This is something you need to make, like, tonight or this weekend. It’s the cake that, when it’s on the menu, just has to be ordered, even in the face of more exciting options (not to say that you can’t then order two desserts). It’s gimmicky, to be sure, and not unlike a filet mignon: safe, uninteresting, and guaranteed to be good.
Made and served at home, these little cakes are even better because they’re so impressive. But they’re ridiculously simple to put together, and the measurements can be easily adjusted to make two servings for a hot date or ten servings for a dinner party. You can make the batter, fill your ramekins, and then just let them sit at room temperature for a couple hours (or in the fridge, if it’s going to be longer than that) until you’re ready to throw them in the oven. In 15 to 20 minutes (the perfect amount of time to digest your dinner a little, wash a few dishes, engage in a little chit chat, brew some coffee or tea), you’ll be piercing your own little cake with a spoon and grinning at the flow of chocolate lava. Resist the urge to lick your plate. Or don’t.
I made these for the first time over two years ago, and it took me until this Valentine’s Day to make them again. For shame! I adjusted the recipe a tiny bit: added salt and used better-quality chocolate, both of which made an improvement upon an already perfect dessert. I also lined the bottoms of my ramekins with buttered rounds of parchment for easier removal, something I’d definitely recommend. (Last time there were some “incidents” in turning the cakes out onto plates.) Finally, I added a dusting of confectioners sugar to the top. Presentation, people.
Molten Chocolate Cakes, adapted from Tasty Kitchen
- 4 oz good-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
- 1 stick (4 oz) butter
- 1 cup (4 oz) confectioners sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 6 Tbsp (1.5 oz) flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter or spray four ramekins, line the bottom with a round of parchment (trace the ramekin and cut out the circle from a roll of parchment), then butter or spray the parchment (or forget the parchment, at your own risk).
- In a bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water, or in the microwave, melt the chocolate and butter together, stirring often with a rubber spatula until completely smooth.
- Whisk in the confectioners sugar, then the eggs and egg yolks, then fold in the flour and salt. Divide evenly between the ramekins.
- Bake 13 to 14 minutes. The sides should be firm and the center puffed but soft. The cakes may sink a little after you take them out of the oven.
- Let cool 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edges to make sure the cake won’t stick to the sides. Invert onto a plate, peel off the parchment round, and dust with confectioners sugar or cocoa powder. Serve with ice cream and/or whipped cream.