It was my dad’s birthday this past Sunday and I was on a mission to bake a dessert that would be exquisite and refined. My criteria was simple: 1) something that I could make in smaller, individual portions, such as mini tarts or mini cheesecakes, and 2) something that was quick that I could prepare in less than 2 hours. The reason that I didn’t want to bake a cake was because normally less than half of it gets eaten. So then the rest ends up sitting in my fridge, staring me right in the face, and then goes in my mouth. I cannot practice self-control in that type of scenario!! So, as I was on the hunt for a mini dessert, something amazing happened. Mini molten chocolate lava cakes were born in my kitchen.
It was 11 o’clock in the morning when I started to look for ideas and my parents were coming over that evening. So, I did have some time to bake but I didn’t have time for too much icing or decorating work as I also had to prepare dinner. I came across the idea for a chocolate lava cake. I prepared a small batch to yield 6 cakes. Since I had never made this before, I had to test it out before serving. (And good thing that I did!) So, I filled up just one small ramekin and put ‘er in the oven. You can also use a muffin tray to bake these. However, it may be challenging when it comes to flipping them over. You would need a large enough plate to catch all of them at once.
So back to my cake. Well, my first attempt was a disaster. On the outside, the cake looked amazing. I could not wait to stick my fork in and see that beautiful chocolate lava ooze out! As I broke into the cake to take a bite, no lava. Maybe I needed to poke deeper. Nope, no lava. Fail. I had a delicious chocolate cake but not a molten chocolate lava cake. This was definitely overcooked.
Second attempt. I cooled the batter in the fridge and let it set for about an hour. This made a huge difference. I decided to forgo the 10 minute cooling time at the end as I was worried the cake would set in the middle. I waited only a minute or 2 before I tried to flip it over. Oops, another mistake. The cake broke as it hit the plate and the chocolate lava started pouring out. Well at least there was lava this time!
Since I only had enough batter to make 4 mini cakes, and there were 4 of us for dinner, I decided to risk it and skip a final trial run and save the batter for the evening. I had a pretty good idea of what to do for the third attempt:
- Cool batter in the fridge for at least an hour
- Let the chocolate lava cakes cool for 5-10 minutes (my guess)
I guess they are right when they say that the third time’s the charm! The cakes turned out amazing. I garnished them with icing sugar and blueberries. I also served a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. I highly recommend you eat this with ice cream. There is something about the combination of hot, oozing chocolate and vanilla ice cream that is just indescribable!!
How to Melt Chocolate
This recipe instructs you to melt chocolate. See my detailed instructions on how to properly melt chocolate and o avoid any burning or clumping on my Raspberry and White Chocolate Shortbread Cookies post.
- ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp. flour
- 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
- ⅛ tsp. salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a medium, heat-proof bowl over a pot of hot water (for clearer instructions on how to melt chocolate, refer to my link below).
- Once melted, remove the bowl and set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder and salt. Slowly sift the dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture. Beat on low using an electric hand mixer.
- Add eggs and egg yolk and continue to beat until the eggs are fully incorporated into the mixture. Add vanilla extract.
- Beat on high for 3 minutes until the batter is creamy.
- Chill the batter in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
- When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Generously grease the bottom and sides of the ramekins (or muffin tray) with butter. Brush some cocoa powder inside the ramekin and shake off any excess powder.
- Pour the batter inside about ¾ high,
- Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
- Gently invert each cake onto a plate. Sprinkle some icing sugar on top and garnish with some berries. Serve with a side of vanilla ice cream.