Molten Bittersweet Chocolate Lava Cake

B, being the ultimate romantic, rewrote the lyrics to Maroon 5’s Sugar – my new favorite song.

 “Your sugaaaar / Yes, please / Won’t you come and put it down on me? 
I’m right here, ’cause I need / A little love, a little sympathy” ♫ 

B: I know what my Natticakes likes even more than sugar. She loves her dark chocolate so horribly bitter it makes your mouth pucker. So I improved the lyrics: 
♪ “Your biiiitttterrrr / Yes, please / Won’t you come and put it down on me?” ♬

It’s true. I’m a dark chocolate snob – nothing less than 72% cacao for me!

During a date night in, we watched the movie Chef – in short, about a top chef in a restaurant forced to cook “for the masses,” disgusted by his rut of “safe” fancy food – specifically molten chocolate lava cake (in fact, he squashes a diner’s lava cake with his bare hands in rage, hence getting fired).

I was like, Hey! I like lava cake. In fact, it’s probably my favorite cake. And I don’t care if “the masses” like it too. That just means we all have good taste.

My prior Molten Lava Cake recipe was sweeter and had different ratio of eggs and butter. This version adapted from NY Times Cooking used darker chocolate and is more bitter. Molten Lava cake is actually a recent invention and, like many great things in life, a happy accident. In 1987, Master chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten accidentally removed a chocolate cake out of the oven before it was done and discovered a pudding like molten center. Bam, genius.

Cake structure 101 (from Fine Cooking)

  • Cake ratio: Flour and eggs are the major structure-builders – essentially what holds the cake together. Fat and sugar do the opposite; they actually wreck / soften the cake’s structure, providing tenderness and moisture.
  • Eggs have two parts: whites (which dry out baked goods) and yolks (make textures smooth and velvety). To get a smoother cake and balance the eggs with the fat, just add extra yolks. 

Molten Bittersweet Chocolate Lava Cake

1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons flour
Strawberry, sliced and confectioner’s sugar, to garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Butter and lightly flour 3 ramekins or tin molds, tapping out any excess flour.

Cut and melt the butter in a bowl in the microwave, about 30 seconds. Add the chopped chocolate to the hot butter and stir until melted. Beat the eggs and egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl until light and thick, about 1 minute. Combine the egg mixture, 2 teaspoons flour, and melted chocolate; beat for another few minutes. Pour batter into prepared molds.

Put the molds on a baking sheet and bake until the cakes have puffed up, the tops are barely set and the centers jiggle slightly when shaken, 7-8 minutes (don’t let it overbake). Remove and let sit for 1 minute.

Run a knife along the edges. Put a plate on top of the ramekin and (with a potholder to protect your hand) carefully invert the cake onto the plate. Tap on the ramekin bottom to make the cake come out, then lift up the ramekin. For me, the top was prettier than the bottom, so I re-inverted it back upright carefully (don’t let the cake burst!). Serve immediately, garnished with powdered sugar and strawberries.

Notes: You can prepare the batter ahead of time by refrigerating or even freezing it; just bring to room temperature prior to baking.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Super dark chocolate lovers unite! My husband and some friends are always a bit surprised by how I only will eat dark chocolate… and 72% sounds absolutely perfect to me. 🙂

    This molten lava cake sounds divine to me. While I've never made one at home, I'm a huge fan of them at restaurants… and they don't seem all that hard to do, so I think that means I need to give making this recipe a shot!