Chocolate lava cakes are a fabulous dessert with an oozing dark chocolate inside and a crispy brownie outside that melts in your mouth. Plus, you won't believe how quick and easy they are to make!
Chocolate lava cakes are one of the most fabulous desserts I know of with their gooey dark chocolate centers and crispy brownie-like outsides. It's serious chocolate goodness all wrapped up in an elegant presentation when baked in ramekins.
But - would you believe it if I told you that they take about 10 minutes to make and just 14 minutes to bake? It's true! Goodness - that something so good should be so easy is like a little chocolate miracle, right?
It's because of that combo of quick yet special that lava cakes are my go-to dessert recipe for entertaining. I have made these many, many times and they remain a family (and whoever is at our table) favorite.
There are fussy recipes out there which have you shape balls out of ganache for the centers, or fill a pan with water to cook the ramekins in, but you can probably guess that my recipe is not like that. I'm all about simplicity, and I regularly look for the easiest route to an end product- as long as it doesn't affect that end product.
And I can tell you, with conviction, that the simpleness of this recipe does not affect the end product at all...no sireee.
Individual Chocolate Lava Cakes
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The recipe makes four half-cup sized ramekins. I used to make larger cakes, but they are really rich, so I cut the recipe down to fit into half-cup sizes. (You can use larger sized ramekins if that's what you have, the batter will only come to 3/4 or half full, but will bake and unmold the same if well prepared.)
One of my secrets to making it easy to unmold the cakes after cooking (which isn't really a secret- just good practice) is to generously brush the insides of the ramekins with butter - making sure to get ALL the crevices. Then dust the cups with cocoa powder (not flour) so that there are no white particles when the cakes are released after cooking.
And more chocolate is always a good thing in my book.
After prepping the ramekins, continue with the recipe, mixing the batter and dividing it between the cups. Bake until the top looks set - just make sure to bake the cakes right before you want to eat them, as they are gooiest when warm.
Make-Ahead Tip: Since there's no baking powder in the recipe, you can make the batter about an hour in advance and leave them on the counter while you prepare the meal. As you are sitting down to eat dinner, pop the cakes into the oven to cook so that they are perfectly warm when it's time for dessert. You can also cover the ramekins with plastic wrap and refrigerate for longer before baking - even overnight.
Unmold the cakes by inverting the ramekins onto individual dessert plates within about 5 minutes of removing from the oven. Lift off the ramekin carefully using a hot pad - but as long as you butter and dust the insides of the cups, they'll just come right out. They really are easy all the way around!
I like to dust with more cocoa powder - you could use powdered sugar or drizzle with homemade chocolate syrup as well. Sometimes we even add a scoop of ice cream- but really not very often, as these are so rich.
They're so unassuming when served, but as soon as the hidden center "lava" is opened, the oohs and aahs start. And when the first bite is taken...
Well, let's just say you better be ready with the recipe!
Quick And Easy Lava Cakes
- 1/2 cup chopped chocolate or chocolate chips (bittersweet or semisweet) (3½ ounces)
- 1/3 cup butter plus more for greasing
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons flour*
- 2 eggs
- cocoa powder for dusting
- Heat oven to 400 degrees (if you are cooking right away). Generously grease the inside of four ½ cup ramekins with softened butter and dust with cocoa powder, tapping out any excess.
- Melt the chocolate and butter together how you like - using a double boiler, or in the microwave. I prefer the microwave, using a 4 cup glass measure and heating for 45 seconds, then whisking until smooth. If using a double boiler, transfer the chocolate mixture to a medium sized bowl.
- Stir in the sugar and flour. Then add the eggs and whisk until everything is incorporated.
- Divide the batter evenly between the cups (they will be about 3/4 full) and set the cups on a small cookie sheet to make it easy to go in and out of the oven. See note for make ahead option.**
- Bake for 15 minutes until tops are firm and edges are set. Invert immediately (or at least within five minutes) onto individual serving plates. Dust with additional cocoa powder, if desired.
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