to fail.
Please just pretend I’m not there, holding his snout closed around what turned out to a rather thorny rose. Oops! 😂