When I say these are the best ever, I am being entirely serious. I’m speaking as someone who has tried molten chocolate cakes everywhere they’ve been offered and in every recipe that looked promising. I’m what you would call an expert on Chocolate Lava Cake. When I tried this one? I threw out all the others because there is only one for me, and it’s this easy Chocolate Lava Cake.
What makes it so good? First of all, I use bittersweet chocolate, which gives the cake a deep and intense chocolate flavor. No milk chocolate, and not even semi-sweet chocolate will do. You need bittersweet so the chocolate is ramped up to 11! This also keeps the cake from being too sweet. Nothing disappoints me like an overly sweetened chocolate cake, which gives me more sugar than chocolate.
The second thing about this cake that makes it so good is that it is basically chocolate, butter, and eggs. If you’ve ever made a chocolate torte, you will recognize that ingredients list. This cake is a chocolate torte cooked in a little ramekin just until the outside firms up enough that it’s not soup! There is no cake here! Just gooey, rich chocolate and more chocolate. Enough chocolate to send you into a blissful, chocolate haze. 🙂
Now, there is a teeny bit of flour in the recipe, so it’s not gluten-free. I haven’t tried making the cakes without the flour or with a substitute. Once I found chocolate nirvana, I didn’t want to mess with it. However, for all you gluten-free people out there, try some substitutes and see if it works! If it’s awesome with coconut flour or with rice flour or some other flour, I want to know! I’ll give it a try and update the recipe with a gluten-free option.
Like my White Chocolate Blueberry Parfaits (ah…some of my first pictures there!), the inspiration for this recipe comes from Fine Cooking, their Molten Chocolate Cakes with Raspberries. I made a few changes – replacing chopped chocolate with chocolate chips (so much easier!), switching out the port for Kahlua since I like that flavor better with the chocolate, and I think the recipe makes 4 desserts not 6.
Or maybe I just want more…
One more note, the shape of the ramekin does make a big difference when making these easy Chocolate Lava Cakes, so make sure you are using ramekins which are about 3-3 1/2 inches wide and about 1 3/4 inches high. Those are the dimensions of my ramekins. I use this creme brulee kit from Chicago Metallic, and it’s worked really well for me since I never have to worry about finding a baking pan of the right size for water baths. However, any ramekin of similar dimensions will work as well.
Right now you are just a few ingredients and about 20 minutes (plus letting some eggs sit on the counter 🙂 ) from the best chocolate lava cake I’ve ever had!
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
- 8 tbsp (4 oz) unsalted butter cut into 6 pieces; more for the ramekins
- 7 oz (about 1 1/4 cups) bittersweet chocolate chips (60% to 65% cacao)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp table salt
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 3 tbsp coffee liqueur
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp all purpose flour
- confectioners' sugar
- 1 cup raspberries
Preheat oven to 425F. Butter 4 4-oz ramekins. The cakes are baked in a water bath, so put the ramekins in high-sided baking dish that fits them all, and heat a pot of water on the stove. Keep the water simmering while you make the cakes.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a heat-safe bowl over a pot of barely simmering water. Stir frequently and take the bowl off the heat as soon as the chocolate is melted. Whisk in the sugar and salt until combine, about 1 minute. Then add the eggs, put the bowl back over the simmering water, and whisk them in until smooth, about 1 minute. Take the bowl off the heat again; add the liqueur and vanilla. Once everything is smooth and combined, sprinkle the flour over and mix that in.
Divide the chocolate mixture among the ramekins, filling them about 3/4 of the way. (You will have a little of the batter left over.) Put the ramekins and their baking pan in the oven and carefully pour the hot water into the pan until the water level is about half way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake the cakes for 14 minutes, or until the top is just set and looks dry. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and let them cool on a rack for a few minutes. Dust the tops with confectioners' sugar and serve with raspberries.
Make sure your eggs are room temperature - don't use cold eggs. The one time this recipe didn't work as I expected was the one time I used cold eggs.
For the coffee liqueur I used Kahlua. If you don't want to use a liqueur, I would suggest using the same amount of cooled coffee.
The recipe goes quickly once you start, so measure and lay out all the ingredients in order of use.
If you are feeling a little adventurous and spicy, add a pinch or two of cayenne to the recipe. The spice will intensify the taste of the chocolate without providing too much heat to the dish.
I use a creme brulee set from Chicago Metallic to make these cakes. It includes 4 4-oz ramekins, a rack to set them on, and a baking pan to put them in.
Adapted from Fine Cooking, Molten Chocolate Cakes with Raspberries.