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Molten Lava Cakes. No fire department required.

February 11, 2011

One of my favorite and most memorable Valentine’s Day dinners was the first year my husband and I were married.  I was working from home in our very first apartment together and had spent the day working on what I thought would be a really exciting and yummy dessert: s’more brownies.  I’m a die-hard s’more fan (I make my husband build a fire in the morning so I can have them for breakfast when we go camping.  I attempted to roast marshmallows over a citronella candle with my cousin one summer. I mastered the art of making them in the microwave in college.  The list goes on..), so I thought this sounded like the perfect dessert.  And in theory, it was.  But alas, only in theory.

Everything was going great.  My graham cracker crust was golden, the brownies were looking gooey and delicious.  All I needed to do was pop them back in the oven to roast the marshmallows.  Easy peasy!  I should have remembered how flammable marshmallows were from my camping experience but didn’t think much of it.  A couple of minutes later with flames shooting out of the oven, that little detail came roaring back. 

Thankfully I was able to quickly extinguish the flames, but the brownies were ruined.  We still laugh about it to this day and, even though we didn’t have dessert, my husband turned it into a positive by complimenting me for how calm I was in a crisis.  High praise from a Navy guy!  It made me love him more.

I’ll spare you the need for a fire extinguisher this Valentine’s and share a much trustier, and far less dangerous, recipe!  When cooked just right, there is no dessert better than warm molten lava cake, especially if you love chocolate.  I’ve tried several different recipes and have always come back to the one I will share with you today.  It is extremely easy to put together and incredibly decadent out of the oven!

Molten Lava Cakes
Yields: 2 Servings

2 ounces Bittersweet chocolate 
1 ounce Semisweet chocolate
3 1/3 tablespoon Unsalted butter
1/6 cup All purpose flour
1/2 cup Confectioners sugar
1 large Egg
1 Egg yolk
1/3 teaspoon Vanilla extract
2/3 tablespoon Orange liqueur

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Grease 2 (6-ounce) custard cups. Melt the chocolates and butter in the microwave, or in a double boiler. Add the flour and sugar to chocolate mixture. Stir in the eggs and yolks until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and orange liqueur. Divide the batter evenly among the custard cups.
3. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. The edges should be firm but the center will be runny. Run a knife around the edges to loosen and invert onto dessert plates.

Kate’s Tips

When in doubt, error on the side of less cooking time with these cakes.  Depending on your oven, 11-12 minutes may be enough.  Ours were perfect right at 15; you want the sides to be crisp and the center to be gooey.  I would also recommend cooking them on the lowest rack in your oven.

You can substitute hazelnut or dark cherry liqueur if you prefer; whatever flavor you prefer to enhance your chocolate.

Top with whip cream, confectioners sugar or ice cream if you like! Above all, enjoy!

Note: The recipe is scaled down from 6 servings and you will only need 2 ounces of semisweet chocolate if you use the original proportions.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 18, 2011 11:14 am

    What a great story! The lava cakes sound sooo delish…on the menu for next year for sure!

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