Let’s talk about one of my favourite desserts - the decadent, indulgent, and absolutely dreamy chocolate lava cake. Here in Singapore, you can find it in cafes, restaurants, and now you can even find it in 7-11 outlets. To be fair, if you really think about it, what’s not to like? It’s essentially cake made primarily out of chocolate, with a bit of flour, sugar, butter and eggs.
The best thing about this? It’s deceptively simple to make, and it comes together in less than 30 minutes. Dust some powdered sugar on top, add a scoop of ice cream (when I'm feeling particularly fancy, I like adding matcha ice cream), and you have yourself a gourmet treat that restaurants charge a premium for.
Dusting confectioners' sugar transforms it from creamy dreamy to gourmet restaurant dessert
If there ever was a dessert made for a romantic occasion, this might arguably be the one. The recipe below yields two lava cakes made in 4 oz ramekins, or one lava cake made in an 8 oz ramekin. It’s incredibly chocolatey, and one is probably enough, so we've made the yield smaller and suitable for sharing!
While the recipe for a chocolate lava cake is simple and requires few ingredients and steps, the execution is key to getting the perfect lava cake. But no fret, after multiple tries, I’ve compiled some of my top tips for you to get lava cakes perfect for the ‘gram.
Seriously, just look at it.
I remember making my first chocolate lava cake when I started out baking - I followed the recipe to a T, but because my ramekins were a different size, and my oven temperature wasn’t accurate, I ended up getting a mini chocolate cake as opposed to a dreamy cake with molten chocolate lava flowing. It was still delicious, by the way.
If you intend to make these beautiful chocolate lava cakes, I have some tips for you.
Tips on making the best chocolate lava cake
Butter & flour - Imagine doing everything right and getting the perfect lava cake, only to realise that it’s stuck to the ramekin. Though if that happens, just take a spoon and eat it straight out. Still. Good. Essentially, you want to grease the entire ramekin with butter, add in some flour, and then twirl the ramekin around to coat it before tapping out any excess flour!
Use quality chocolate - Chocolate lava cake is made mostly out of chocolate, with a bit of flour to hold it together and provide some structure. Good quality chocolate will come a long way here! I’d also recommend using a darker chocolate instead of a semi-sweet chocolate, because this is seriously chocolatey. For our cakes, we used our favourite Belgium dark chocolate chunks that's used in our Earl Grey Dark Choc Cookies, Orange Dark Chocolate Chunk Loaf Cakes, and Double Chocolate Fudge Cake!
Do not follow the recipe to a T - When it comes to baking your lava cakes, do not simply following the timing stated in the recipe. Look at your cakes to determine if they are set around the edges, with a jiggly center that’s only just done.
Make a test batch - Test batches help you keep track of how long it takes for your oven to make a perfect lava cake. That way, you don’t have to worry about failed lava cakes when you prepare them for a gathering or occasion.
- Let it cool for a bit - While chocolate lava cakes are meant to be served warm, allowing them to cool for a minute to let it set slightly can prevent your cake from breaking apart when trying to invert them onto a plate.
Molten Chocolate Lava Cake
56g unsalted butter
85g dark chocolate, broken into chunks
1 medium egg + 1 medium egg yolk (about 70g eggs)
25g granulated sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp instant espresso
8g all purpose flour
1 tablespoon of flour and butter for greasing ramekins
Yield: One 8-ounce ramekins, or two 4-ounce ramekins (If you don’t have these ramekins, just use any ramekins you have. Baking time & yield will differ)
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 230°C. Butter and flour your ramekin(s) well.
[ How To: Grease the entire ramekin with butter. Spoon a bit of flour into the ramekin and shake/twirl your ramekin around until all the sides are well covered. Invert your ramekin and tap out excess flour. ]
Step 2: In a heatproof bowl, combine butter, chocolate, salt, and instant espresso. Over a double boiler, melt the chocolate & butter mixture, whisking occasionally to prevent burning. If using a microwave, heat up the mixture in intervals, until the butter is melted. Stir the mixture so the heat from the butter can melt the chocolate. Let it cool for about 5-10 minutes.
Step 3: While the melted chocolate is cooling, in a separate bowl, beat the egg, egg yolk, and granulated sugar until the mixture thickens and lightens in colour. You should be able to tell when the egg mixture starts to lighten, volumise, and thicken. If you whisk it by hand, it should take about 2 minutes of thorough whisking.
Step 4: Combine the melted chocolate and egg mixture.
Step 5: Fold in the flour till it’s combined thoroughly. Stop when it’s done, do not overmix.
Step 6: Pour the batter into your prepared ramekin(s), and bake for 8 - 12 minutes (depending on oven and ramekin size). Your cakes are done when the sides are firm and set, and the centers are still slightly jiggly. There should not be wet batter at all on top. Allow the cakes to cool for a minute.
Step 7: Place a plate on the ramekin, and carefully, with a towel or oven mitten, turn over the ramekin and let it sit on the plate for 10 - 15 seconds, before carefully lifting the ramekins up. If you buttered and floured your ramekins well enough, your cakes should come out of the ramekins nicely. Serve with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar, fresh fruits, or ice cream.
Trying this recipe out? Make sure you hashtag #bakestarters on Instagram so we can see your wonderful creations!