A Molten Chocolate Cake Guaranteed to Impress Your Valentine

From mcgill.spoonuniversity.com by Helena Lin
A Molten Chocolate Cake Guaranteed to Impress Your Valentine

Photo by Helena Lin

Chocolate Fondant  (a.k.a. molten lava cake or molten chocolate cake) is one of the most popular desserts during Valentine’s day. Whether you have a date to impress or you have a date with your kitchen, this cake will make your night. However, many shy away from making it at home as it requires precise timing. Just one minute too long and your cake won’t have a liquid centre, but take it out of the oven too early and the exterior of the cake will collapse. Fear not. As intimidating as this dessert may sound, here is a foolproof method to execute the perfect chocolate fondant time and time again.

Prep time: 20 minutes 
Cook time:
10 minutes
Cool and plate time: 5 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes

Servings: 4 individual cakes

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
Cocoa powder, for dusting
1 70% dark chocolate bar (100g)
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 eggs and 2 egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup and 2 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoons salt
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Optional Ingredients: 
Vanilla ice cream
Caramel sauce
Chocolate syrup


Photo by Helena Lin


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Using the melted butter, grease 4 soufflé ramekins and dust with cocoa powder.


Photo by Helena Lin

2. In a Bain-Marie or double boiler, melt together the butter and chocolate. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.


Photo by Helena Lin

3. Using an electric mixer or whisk, beat eggs, egg yolks, and sugar until thick and pale.


Photo by Helena Lin

4. Add the cooled butter and chocolate mixture to the eggs and sugar, folding to combine.


Photo by Helena Lin

5. Sift together the salt and flour and fold into the wet ingredients, adding one third of the flour and salt at a time.


Photo by Helena Lin

6. Pour the batter into a ziplock bag, cut of the tip and evenly distribute the batter into the 4 ramekins.


Photo by Helena Lin

7. Place the fondants on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.

8. Using an oven mitt, remove ramekins from the oven and let them cool for 2 minutes.


Photo by Helena Lin

9. Place a plate over the ramekin and invert the fondant onto the plate. Tap the ramekin a few times before carefully removing it.
Note: the ramekin will still be very hot at this point.


Photo by Helena Lin

10. Dust generously with powdered sugar.


Photo by Helena Lin

Optional: Serve with vanilla ice cream, caramel or chocolate sauce.

It’s all about timing: 

At the end of the day, mastering this recipe comes down to how long it bakes for. In the name of science, the following three chocolate fondants were baked for three different amounts of time to show how an additional minute or two affects the interior and general structure of the cake.

8 minutes: this chocolate fondant collapsed as soon as the ramekin was removed.


Photo by Helena Lin

9 minutes: this chocolate fondant held its structure but the centre was not hot enough.


Photo by Helena Lin

10 minutes: this chocolate fondant held its structure and was hot through the middle.


Photo by Helena Lin

Pro tips: 

  • These fondants can be prepped ahead of time by completing up to step 6 and placing them in the fridge. Simply bring the cakes to room temperature before baking them.
  • Wrap paper towels around your tongs to help you pick up ramekins when hot.
  • Don’t have a sieve? You can use a tea infuser, it works like a mini sieve.

Need some more chocolatey ways to impress your Valentine? Check out these links: 

More food porn ahead:

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