You know those types of recipes that you think must be insanely difficult, so you’re terrified to try them? You know the type…the ones that have unpronounceable ingredients, are finicky and/or need to be cooked to the EXACT. RIGHT. TEMPERATURE. (Preferably tested every 30 seconds with a candy thermometer that of course you don’t have, but wouldn’t a meat thermometer work the same way, and who owns a candy thermometer anyway?)
I always thought this was one of those. When you order them in a restaurant, and them come all melty and gooey and lava-y. Surely that decadent consistency must be SO difficult to achieve.
I came across this recipe in a magazine, and ripped it out to give it a try. It is now my favourite dessert to make for a date night or when I’m trying to impress company. It is crazy easy. You can make it ahead of time. It takes 13 minutes to cook. And you always look like the most talented person around.
There is one caveat to this recipe though. While the ingredients are not complex, nor do you need any special skills, you do need ramekins. They look like this. Basically, they are individual-sized baking dishes, often used for custards, souffles, crème brûlée, etc. Because you want the outside of the dessert to be a moist cake, but the inside to be liquid, the cooking time in this recipe is based on individual serving size ramekins.
I’ve adapted the recipe, but only slightly. I wanted a pure molten chocolate lava cake, not a spiced one, and the type of wine you use doesn’t matter, as long as it’s red. Finally, I don’t know about you, but I never have baking chocolate on hand, so I just weigh out semi-sweet baking chips. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, it’s roughly a slightly heaping 2/3 cup of chocolate chips, which looks like this:
This is how I measure my butter.
A pound of butter is 2 cups (give or take a couple ounces).
Add the butter to the chocolate chips.
And melt away.
Whisk until smooth and combined.
Then, get your really big bottle of wine and use a meagre 1 tablespoon. Yes, that’s 3 litres. We’re parents, okay? Coffee, Advil and wine…they are the support beams of parenting.
One more shot for good measure. It’s just so beautiful.
Add your vanilla. I use the cap from the bottle. It’s a teaspoon. Ish.
Dump in your icing sugar. Except don’t “dump”, because the resulting dust cloud might choke you.
And whisk that in.
I wish I could say I had saved my extra egg white, but in reality, I wasted. Shame on me.
And finally, flour.
Combine everything until smooth and divide the batter evenly between your greased ramekins.
Wipe up any spillage. Oops, missed some.
You can always just lick up any spilled batter. No one is around to judge, right?
When finished, the tops should be crackly.
Invert onto a plate, sprinkle with icing sugar and garnish as desired.
Dig in and let the ooey, gooey-ness overwhelm you.
Yield: 4 servings
- 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips or baking chocolate
- ½ cup butter
- 1 tbsp red wine
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup icing (confectioners') sugar + extra for dusting
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 6 tbsp flour
- fresh fruit for garnish
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly grease 4 (6 oz) ramekins. Place on a baking sheet.
- Microwave chocolate and butter in a large microwavable bowl for 1 minute, or until butter is melted. Stir with a wire whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in wine, vanilla and icing sugar until well blended. Stir in eggs, egg yolk and flour. Divide batter evenly between prepared ramekins.
- Bake 13 to 15 minutes in preheated oven, until sides are firm but centers are soft. Let sit 1 minute. Run a knife around edges to loosen. Invert cakes onto small serving plates. Sprinkle with additional icing sugar and garnish with fresh fruit if desired. Serve immediately.