From their big debut in the 1990s from chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten to their ever-presence on dessert menus since, chocolate molten lava cakes are easily one of the most trodden tropes of the restaurant world. There are enough riffs on it out there to fill two internets; does anyone need another? The Smitten Kitchen has been lava cake-free since its 2006 inception mostly because I’m not terribly into warm, oozy desserts (I KNOW). But it’s not just about me anymore, is it? Last Valentines I had a moment of glowy domestic benevolence and decided to make them for the family and blew each and every one of their minds, most especially my husband, who demanded to know if I had known how to make them all along, why had I waited so long? Fair enough.
So here goes nothing. If tiny sunglasses, overalls (much to my delight), combat boots (ditto), flannels, slip dresses, small backpacks, choker necklaces, crop tops, and other 1990s treasures can have their moment again, why not these? At least, perhaps, for the duration of a single date night. Or, even better, an I-don’t-need-a-date-to-make-awesome-cake night.
This recipe tweaks the classic in just minor ways, because it wasn’t broken. I’ve found I can swap the flour with a little cocoa (in the cake and also to “flour” the baking dishes) and it works perfectly, plus is now gluten-free. I drop the sugar back a little. It makes only two cakes, because I think that’s exactly the right number (for a weeknight luxury, we split them, and add a spoonful of ice cream or barely sweetened whipped cream). And while I don’t do it here, I want you to make sure you know that you can put a spoonful of almost anything in the middle (Nutella, cold butterscotch or caramel sauce or these caramel squares, raspberry sauce, not to mention all of the ways you can flavor chocolate, such as with espresso powder, mint extract, citrus zest, and more) and it will become one with the molten center upon baking and everyone will think you are even more of a magician. You’re not going to tell them, right? That this cake has 6 ingredients, basically pantry staples? That it takes 5 minutes to assemble in a single bowl, and 7 to bake? Because if you did, you might have to make it nightly for now on. And that would be terrible.
One year ago: Slow-Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Korean-Braised Short Ribs
Two years ago: Small-Batch Tiramisu
Three years ago: Miso Black Sesame Caramel Corn and Hot and Sour Soup
Four years ago: Oven-Braised Beef with Tomatoes and Garlic and Pecan Sticky Buns
Five years ago: Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer Hearts and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake
Six years ago: Italian Stuffed Cabbage
Seven years ago: Lasagna Bolognese
Eight years ago: Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake
Nine years ago: Best Cocoa Brownies and Chana Masala
Ten years ago: Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes and Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Slaw
Eleven years ago: Seven-Yolk Pasta Dough and Best Chocolate Pudding
Twelve years ago: For Beaming, Bewitching Breads
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Foccaccia Sandwiches for a Crowd
1.5 Years Ago: Fried Rice with Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Parmesan
2.5 Years Ago: Summer Squash Pizza
3.5 Years Ago: Raspberry Crushed Ice
4.5 Years Ago: Three-Ingredient Summertime Salsa
Chocolate Puddle Cakes
- 4 tablespoons (55 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, plus more for dishes
- 2 teaspoons cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
- 3 ounces (85 grams) bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt or a couple pinches of flaky salt
- 1 to 2 tablespoons (13 to 25 grams) granulated sugar (see Note)
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk
Place 4 tablespoons butter and chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl and — either in the microwave or set over a pot of gently simmering water — melt the butter and chocolate about two-thirds of the way, then whisk until it finishes melting. (This ensures it’s not too hot to add other ingredients.) Whisk in sugar and salt. Whisk in egg and yolk and beat a good 20 to 30 extra times, to ensure mixture is smooth, glossy, and a bit lightened.* Add 2 teaspoons cocoa powder and whisk until combined.
Divide between two baking dishes. Bake 7 to 9 minutes (7 will be the most molten in the center, 9 the least but still gooey) and transfer to a cooling rack for 1 minute. Wearing pot holders, place a small dessert plate over your first ramekin. Flip it onto the plate, count to ten, then lift the cup off. Repeat with second cake. Dust with cocoa powder or powdered sugar. Serve with barely sweetened whipped cream, a little ice cream, berries, or absolutely nothing at all. Eat immediately.
*Updated to note: This is really important! Don’t skip the extra 20 to 30 whisks around the bowl. For reference, this is how it looks when it’s not whisked enough (yes, been there, done that) and this (glossy and smooth) is how it looks when it is.
Do ahead: You can make the batter and fill the prepared cups, then refrigerate until you want to bake them. They can go into the oven directly from the fridge, but will need to bake 1 to 2 minutes longer.
335 comments on chocolate puddle cakes
I dream of making these for Passover but we’re a meat Seder family (sigh). Do you think a non-dairy margarine would work in place of the butter or is that just getting too weird?
I would probably use coconut oil so you’re adding a flavor element rather than just removing and neutralizing one.
Can you use bittersweet baking chips?
Yes. I find even when bittersweet, they’re a little more sweet so the 1T sugar level will be fine. 3 ounces is about half a cup.
This recipe is brilliant! It is incrediblely delicious and so satisfying because the cakes turn out beautifully! Thank you!
Can you use semusweet chocolate chips?
I used bittersweet 60% Cacao chips and they were NOT very sweet, so I think you could use semisweet with no trouble especially if you add the lower amount of sugar.
Wow, this is delicious. I used tomer, dairy free margarine, and baked it in a single 5” foil dish. By far the best Passover pudding I have ever had.
I tried them with semi sweet 50% as I’m supposed to be “being good” but they really weren’t the same. I think it’s worth the few extra calories to make these as good as they can be. A real treat for sure!
I’ve done coconut oil successfully
(Not with Deb’s recipe, but with similar ones)
Omg thank you. This is my new go to gluten free baked desert!! It took no more than 20 mins to prep, bake, and clean up. And, they are true HEARTBREAKERS. I subbed in earth balance for the butter and drizzled orange honey on top to finish. Really, really good. can’t wait to make these for my gluten free friends and incorporate their favorite flavors. :)
Deb… I can’t stop making these. They’re too easy and quick to make and absolutely dangerously delicious. *Why* did you do this to me?
I have a dairy allergy, and we swapped in Earth Balance sticks (important to note, the sticks are a different formula from the tubs), and it works in place of butter in everything I’ve ever tried. We made these last night with it. 😊
I also tried Earth Balance (the stick form) and ended up with a puddle of grease and salty cake. I mixed the batter 30+ times, but it never quite combined. That said, it was still tasty and they baked perfectly in my toaster oven.
I’ve made these before and def delish. I want to make them for a dinner party and I’m wondering if I can mix them up, put them in the ramekins and wait until after dinner to bake? Thoughts? They would prob sit for between 60 and 90 minutes. Thx!
If you can eat nuts, miyoko’s vegan butter tastes exactly like dairy butter.
My reaction: Oh cool, my dairy seder just got a fancy dessert. Thanks!
Things I miss from the 90s: My overalls, nose ring and green Doc Martens. All captured in my college ID I dug out when I hit 40 last April.
The joys of the single life: I’ll have to measure out my ramekins, prep this tonight, and have it for two desserts this week! Thanks for sharing the “do ahead” directions so I didn’t have to ask.
Forgot to add that if you’re not the hugest fan of hot molten desserts (I know I’m weird), I absolutely adore these cold where the center becomes a perfectly-set truffle that I’m definitely not enjoying right now, nope.
Ooh! Now you’ve made them a lunch-dessert-at-work possibility…
Can I make these in little metal tins? Or will that impact the bake? I have some copper ones from my grandmother’s house that are the right size.
I use metal dariole tins and they work perfectly.
A TRUFFLE – I am sold! (And that’s why I love to make hot fudge sauce and hide the extra in the back of the fridge where I dig a spoon into it any random time, my own personal stash)
Oh, wow! I’m not a molten dessert fan either, but a cooled truffle center sounds fantastic. I have all the ingredients to make this tonight.
For the cooled truffle center, 7 minutes is absolutely right. The softer the center, the more truffle-y it is cool.
Ooh now that sounds particularly divine! Think I might have to try that. What a treat for a work packed lunch :-)
Can I double the recipe?
Yes, double, triple, it all works, just use more ramekins.
Hello!! Could I use flour instead of the cocoa powder or will that mess things up? Looks amazing and can’t wait!
If you use flour, use 1 teaspoon instead of 2 teaspoons. And you can flour the ramekins.
So easy and delicious! I prepped the ingredients before dinner and then quickly and easily whipped up these amazing little concoctions even after a few glasses of wine. Brilliant! Ready to go back to the nineties for good (actually… can we???)
Love this! Next up, mug cakes that don’t suck.. would love to see a version that matches your standards.
I also want to tell you my daughter and I made goldfish crackers this weekend (probably for the 100th time, we started 3 years ago, when she was 3) and used the heart and flower cutters instead. I love how that recipe has been one of our few constants since she was a wee toddler.
I halve NIgella Lawson’s Chochotopot recipe, stick it in a large mug, and bake it… like molten chocolate cake as well. Have been doing this on and off for years. That being said, I’m sure this recipe could also translate to the mug format.
My son made these for dessert on Sunday night and said they were pretty easy. They were delicious and rich – I couldn’t finish mine. Pleasantly surprised at how good the left-over cake still was tonight (Tuesday) right out of the fridge. Dark and fudgy, dolloped with a little extra whipped cream – yum!
It is my birthday today, and I have been trying to think of a little sweet something to make for dessert tonight that is small enough to be gone in one sitting but still decadent enough to feel celebratory. It’s like you just sent me a birthday present with this recipe. Thank you!!
Happy Birthday! Mine also 2/13/66
So happy to see someone looking back instead of always trying to do something ever stranger than before recipe wise. I spent my evening last night, reading a cookbook from someone who has written this one to be a “simple version” of his regular cookbooks and although many of the recipes are supposed to be “pantry led” I do not have many of the ingredients he suggests, ever, period. So nice to know I can go down to the kitchen and whip these babies up whenever I choose. Because chocolate and butter are always in my pantry! Thank you!
Okay but the lamb fritters in that book are amazing. Also the coconut lentil soup. (I’m just wagering a guess!)
I’m looking at the gigli (likely won’t be using that sort though),with chickpeas and za’atar because I still have chard in this CA garden and someone gave me a little jar of za’atar. But, yes that soup and those fritters (meatballs?) look yummy. Still, so much black garlic, preserved lemon and also chiles in everything! I do like to try something new and we have lots of seasonings and so forth from all over the world, but again, it is so nice to see a recipe where I will not have ingredients hanging around forever that may or may not ever be used. Chocolate always seems to get used up somehow ;)
I have that book too!!
And the mustardy cheesy cauliflower! As long as Y.O. and D.P. are in my life, all is well in the world!
It’s a bit of a low-key recipe compared to some of the others, but don’t discount the Swiss chard with chickpeas and carrots from that book either! :)
I think they might be talking about ‘Simple’, the new cookbook from the chef Ottolenghi
The roasted eggplant recipe is Amazingly Good!
Ok, so neurotic may be my moniker, but how is a molten cake with eggs safe to eat? Can we be sure that the egg is not raw? It looks so yummy.
You can get pasteurized eggs at most grocery stores if you’re concerned, especially if you’re feeding anyone who is immunocompromised. But if you’re willing to eat a runny yolked egg this shouldn’t be a problem.
My husband is a health inspector and he says the risk of food poisoning from raw eggs is tiny. He’s the one who said my Caesar dressing with raw egg was fine after 5 days in the fridge! There are plenty of things people do without thinking about it that are way riskier, like not cooling foods quick enough (sticking a big pot of something in the fridge, for instance).
Once upon a time, I was going to make molten chocolate cakes for New Year’s Eve. I’d scoped a recipe for them in Bon Apetit, bought the ingredients… but on 12/31, I couldn’t find the magazine. Anywhere.
Several weeks later it re-materialized on my bedside table!
I still haven’t made a molten chocolate cake, but maybe this will be the one. It looks delicious!
I made these, and WOW were they good! Both fresh-from the oven hot, and chilled overnight. Thank you!
Can I sub Dutch processed cocoa powder here?
It’s what I usde. Either kind will work!
Can this be made with unsweetened chocolate? If so, how much sugar would you recommend? Thanks!
Oooh, I really wanted to test this but didn’t. (It’s always my preference for a brownie-like oomph.) Cook’s Illustrated says “To Replace: 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate or 1 ounce semisweet chocolate, use 2/3 ounce unsweetened chocolate + 2 teaspoons sugar.” I’m thinking about whether I’d suggest you do the reverse and use more chocolate and I’m not certain! I’d probably, personally, add 1T sugar per ounce of chocolate.
Made these tonight on a whim. Came out great except I am at altitude (5400 feet) and would recommend increasing the baking time by 2 minutes. I found that when I released them from the ramekins that the top was not fully cooked/set yet. Even my finicky eater kid even thought “they were yummy.”
Tried this just now following the instructions exactly and my batter totally broke after adding the egg & yolk! I’ve made molten chocolate cakes a few times and remember this happening once before as well, but I have no idea what is different between the successes and the fails. Help?
Did you whisk vigorously after adding the egg? There’s no doubt hat the texture changed pretty dramatically.
What Leslie said. You’ve got to whisk it thoroughly after the egg + yolk. Smooth and shiny is what you’re going for, more than just mixed. When I skimp on this step (it’s why I said 20 to 30 extra whisks), the texture does not work once baked.
I forgot to add the yolk, and it still came out great!
I’m at altitude as well 6200 and also thought they needed just a bit more time.
In case anyone else also only has 4-oz ramekins, I thought I’d share that you can 2/3 the recipe (2.6 oz butter or a smidge over 5 tbsp; 2 oz chocolate; one egg, no yolk) and bake for 6-7 min and it works perfectly!
Thanks, Jenn, that is just the information I wanted. We’re old enough that a smaller portion is better.
Think this is actually a bit more than the recipe’s butter amount, not less. ??? I’ve made the full recipe for previous Valentines Days, and it was a bit too much for us (but wonderful). Was going to try to cut it back with this suggestion but it doesn’t look right.
Silly question, but I don’t own ramekins (!!). do you know of a good substitute? i have your standard teacups from crate & barrel…not sure if they are oven safe.
I mention using cupcake pans in the headnotes, I’d expect it to work, or bake the together in a larger dish. Or oven-safe mugs!
We used one mini loaf pan. Worked perfectly. SO delicious!
I’m a potter, and based on the fact that most commercial ceramic items are fired to at least 1850 and more likely 2350 degrees, they should be fine at cooking temps. I’d probably use them, but you do it at your own risk 😉. But no direct heat such as broiling and make sure they aren’t cold from the fridge when you put them into the oven to prevent thermal shock.
Baked these for our Valentine’s dessert. Made ahead and baked straight out of the fridge. Used Pyrex custard cups (didn’t think of the high temp, oops) set on a small aluminum baking tray. Baked for 10 min, but could have used a bit longer I think. The puddle was barely warm, and the baked wall pretty thin. Gas oven.
Molten chocolate cake is one of my all time fave desserts, but I’ve failed whenever I’ve made them. Made these tonight; I baked them for 8 min and they came out just a puddle when flipped (and the sides stuck to the ramekin, even after I thought I had buttered the hell out of them). Alas! I’m determined to try again and might try muffin tins instead of ramekins, and definitely bake them for longer.
Any tips for what might work to bake these if I don’t have ramekins?
I have 4 oz ramekins. Was thinking of making 3 but how should I adjust the timing?
It will probably fit in them, but if you divide into 3 ramekins, I’m not sure how much less time it will take — there isn’t a calculation. I’d just feel for them to be barely set, maybe take them out at 5 minutes.
Oh, I was looking for something to make for my husband and I tomorrow night. We aren’t really celebrating until this weekend, but I wanted to make something to celebrate a little. I was going to try your chocolate pudding recipe, but this is easier for a weeknight. I will make the pudding another time. Thanks for this and thanks for the 90s throwback. I was in college through the early 90s so I miss all of it!
I made them last night. Everything was at room temperature and I made them right away. I baked them for almost 8 minutes, but they were not completely set. We ate them anyway and they were delicious, but next time I will bake them for at least 10 minutes to make them set more.
Eating this as I type and regretting sending a picture to my husband as I am now forced to save the survivor for him. I used 68% chocolate and no sugar and baked them 8 min in oven proof tea cups. I will not be changing a thing but still might have to consider this the test run in preparation for another round tomorrow so I can have another! Terrible indeed Deb. Terrible.
Can I use bittersweet chocolate chips? I’m guessing yes but is there a quality difference?
Yes. See my answer here.
I’m guessing it’s the question on baking chips. The link didn’t work for me but thanks for the answer! For some reason that registered as something different than what I was asking (sleep deprived new mom mush brain).
Sorry, didn’t realize! So, yes to baking chips. They can run a little sweet; I’d just use 1T sugar unless you have a definite sweet tooth, then use 2T. Enjoy!
Would peanut butter work in the center?
I haven’t tried it but hear it’s awesome.
Can this recipe be doubled or should I mix two separate batches?
They can absolutely be doubled. Same baking time. No changes.
I did a 1.5 batch (there are three chocolate-cake-eaters in my family) using 2 eggs and one yolk, and they came out great.
Hi!! I would also like to make these dairy free.. U suggested using coconut oil, any other substitutes?
These are amazing! I want to get some other dark chocolate for next time (I only have some Trader Joe’s stuff that’s okay but a little flat in flavor) and maybe add a tiny drop of vanilla but otherwise they were perfect. Has anyone tried adding vanilla before?
I doctor the trader joes pound plus bars with the tiniest bit of cinnamon and/or coffee concentrate; a little vanilla doesn’t hurt. My brothers, who both look down their noses at the pound plus bars, both asked what kind of chocolate I used when I made Deb’s hot fudge sauce. Adding more cinnamon, some ginger and a bit of cayenne gives a “Mexican hot chocolate” flavor that I love.
Pound Plus bars are so good! I only had the three pack of 72% snacking bars which are faster to melt but I think from a different producer than the Pound Plus. Good to hear the vanilla should work :)
I used the 3 pack of Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate snacking bars, which are labeled as 56%, and I used a heaping teaspoon of sugar. Turned out perfect to my taste!
Thanks for that tip as I’m going to use Pound Plus dark chocolate too?
Has a molten chocolate cake always been just an underbaked cake? I always assumed they melted a large truffle in the middle.
Yes. What a racket, eh?
Let me tell you about the time I overbaked some truffle cakes and got … chocolate cakes. Tasty, very moist :) but no lava.
Put peanut butter in the middle. You won’t regret it, trust me.
That is all.
For anyone dairy-free (me not by choice), earth balance works great as a substitute for butter. Obviously, also choose a dairy-free chocolate (lots of them out there to choose from!).
So everyone is being very wink, wink, nudge, nudge, about the cook book with the lamb fritters. What is the book, who is the author? Lamb fritters could be a very nice dinner before this dessert tomorrow.
It’s Yotam Ottolenghi’s Simple. Looks like this is the lamb fritter recipe: https://food52.com/recipes/77877-ottolenghi-s-lamb-pistachio-patties-with-sumac-yogurt-sauce
So everyone is being very wink, wink, nudge, nudge, about the cook book with the lamb fritters. What is the book, who is the author? Lamb fritters could be a very nice dinner before this dessert tomorrow.
Whoa , I just figured it out….
Ottolenghi’s Simple book. I have deep empathy for the difficulties in naming a book something that isn’t going to make everyone say “But I don’t find this [insert book title’s promise here]!” Ahem! But I made a few of the recipes before I chatted with him at the 92Y and they were great, even if not what we always think of as simple. Simpler, perhaps.
Omg! That is definitely the easiest and quite possibly the best chocolate dessert I have EVER made!
Deb thank you for being a mind reader. I had another chocolate lava cake recipe all cued upto my valentines desert menu for tomorrow, but it was from a source that is not nearly as reliable and trustworthy as you and I was nervous to make something for the first time without it coming from someone that to me is tried and true (YAY DEB!).How fun it will be to hide a surprise in the middle! I am thinking candied ginger nubs or pomegranate seeds (or both?) would love your thoughts on if that would work. Deb, you are the Queen of Valentines!
Thank you!! I had always used the cooks illustrated recipe but had usually not needed 8 of them so this is great! :) I also love your count to ten tip, since the last time I tried the recipe it stuck to the ramekin for some reason… hopefully I can unmold in one piece!!
Molten cakes were my New Year’s Day request this year (usually it’s cheesecake for breakfast, but we had cheesecake for Christmas, haha). I love that this is for two! our standard is a Nigella base recipe ‘babycakes’ (snort) with a Gordon trick of double buttering the ramekins. But it makes too much/too many cakes! And devours our chocolate stash. This will be perfect. Thank you!
I just made these and they were delicious! Thank you!
OMGosh this was just what I was looking for tonight as a last minute Valentines Day dessert. I made them as soon as I saw the email in my inbox, and as always your recipes turned out perfectly. I used Ghiardelli 60% chocolate and added a sprinkle of cinnamon for extra oomph. I think though next time I’ll use smaller ramekins / baking cups and make extra dessert instead!
Hi deb. Thanks for great recipes.
I think you have a typo where you cut down on sugar a little. Twice :)
I always have a problem flipping hot stuff out of a ramekin. How would be if I just left it in there and sprinkled the top with sugar?
It would be fine. Maybe bake it one minute less since it can keep “cooking” in the hot dish. Btw, I did an IG Story of this yesterday where I show this but I flip it onto the plate using a dishtowel or potholder and then, when the ramekin is upside-down on the plate, slide a knife or my small offset spatula just under the edge to help lift it off. Because potholders are cumbersome.
It comes out much easier than you’d imagine. I flipped one out right away and let the others sit in the ramekins until they were cool enough to handle without a potholder. Either way, they came out easy.
This looks lovely! Wording question: did you mean to write “I drop the sugar back a little back a little” ? It actually reads rather sweetly, but I wondered if it was an editing error all the same?
Lol, it’s mistake, now fixed (it should say it just once).
Deb – Thank you!!!! I’ve been looking for this recipe – that makes enough for 2 people, not a crowd. This will be our stay-at-home Valentine’s dinner dessert on Sat Night. Happy Valentine’s Day Deb. I wish you joy, peace and Love.
I just wanted to say that you are funny! Thank you for the morning chuckle. And, yes, I too made the recipe when it first came out. Making a Valentine’s Day dinner today for my wonderful husband and thought about a flourless chocolate cake. And lo and behold, I read this this morning. And, ta da! It’s gluten free! You read my mind. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Is there any reason why we can’t print your pictures and comments leading up to the recipes ? They are really wonderful and your reasons for doing what you do are so helpful.
Thank you. Overwhelmingly, people prefer not to print photos (and use all their toner, pages, etc.) but at some point in the future I hope to have an option where you can choose whether you’d like to print them or not.
Oh, can I piggyback on this? I do prefer not to print photos for the reason you mention, but the print document includes the “related” recipes from the bottom of the post along with their photos! Sometimes I’m lucky and they end up on the last page with nothing from the actual recipe, so I can just not print the final page, but I do get frustrated that I have to print pictures that aren’t even of the recipe I’m after a fair amount of the time.
Made these for breakfast because it’s not only V day but also our 49th wedding anniversary and at our age you can have decadent cakes for breakfast. WOW.! What a treat. I happen to have a bar of dark Lindt chocolate with hazelnut chips on hand and it was exactly 3 oz. so I took that as a sign. Thanks Deb for this and so many delicious and we’ll tested recipes.
Can I just say I LOVE this comment!
Happy Anniversary!! Many happy returns of the day. :)
I only have 10oz ramekins. Will that make a difference if I just use the same proportions divided into 2 ramekins, or should I triple the recipe and baking time to fill them?
You can bake the two together in a 10-ounce ramekin.
And I only have 8 oz. ones! Need to expand this collection of mine. Looking forward to making these, thank you!
I can’t get the recipes to print.
There is a print icon that leads to a print template at the bottom of each recipe, where it says “DO MORE:” You can also click CTRL + P from any recipe post and it will take you to a streamlined print template.
Wonderful and easy! I used a 3 oz bar of 70% bittersweet chocolate and 1 tablespoon of sugar. I don’t have ramekins, so I made 3 little cakes in a muffin tin. Even trying this recipe for the first time, it only took 10-15 minutes to prep (and that was mostly spent cleaning up spilled cocoa powder/microwaving the chocolate and butter in 10 second bursts).
I only have chocolate chips and cocoa powder on hand, can you leave out the sugar and use chocolate chips???
I have unsweetened chocolate at home (from making your browniessst cookies with my kids over the weekend). Can I use that to make these tonight for Valentine’s Day? Should I go with 2 T sugar or more?
Yes, I’d probably add 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon extra sugar for each ounce of unsweetened chocolate.
This is such great timing, I’m definitely making these tonight. Question though: could I add a small amount of liqueur do you think, without compromising the consistency? Or should I keep my boozy tendencies for another time :D
I bet it would be great with 1 tablespoon of hazelnut liqueur or something equally chocolate-friendly. I’d go easier on something with a stronger flavor because it’s almost definitely going to not taste cooked.
I added about a teaspoon of nocino and the liquid immediately seized the batter and made it mousse-like where it had been smooth and properly mixed before. I persisted in whisking it but the texture never smoothed out and only became airier. I went ahead and baked them and they were delicious, but definitely had an odd texture. I’m a fairly experienced baker and will try again without adding additional liquid.
Made these tonight. Amazing. As promised very easy and very delicious. I used 52% chocolate so didn’t add any sugar and it was perfect.
Deb, Did you know that Claudia Fleming’s THE LAST COURSE is being released on Kindle this fall? I saw it as I was making your challah tahini buns for my family today. Hope your day is as excellent as every one of your recipes is. You make our world better one delicious meal at a time!
That’s great. But they should release it in print! Or maybe do a new edition? Not that anyone asked me. :)
They should ALWAYS ask you, and you should write an Afterword that would be the last Last Word! (I wish for a print release as well.) Now back to making your blueberry muffins for my ravenous kids!
If this sounds super good except the molten part, can I just cook it for longer? Or would you suggest a different recipe?
I haven’t cooked them through but I’d expect it to be fine. Maybe cook it 10 minutes only? You want it set but still soft.
Debbie, This would be great for Passover, but I have to make at least 15. How can I do this easily?
Just prep it all in advance. Also! When I was making these for the 8th time in a few weeks last night, I decided to cut (another) corner and used 3 whole eggs instead of 2 eggs + 2 yolks for 4 ramekins and it worked perfectly! So, this will be great to know when scaling it up.
I’ll be making these tonight with a bit of my home made orange marmalade dropped in the center. It is so perfect the recipe only makes two, enough to be indulgent, not enough extra to feel guilty.
I cooked it for 8 minutes and it was way undercooked. It splatted down when unmolding it. But delicious, and nice to have a recipe thats good for just 2 or 4 servings!
Yes! I just made this and it was amazing. Didn’t need to add additional sugar, and I made four mini-cakes in standard sized muffin pans. Set the timer for 5 minutes but had to pull them out around 4:20 when they started smoking, I think 4 minutes would have been perfect. They were still so great with some vanilla ice cream!
I just made this as a Valentines dessert. I chose the peanut butter in middle option. It was so easy and really good. The only complaint was that I should have made more.
I just made this as part of my Valentine’s Day dinner-and not only was it simple and easy to make, but it was out of this world delicious! Only change I made was I added about 3/4 tsp vanilla. I served it with a dusting of powdered sugar and a perfect scoop of Haagen dazs vanilla ice cream-a perfect Valentine’s Day dessert! Thanks Deb!
Oh noooo! Forgot to put Cocoa powder in the ramekin! Will it not slide out now?
How did it go?
I made these delightful confections as a Valentine dessert for my sweetie. They were so yummy and easy to prepare! I used only one tablespoon of sugar, and it was enough for us. I cooked for 8 minutes, and the inside was gooey, although not oozy, which I liked. I was worried they may not come out of the ramekins, but they released effortlessly. We topped ours with ice cream and whipped cream. I like the fact there’s no white flour and not too much sugar. I’ll definitely make these again for a quick chocolate fix!
That’s a keeper! Made it tonight for Valentine’s Day —35th anniversary of our first date!
This was just what I was looking for to make for Valentine’s dessert! I cannot find my ramekins (I likely sent them into the world with a baked good, and they never found their way home!), and I am wondering if the silicone heart-shaped cupcake cups I have might work?
Not sure of the size but I’d think so!
Please take Deb’s advice and only eat half. I made them for my family and we each had a whole one (plus vanilla ice cream, which is necessary to cut the intense chocolate). Now we all feel like we’re gonna barf. It was delicious though and as easy to make as advertised.
OM ❤️ G. This is perfect!!
I made this for dessert for Valentines Day dessert. Super easy. Super fast. And just plain super.
I made these tonight! The flavor was great, but super intense. The whipped cream and raspberries were necessary. I think next time I’ll use a mix of milk and dark (72%), because this dark at least was a lot. I’ll also use a smaller ramekin, as the result was a little flatter than I’d planned. Thanks for sharing this recipe!
Did I make this recipe for Valentine’s Day? Yes. Was it amazing? Yes. Would I make it again? Yes. It took about 10 minutes in my oven to reach the cooked on the outside, molten on the inside stage. I ran a knife around the rim of the ramekin to get the cakes to turn out onto the plate. This is the type of quick, delicious recipe that everyone needs in their collection!
I tried making these with coconut oil instead of butter. I’m not sure whether that was the problem, but when I beat in the eggs, the batter became grainy and stayed grainy after baking. Any suggestions?
Did you whisk and whisk it after? It *does* get grainy-looking after the eggs, but smooths out once whisked as written.
Thanks for your prompt reply! I didn’t actually try again until this evening, when the same thing happened — it seemed to seize up entirely. I wonder whether the eggs were too cold?
I couldn’t beat it enough by hand to make it smooth, so I eventually dumped it all into a standing mixer and whipped it until it was quite smooth. I scooped it into the ramekins, and by then the batter was so cool that it held its shape through baking. They were delicious, but not beautiful.
spontaneously whipped these up for Valentine’s day, and they were a huge hit! My husband, a foodie but 80s kid to the core said “It’s just like chilis!” with only a hint of irony. SO GOOD. I added macerated berries on top, and it was divine. New family tradition! Thanks Deb!
I used grocery store chocolate bits and unsalted butter. Microwaved 1 minute 23 seconds on 70% power, even just 1 minute would have been enough. I added just a 1/2 Tablespoon of sugar and two pinches of flaky sea salt. I filled the ramekins half way, added a teaspoon of raspberry jam and then the rest of the batter. Baked 7 minutes, I think I’d go a minute longer next time but my husband thought it was perfect. Served with a small scoop of premium vanilla ice cream. I’ve been married 31 years and this is our new Valentine’s Day tradition! Thanks, Deb.
Tried this just now following the instructions exactly and my batter totally broke after adding the egg & yolk! I’ve made molten chocolate cakes a few times and remember this happening once before as well, but I have no idea what is different between the successes and the fails. Help?
Just keep whisking it. This is why I recommended 20 to 30 extra times — after adding the egg + yolk. It should become smooth and glossy.
I made these tonight and DH loved them. Made in three muffin tin cups and baked for 6 mins. They turned out perfectly gooey.
Made these for Valentines day dinner. They were perfect! So easy to make and impressive looking for so little effort. I also like that they could be made ahead for dinner party. I would use more sugar next time. I used about 1.5 Tablespoon sugar, but next time I would increase it to a full 2 tablespoons. I used 70% bitter sweet chocolate baking bar by Ghirardelli and thought the flavor was a little flat. I messed up one of the cakes while lifting the ramekin off the plate I dropped it back on to the molten chocolate cake and broke the molten chocolate cake in half. But the other one came out beautifully. I whisked for 30 times and still had a grainy texture, so I kept whisking and then magically the batter turned smooth and shiny and perfect. For those that I had a texture issue, I think they just need to whisk more. The recipe’s description that you whisk until smooth I think is critical. I will make again and experiment more!
Oh my! This was so easy and so, so wonderful. Delicious, in fact. My husband, to whom I have been married for 38 years, said this was one of the best desserts I had ever made. And I cook and bake. A lot! It was creamy, gooey, and just the right amount of sweetness. These chocolate lovers had a most wonderful Valentine’s Day dessert, thanks to you, Deb! I served it with cacao nibs, a very light dusting of powdered sugar, and barely sweetened whipped cream. Heavenly!
I broke it. :(
Despite my bowl being quite cool, it seemed like the texture never smoothed out after adding the eggs. I guess they scrambled? It looked a grainy mess, but I tried baking anyway. It was still grainy with a bubble of liquid on the sides after 7 minutes.
Any other ideas what might’ve happened?
Did you whisk really well — that 20 to 30 extra times — after adding the egg + yolk? I made these 8 times and the only two times I had trouble was when I skimped on this extra whisking. You want to get the batter smooth and absolutely glossy (as it looks in the photos). Hope this helps.
LOL. I think this was the ugliest dessert I’ve ever made, but it sure was yummy. We have very limited kitchenware so I had to use the only oven-safe bowl I could find. The store only had Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa which I used to densely coat the bowl. So when I turned the cake out on to the plate (no trouble there), it was a very dark, unappetizing, collapsed disc. I didn’t have any confectioner’s sugar to hide the ugliness, so went with vanilla ice cream. Totally delicious and a big hit!
I really enjoyed the “smallness” of this recipe.
Made these tonight for Valentine’s Day and they were delicious! Used 8 oz ramekins and they worked fine. Thank you Deb for another great recipe!
Made these last night after a last minute search while standing in the supermarket. They were fabulous, even with estimating due to no measuring equipment, putting in 2 whole eggs (not concentrating) and then baked in mugs. Thanks Deb!
Hello! These look lovely but my husband can’t eat dark chocolate (it causes migraines), can I use milk chocolate and no sugar or is there a better solution? All the lovely desserts seem to use dark chocolate now and I have to eat them all by myself *sniffles unconvincingly*
Yes, milk should be fine, just a little more mild.
Made this for Valentine’s dinner, can confirm it works in a muffin pan. I managed to fit all the batter into 2 of the cups. Was delicious!
this was a total flop for me. i followed the directions to a tee. it never turned into cake. just a cup full of hot gooey lava. my family ate it, but probably just to cheer me up. kind of ruined my holiday meal.
Did you whisk really well — that 20 to 30 extra times — after adding the egg + yolk? I made these 8 times and the only two times I had trouble was when I skimped on this extra whisking. You want to get the batter smooth and absolutely glossy (as it looks in the photos).
i thought i did. but i was trying to do several things at once (mash potatoes! sear steaks! toss salad!). i will give it another go when i’m not quite so bitter over it :-)
Planned a 90’s inspired Valentines Day dinner for two last night and these were the perfect dessert. They were so easy—it’s going to be hard to resist making them all the time! Or maybe I shouldn’t even try to resist. 😉
Valentine’s Day disappointment :( I made the batter and left at 60-degree counter for about an hour before baking. Baked 11 minutes and still wound up with a plate of hot fudge. I used 3 ounces 72% Askinosie chocolate and 1 tablespoon sugar.
Mixed up the batter the night before, baked them cold out of the fridge for Valentine’s Day dessert. Whaaaaa, I over baked and there was no goo inside, Very disappointed. but I’m sure it was my fault entirely and not the recipe. Just gives me an excuse to try again this weekend to make them perfect
Was it baked through? Or did it seem kind of grainy/sediment-ish? If the latter, it needed to be whisked more. After you add the egg + yolk, you’ve got to whisk until it’s smooth and shiny. I can say this with total authority as someone who made these 8 times and ran into this problem with 1 to 2 of my batches. :)
Thanks for the tips Deb, but it was definitely baked through, not even a hint of goo. Will try again as these were so quick and easy, once I get it right I’m sure they’ll be a regular treat in our house. If it takes me 8 times we won’t be sorry!
Complete fail for me. I had prepped the batter about 2-3 hrs beforehand and had them in the fridge. Took them out maybe 20 minutes prior to baking. I did add 2 minutes to the bake time, so had them in there for 9 minutes. Ended up with a puddle. I baked at 425 in my convection oven. Wondering what I might have done wrong.
Sounds like they just needed to bake longer from the fridge.
We celebrated Valentine’s Day at home last night, and these were the perfect finale. Thanks for another great recipe, Deb!
What does it mean if there is a quite a bit of liquid when these come out? They tasted cooked through but had extra liquid on the plate.
Looks good, but I do wonder how much (weight wise) is 4 tablespoons of butter?
My 4T half sticks are marked as 56g.
Whoops — will add weights now. 56 grams is correct!
Thank you both for the quick respond!
Made this for Valentine’s Day dessert and my husband demanded to know why I had never made it before. Delicious. I put a teaspoon of pomegranate jelly in the middle which added a little sweetness and tartness. We then spent a sizable amount of time discussing all the fillings or mix-ins we could use. Anyone try bourbon or liqueur? Unsure if a liquid would stay in the middle.
What might work better is if you froze one of those liquor-filled chocolates, then put one in the center of the batter right before you baked the cakes. Oh god, I want to try EVERY TINY LIQUOR-FILLED kind now.
This is a brilliant suggestion!
I made these last night using 70% dark chocolate and 2T sugar. Also added about 1/4 tsp of chipotle-cayenne powder. The results were phenomenal!!! The spice added a subtle complexity that we marveled over with every bite! I *highly* recommend this flavor addition. I forgot the powdered sugar, but did serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream which was lovely.
I was very cautious about overheating the chocolate and butter in the first step, and my batter turned out beautifully after adding the egg and egg yolk and whisking 20-30 strokes.
I had mine out of the fridge for about 30 minutes before baking. Put them in at 450 for about 11 minutes and they were properly baked on the outside, gooey on the inside.
There is something sweet and romantic about a recipe for two!
Forgot to say that I used raw cacao powder instead of cocoa because that’s what I had.
These were fantastic (albeit very very rich) as written and I loved the small scale of the recipe.
Used 70% chocolate and 1 tbsp of sugar plus powdered sugar on top. Although I love dark chocolate, I might add an extra half tbsp of sugar to the batter next time since it was so rich. My husband thought it was great as is. Your mileage may vary depending on the chocolate used.
I made the batter a few hours before and baked straight from the fridge. I added 2 minutes as directed. The outer shell was just baked and holding shape. The entire interior was gooey, which was awesome, but I might add another minute next time. I will note that the top of the ramekin looked a little “wet” with only the outer edge looking baked. Just in case anyone is wondering what done but still very gooey inside looks like.
I made this in our silicone muffin pan (doubled the recipe for 6 cakes). Baked for 8 min, they were gooey in the center, probably would go with 6 min next time given the smaller size to get a more molten center. I used 4 oz of 60% bittersweet and 2 oz of 86% dark, adding 2 Tbsp sugar total to the doubled recipe, we thought it was perfect.
I made this for the second night in a row. Both attempts did not rise much and came out as pretty flat disks. I wonder if it’s a difference in ramekin shape/depth or if I am doing something wrong. They still taste delicious but I was hoping for a nicer presentation!
Say I want to make these and only eat one at a time….(horrid, I know). Cover and refrigerate, I assume?
Side note, my glass Pyrex come with lids, so I think that’s what they were made for.
I got mostly-puddles cakes, but A. it was 100% my fault and B. I ate them anyhow. If you’re reading this and you also ended up with very fancy hot chocolate in tiny bowls, take heart from a couple three other such comments and note that you’re in good company. It’s because we didn’t bake our cakes long enough, not because there’s something broken with Deb’s recipe. In my case, I let the (very-whisked-after-adding-eggs) batter sit at room temp for a good hour while I finished dinner, and then I filled the middle with a too-generous amount of salted caramel sauce (also a Deb recipe), which was (another error!) still cool from the fridge. After eight minutes, I pulled them, but chose to ignore how very wiggly they were. Once I managed to invert them, they looked like atolls in chocolate oceans. Still delicious, not cakes. Had I baked them another, say five minutes, I bet they would have looked just like Deb’s photos. Once I buy more solid chocolate, I’ll try this again and giggle over memories of my ’90s infatuation with certain foods.
Also, for folks who are seeking answers to questions regarding substitutions like chocolate chips and coconut oil, please remember than CTRL+F is a present help in time of need. It’s so damn satisfying to find answers that way, isn’t it?
These were very good! Used 72% chocolate and we both agreed we either need to add more than 1 tablespoon of sugar or some vanilla ice cream is in order. Darn, guess we’ll have to try again to obtain perfection :-)
I love chocolate desserts! Looks so delicious and chocolatey ♥
Delicious! I made it twice in three days, it’s that good and that easy. I split the batter between three ramekins and had just the right size servings. Great with berries.
I made 3 eight ounce ramekins with these mods:
6 Tbsp butter
1Tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 heaping cup 60% chocolate chips
Pinch of salt
1 Tbsp sugar
2 full eggs
Fantastic! I had 1.5 cups of batter in allthat rose while baking so the ramekins were full to the top when they came out of the oven.
This recipe is sooo good! I absolutely love it! ❤️
I am so grateful for everyone’s questions and comments, I made this for a crowd so 8 ramekins. Phenomenal. The first 2 I took out of the cups were very runny, but still delicious beyond everyone’s imagination.
I quadrupled most things. Used bittersweet.
Salt, I guessed
Sugar, 7 tablespoons
Eggs, 6 large. No extra yolk
Breyer’s vanilla was a must in spite of living in Ben and Jerry’s vicinity!
This was fun and very satisfying!
Delicious! I used four 3oz heart tins that I inherited from my grandmother and they were extra-sweet with the heart shape. I used coconut oil, though reduced amount to ~3.3 tablespoons (due to lower fat % in butter) and it worked very well. No coconut taste even with unrefined oil. Overbaked them at 6min cold from fridge, but completely yummy anyway. FYI, I was eyeing doneness closely and took them out with an unset middle and there was no molten center. They must need to look quite underbaked to come out right.
A great recipe. Missing pictures of ‘not whisked enough’ and ‘whisked enough’? O I get it. you want us to click on the words..I see now. :)
I will be making this dessert! 💖💖
Can this be made successfully in a silicon cupcake pan [12 cups]? I would multiply the recipe to fill the pan.
I’ve made these twice already–I suspect I’m not the only household about to become addicted to constant lava cakes..
Anyway, added some cinnamon and cayenne the second time around, for a different direction. Thank you for the insanely easy, insanely delicious recipe. I’m going to try to finish out this day WITHOUT a lava cake, yikes.
I want to know if your aversion to lava cakes is the same as mine: the idea that I am somehow eating uncooked cake batter? And my husband is like yours: I avoid desserts (sweet rolls, whatever) referred to as “gooey” and to him, “gooey” = “serve me seconds.” 🙂
Oh my word my husband will LOVE this! Totally plan to make it for him on our next surprise date night :) He LOVES chocolate! Thank you for the great recipe idea!
450 degrees??? why such a hot oven? Thanks.
Your oven needs to be so hot to cook the outside before the inside is cooked. Usually you bake in a moderate oven to ensure that everything is evenly baked at the same time. That being said, I baked these in copper molds and I think I’d use 425 next time as I suspect the metal conducted the heat even more efficiently and they were more more molten on the inside than I really wanted. If I left them longer they would have been almost burned on the outside.
In any case we loved them! Another winner from Deb!
I have four 3-oz cups – can I change the portions or will this not work out?
I have made these twice, and they are amazing! Running a knife gently along the inside helps them pop out. And I made them for a gluten free friend who savored every single bite :)
you could and should put peanut butter in the centre! I think your husband will 200% approve of that!
Sounds so yummy. I would love to make this for Passover too. When you say, “prep” ahead for a crowd, that means putting them in the frig? How far ahead can that be done? Any suggestions for an alternative option to offer guests who don’t like/can’t eat chocolate (for Passover)? Could I make this in a springform pan if serving a lot of people? How long would I bake it? I just think it will take too long to take them out of the ramekins. On second thought, maybe I can just serve them in the ramekins?
Has anyone tried this with a sugar replacement? I’m on keto, and these look very achievable if I use sugar free chocolate (Lily’s) and replace the granulated sugar. But I’m new to keto baking and still unsure about replacing sugar. Thanks!
I made a quadruple batch of these on Sunday for a friend’s birthday– she changed her request from chocolate mousse when I mentioned having read this recipe– and everyone loved them! I made the batter and filled the baking dishes ahead of time, before we went out for a birthday lunch, and then popped them in the oven as soon as we arrived back home. Super delicious! Perfect with just a bit of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
They did take a little longer than 10 minutes to bake (more like 12-13 minutes), but they had been chilled.
I baked them in six ounce glass bowls (from Luminarc) because I live in Kampala, Uganda, and our baking supplies are somewhat limited. I was nervous, but the bowls were labeled as “extra tempered”, and they worked like a dream.
Thanks for another great recipe!
I want to make this, but wonder if I can get by with just 1 egg. I hate having leftover yolks or whites, because I forget about them, and then they’re wasted.
I also wonder if the size of the egg matters. I sometimes am lucky enough to get eggs from a neighbor, and they vary in size a lot. If I had a bigger egg, would it be safer to use just one, or maybe two (whole) smaller ones? What weight of eggs would I aim for?
I’m a fairly experienced baker and for some reason, these cakes came out like chocolate soup that wouldn’t hold their shape. At 7 minutes, the cakes were still bubbling in the oven so I let them stay in for another 4 minutes but they started burning and I just ended up taking them out. I had made these for Valentine’s Day so was really disappointed why they didn’t turn out. I even went back and triple-checked the recipe to make sure I got the measurements right, but don’t know what happened.
I made these for Valentine’s dinner, using 70% dark chocolate, and 1 tbsp sugar. I made the dough in advance and kept in the fridge for about 2 hours before baking them, so kept them in the oven a couple of mins longer, as suggested (about 11 mins). They turned out of the ramekins beautifully, following the advice in the recipe. Though they were gooey in the middle, I think I should have taken them out about the 9 or 10 min mark, or somewhere in between, to get a more liquid centre as I think I would prefer that. We had a dollop of greek yogurt on top, which was nice, but ice cream would be even better. They tasted oh so decadent, so rich that we should have shared one instead of eating a whole one each. This recipe is definitely a keeper, and next time I will serve with raspberries and ice cream.
I’m not sure what went wrong. I made these following the recipe to the letter, and baked them for the longest baking time specified. They were mostly puddle, very liquidy, barely cake, to the point I was leery about letting my kids eat them because they were hot batter with egg. I mean, they ate them, because chocolate, but were disappointed about them not being cake-like. The taste was good, but without a lot of experimentation in my oven, I wouldn’t try them again.
How long do these keep uncooked in the fridge?
I was away on a business trip on Valentine’s Day, so I made these as a special snow afternoon dessert for me and the kiddo yesterday. I probably should have whisked more but they were very tasty. I especially enjoyed being able to cook them in the toaster oven (at 425 since those babies can run hot.) It can take forever to get the regular oven to 450.
These look amazing! Can’t wait to try them out!
I made this recipe the day after I encountered it- love that it was all ingredients I already had at home! I used 1.5 tablespoons of sugar and used dark chocolate, and it was sweet enough for my taste but others may have wanted the full 2 tablespoons of sugar. Baked for 10 minutes and they came out perfect! For some reason, I always have to bake things for a few minutes extra in my oven than what recipes state. I ate one straight from the oven, and the other the next day straight out of the fridge (the ‘like a truffle’ statement is on point). Great recipe, will definitely make again!
Easy and delicious! I used 60% Ghirardelli chips + 1 Tbs coconut sugar and the flavor/sweetness was perfect. I was afraid of how wobbly they were at 7 minutes and put them back in for 1 more minute bit I should have trusted you Deb! They were still gooey and delicious but not puddly – I will definitely make again and go for the 7 minutes. My husband and I agreed that next time we will share one and put the second in the fridge to share another time because we both love the sound of a truffle-like center when chilled.
Reporting back that 7 minutes was melty perfection on these in my oven :) These might be a little TOO easy to make… Planning on doubling the recipe to make them for friends again this weekend! Also – so fudgy and delicious cold if you’re able to squirrel one away in the fridge.
I made these with coconut oil in place of butter and they came out great. Question – do you think you can use a microwave to cook them instead of the oven? How much time do you think would be needed?
I’ve made these twice since Deb posted – delicious! You absolutely must run a knife along the edges before flipping onto the plate. Other than that, dead simple and dangerously delicious.
This looks loverly, I will need to give this a go at some point.
Lots of Birthdays at Castle Empire would love this recipe. We found is really nice when you add a little vanilla.
Looks yummy will be making these soo.
looking forward to trying these! they look delicious. lets see if I can make them right, seems easy enough :)
Well, you inspired me this evening! I had everything on hand, so I decided to make these! I used semisweet chocolate chips and 2 teaspoons of sugar- thanks for the details on the sugar recommendation- I added it because we were sharing with the kids, but next time I would leave it out.
I ended up baking them for 13 minutes, and they still weren’t done enough to hold their shape. 15 minutes would have probably done the trick. Still tasted amazing.
This is mouth watering! I have to try this at home and suprise my wife. It’s a shame valentines day has just passed, this would have been perfect. Hard to tell if my kids will appreciate the subtlety of the warm chocolate inside or not, this might just be for the grown-ups!
Thank you so much! I made these tonight as a special treat for the last night of school vacation week, and they were so easy and so yummy. My 7 year old with celiac disease looked at me like I was a superhero. She was a very happy kid.
These are so simple and so delicious! I am adding them to my favorite dessert list. I made them ahead of time, doubled the recipe, and refrigerated them. Right from the refrigerator, they took 9 minutes and were the perfect end to a small dinner party.
look absolutely beautiful that
I made this in 4 Pyrex mini prep bowls (3.5inch) and its just enough for a weeknight dessert. I microwave the mini bowls for about 20 seconds to reheat, and it comes out looking like a little volcano with a thick fudge-y center. 4 year old gives it a thumbs up, served with ice cream, or whipped cream and leftover canned cherry pie filling.
which is to say – i don’t bother unmolding it – just put a scoop of ice cream right on top.
My husband made these as my birthday cake. I love Mexican hot chocolate so he added cinnamon and chipotle chili pepper. It was divine!
I feel inspired. Especially by the ‘spoonful of almost anything inside’! Frozen vanilla sauce? Toffee or fudge? Cream cheese? Maybe not. But I’m certainly bookmarking this right now!
Who doesnt love a chocolate pudding? This recipe is just simply amazing. We have a dinner party coming up soon for our company MyAlarm Security in Bexley, and we have been trialling a few desserts. This chocolate pud is mouth watering and easy to make – even for a non cook! Soo pleased we found this recipe.
My batter also broke as soon as I added the egg and yolk. And I whisked. And whisked. And then got angry and switched whisks and whisked some more. But was never able to save it. :( Still tried to bake it but it’s just a lumpy, melty buttery mess that smells bad.
Wondering if my chocolate/butter mixture wasn’t hot enough to start (like I whisked that for a while to get the chocolate to finish melting)? Is that even possible? Not sure what went wrong, guess I’ll have to try again another day when I have more chocolate lying around.
My batter broke when I added the eggs (cold from the fridge) and did not come together with lots of whisking. I think it was too cold so the chocolate seized, so I put it over a double boiler and whisked until smooth. It was an arm workout but ended up skinny and smooth. I used 3 eggs for a double recipe and baked in 6 muffin cups- I could have split it into 7 if I had known how much batter it would make. They puffed beautifully and were just overcooked at 11 minutes at high altitude.
This is great to bring to parties when you need something SPECIAL. I will say that I added a 1/4 teaspoon of ALMOND extract.
I love your food blog, but I never read your “About” before. Very intimidating with 3 millions fab comments!! I have one question. I have an Italian comfort food blog that I can’t blog on anymore because I can’t eat my own food. I have chronic IBS, so I am starting a new food blog that is only ibs safe recipes. (sob) My question is, what platform do you think is best for a food blogger whose tech skills are just so so. (For example I have no idea what RSS feed is and I don’t want to know. Looking for an easier platform than WP which almost killed me.Do you have a blog advice section? lBTW, I love your photos and food and wish I could eat that puddle cake!!
Just started rewatching! This is cool!
Delicious! Definitely going to try to make!
I made this with a Lindt bar of Intense Mint and it was wonderful! I used maybe a half teaspoon of sugar since the chocolate bar wasn’t too sweet. I think I actually preferred the cake cold the next day though!
Made this last night on a whim when I wanted dessert, but didn’t want to have a whole cake in my house. Unlike many recipes, the 15 minute time frame was super accurate. I had all the ingredients on hand. My boyfriend, who tends to be a bit timid in the kitchen, was able to handle most of the heavy lifting (aka I read the instructions to him as I was prepping the ramekins and measuring ingredients). We added a spoonful of crunchy peanut butter to the centers. We cut into the cakes in unison and he said, “wow…imagine all the different stuff we could put in here!”
This is definitely going into my repertoire of happy, easier than I could ever tell anyone, impressive feats in the kitchen.
Oh my god! This is so good and so very easy. I have made this four times since you posted it. My husband loves it. I use whatever chocolate I have on hand, usually a mix of ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips and ghiradelli 70% bittersweet baking chocolate. The only problem I have had is that the ramekins are so slippery (I even dropped one on the floor.) Thank you for this perfect little chocoholic recipe!
i adore anything chocolate and this is the only one that I struggle to make but it worked :) and my cat didn’t disrupt me whilst cooking it however she did lick it after I had finished making it
I have made your Broccoli Cheddar Soup twice now and we have loved it both times! I added more milk this time so we would have more soup. It turned out good, but still was not enough! We enjoy soup during the cold weather or dreary rainy days. This will be a regular. I left the broccoli in big chunks because my husband and son love it that way. Thank you for a wonderful recipe.
Delicious! Quick and easy. I used small rectangular IKEA dishes, divided the batter into three of them. A hit!
WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW……WOW! This is the PERFECT dessert for any chocolate lover. Popped ’em in the oven when we sat down for dinner, and then served em hot, with sliced strawberries and whipped cream on the side. This is going to be happening a lot at our house….
Chocolate puddle cakes the most delicious and cant stop myself to eat them ..😃😃😃😃
Tripled recipe for family dinner tonight. Everyone loved it, especially gluten-loving daughter who sometimes feels deprived.
I was worried whether puddings would release from dariole moulds, but I followed instructions for generous use of butter and cocoa and they came out perfectly :)
If I make this tonight, do I have to share? hehe. Looks amazing, will be bookmarking this to make later.
I made these in a muffin tin with some caramel sauce from a jar and they were ugly but delicious! The caramel bubbled out while cooking and made a sticky goo that caused them to all stick in the muffin tin. Dug them out with a fork and ate them anyways…tasted great!
If you are looking for 6 oz ramekins, I bought a Hearth and Hand brand (Chip and Joanna stuff) at Target yesterday for $3.99. Comes in cream, black, sea foam green. Does not have volume listed on tag but does list oven safe to 450, microwave/dish washer and oven safe. Going out for more!
Made this last night. Worked absolutely perfectly. I used 70%dark chocolate and 1.5Tbsp sugar. We ate it with vanilla ice cream. Thanks for the tip to whisk it a little extra at the end. Outs puffed up beautifully and had a goey warm center after 9 minutes in the oven. So tasty and old school 90s vibe. Love it!
Anyone know how long the batter can be refrigerated? Thinking of making this but would have to refrigerate the batter for 48 hours and wondering if that would affect the final product at all?
If I want to bake this for 8 people, should I use 8x this ingredients? I have been requested to serve this as Christmas dessert. Does anybody know?
Yes! I know. :)
I’m making this dessert tonight!!!!
I doubled this to make four and they worked great, but I’m wondering if the recipe calling for 1 egg and 1 yolk is a volume thing or a texture thing? Would have loved to just use 3 whole eggs. Do you think it would work?
Carrie, a commenter above mentioned using 3 eggs to make double recipe and it worked fine for her.
I have a Nordicware cakelet pan with a somewhat intricate detail on the tops of the cake. Do you think that it would work, or am I asking for trouble?
(This pan, for reference: https://www.nordicware.com/frozen-snowflake-cakelet-pan)
Anyone tried this recipe in a tin like this before?
I’m not sure it would, I’m leaning no. If you use flour instead of cocoa, you *might* get some imprint of the shape, but I can’t say for sure.
Thanks for replying, Deb! I gave my valentine the choice of “trying something that will either look super pretty or be a total mess, or taking a safe route that will definitely look nice; both taste the same.” He chose the risky option, so I used the snowflake pan.
It actually worked pretty well — I erred on the side of overbaking and they weren’t *quite* molten, more gooey. I also filled with your caramel sauce and the caramel leaked out (maybe because the cakelets are more wide than tall?) but the cakes released beautifully and the pattern came out perfectly. I will admit that I’m old hat at buttering and flouring pans, so I went with the cocoa and didn’t have a problem at all.
How long can you leave the prepared cups in the refrigerator before baking off?
A day or two?
So good! I made this last night for an early V-day dinner. Used Hershey’s “Special Dark” cocoa in place of regular cocoa, and only 1 tablespoon of sugar since I was using Trader Joe’s 72% bittersweet chocolate. Spooned a bit of homemade caramel sauce into the center of each, then off they went into my air fryer (max 400F deg), for 6 minutes. They came out perfect!! Glad I added the caramel since the cake wasn’t quite sweet enough.
Bless for this quick and easy lava cake recipe…can’t wait to test more flavor combos.
I made this tonight using Eclat mendiants. Because I’m lazy, I threw ALL the ingredients save the eggs in a microwaveable measuring cup until nearly melted and added the eggs and whisked. I’m not ashamed to say my husband licked the plate! Thanks for this, the recipe I had made enough for a dozen and it was hard to scale.
I made this tonight and it was wonderful! I used ditch processed cocoa, good life vegan chocolate and butter. I’m excited to use plant based butter next time as I’m dairy sensitive. Very rich and also light! I served them with fresh strawberries.
So quick, easy, and delicious! Perfect for a Valentine’s Day for two! I used 72% dark chocolate and 1 tbsp of sugar and it was sooooo good we ate both (no regrets)!
Fantastic. So simple. So fast. So delicious. I love that you can prepare ahead of time! I used 2T of sugar; was just barely sweet and lovely. Served with a dusting of powdered sugar. Would also be good as suggested with lightly sweetened whipped cream (next time!).
I made them earlier in the day and stored them in the refrigerator. Took them out of the refrigerator while the oven heated up then baked for 10 minutes – perfect!
I made the Chocolate Puddle Cakes last night, following the recipe exactly, and they were amazing! They were quick and easy to make and I love the “make ahead” option. Thanks for a great recipe; I will definitely make them again. Have you tried doubling the recipe?
These cakes are wonderful. So rich and easy to make. However when the mixture seized whilst baking I did panic, however I knew I just needed to keep mixing (probably around 40-50 stirs total) and it all came together like a dream. I’ll definitely be making these again :)
I’ve tried this twice now but the chocolate seized after I added the eggs both times—any advice? Really can’t figure out why it isn’t working!
I just made a single batch and put it in 5 2 oz. silicone muffin baking cups Baking for 6 minutes. I don’t think a 1.5x batch would have fit (1.33X probably would have been perfect using 2 whole eggs). It was a lovely brunch treat after bagels (from this site) during our zoom brunch. We’ve been making SO many of your recipes during this corona home time. Thank you: glad you’re staying safe & healthy.
I did the 1 1/3 version tonight with 2 eggs, and it was the perfect accompaniment to our valentine heart pizza (using your foccacia dough). Delightful. Planning to make these for a family trip w 2 gf folks and a lot of chocolate lovers.
Does this recipe call for baking chocolate or regular chocolate?
I would like to make these in ramekins lined with parchment so I just need to pull up the parchment and serve the little molten cakes on a plate with the parchment. Makes cleaning process easier but also dont have to touch a hot ramekin to turn over.
Will it work to make in parchment paper?
OML this recipe is AMAZING love it!!!!
Mine broke too. I checked around the internet and tried adding more chocolate and more butter. Neither of those things worked. But, a few teaspoons of hot water did! I mixed it up, baked it and they were delicious!
My dad’s favorite are molten chocolate lava cakes, and I was considering making these for him for Chanukah. Do you think they would freeze well to then be thawed and baked at a later time? Or are they best baked and eaten right away?
I haven’t actually frozen them, but my hunch is that it would work.
Thank you! I’ll try it out and report back!
These were really fun to make! Super quick and easy to pull together, so you can whip it up after dinner and make very little mess. After reading the notes and comments, I opted to add just a half tablespoon of sugar since I was using mostly semisweet chocolate with a little bittersweet, and I feel like it could have used more sugar. I baked them for 8 minutes and I though that was perfect, with the middle still molten but not completely spilling out. These are VERY rich, so next time I’d definitely try to pair them with something tart like berries instead of ice cream :)
What is a good amount of peppermint extract to add to this recipe? Thank you!
I’d probably keep it at 1/4 teaspoon, it can be very strong.
Deb, these are incredible. Easy and absolute perfection. To everyone reading, follow the recipe. Just do it, Deb knows what she’s talking about. These are decadent and perfect for a special occasion or as recommended a New Year’s Eve like this years. They’re so good I’m a bit in shock that they came out this well. Thank you Deb, Happy New Year!
I divided the recipe in 4 for the 4 oz ramekins I had and it was the perfect portion for us with some ice cream or whipped cream. I just have to watch the clock more closely next time, these were gooey but not puddly. Delicious!
Just unmolded – made as directed, baked 1 at 8 minutes and 1 at 9 for “research”. So easy, and portion control (unless you’re me and you eat both of them). No excuses, no regrets- YUM!!!
These are…spectacular. I live alone and decided to eat one warm and follow Debs suggestion below to eat the second one cold. The warm one was everything I’d hoped. Ooey, gooey chocolately goodness. And then cold, it set firmer than I expected. But this wasn’t a bad thing, it was like a truffle with a brownie-edge crust. DIVINE. Adding to my staple recipes immediately. Thank you, Deb, and damn you!! 😉
This was fun and decadent and I’ll save it to try adding different fillings. I had a can of dark cherries so I put a couple in each cake. I ended up having to bake for an extra 3 mins because my cherries were creating a lot of moisture. I’d probably use something less juicy next time. But these were super easy and pretty much instantly rewarding. I had 4 oz ramekins – the boring looking ones everyone used for creme brulee. Worked perfectly. No overflow.
Spouse is quarantined on his 77th birthday. Loves chocolate but didn’t want a big cake because it is just the two of us. This recipe was the perfect solution. I made the cakes this morning…very easy and thank you for emphasizing those extra 20 to 30 whisk strokes. I snuck a dollop of peanut butter into mine but husband’s was pure chocolate. In and out of the oven and onto dessert plates in no time after dinner. It was a big, delicious success and made for a very nice natal day. Thank you!!
I wonder if I could use monkfruit sugar replacement rather than granulated sugar?
How can I determine how many ounces my ramekins hold? They’re not marked. I have a scale, but what would I weigh–or is it a volume thing??
Volume. You can fill it with water and then pour it into a measuring cup.
Perfect size recipe. Tasted great but didn’t work out very well. I have questions but feel you need the full description of what happened in order to give answers. Sorry this is so long! I refrigerated so I planned on adding extra baking time. At 9 min. in a very preheated oven they were still liquid. I gave them 2 min more until the top looked a bit more set. What should the top of the cake look like when its done? When I went to unmold after the 1 min wait, splat, a plate of liquid and very little cake surround. To serve that one, I re-plated the cooked part and some of the ooze. Good for portion control for my husband. So I put the other one back in the oven for another 2 min, even though it had cooled for a couple of minutes first. That worked okay but was way longer baking than I imagined it would need. I have questions about ramekins or ramekin substitutes. I have two sizes of ramekins. I measured 6 oz of water and poured it into the smaller one. The water came up to the very top. Is this the correct size? How high should the batter come up in the dish? Does it rise much? The bigger ramekin looked too big. Instead, I went with a small rounded juice glass (Duralex made in France) that held 6 oz with room to rise a little. Very hard to get that buttered up properly because of its depth. For the cake that cooked enough, when turned over on to the plate, the bottom half broke off and left the top stuck in the glass. Easy enough to scoop out. So it looked ugly but my son loved it. Then, he retrieved the ooze from the first cake and slurped that up too. He has the metabolism to deal with all that dessert! If you’ve read this far, you are the best!!! If you answer my questions, you are better than the best!!!!
If it holds 6 ounces of water, that’s a 6-ounce ramekin. Glad it was a hit in the end!
Are any adjustments needed if I use dutch coco?
No, it works with any kind.
i just made this and love it!! so quick to make after dinner and it’s delicious. you mentioned below i can replace cocoa powder with flour. how would it change the texture of the puddle cake? Thanks!
Worked perfectly as written. I used a mixture of chocolate bits I had left. Some 50, others 85 % cocoa solids. I added 1,5 tablespoon of sugar and it was not too sweet at all. No issues with the mixture splitting or getting grainy. Divided over 3 ramekins (100 ml). Baked on a baking sheet for 9 minutes, and still plenty gooey on the inside :) Very rich, a small one like we had was plenty as a Valentine’s Day snack with a cup of coffee. Not sure I could finish one after a whole dinner!
I made these for valentines, and they were a real hit! I can’t believe how easy they were to whip up.
I’m not sure why, but mine were still completely liquid at 8 minutes. I had to bake for 11 to get a cake with a very runny centre.
Oh. My. Goodness. I just made this tonight for our Valentines stay at home dinner. All but one of my ramekins have mysteriously disappeared so I used an old 5” cake tin from my mother in law (added sentiment today.) I cooked it at 425 because tin not ceramic, for 7 minutes. Oh, and yes, I had to whisk for a bit to get the lovely glossy texture. I think it’s a good idea to have the eggs at room temp and to let the chocolate mixture cool just a bit before mixing it all together. And it was perfect! As my husband said, this is a keeper!
Made these today-so good!
Thanks for demystifying them👍
Made this last night and it turned out very yummy. I did not turn it out of the ramekins, so no problem with sticking. I baked the entire 9 minutes and they were still quite fluid except for about and inch in from the edge. Probably could have used another minute or two. My only regret was that we did not have vanilla ice cream. Next time for sure!
Hi! I made these last year, and now my 25, about to be 26 yr old wants them for his birthday. Does this recipe double well? I am not the best at changing recipes and have failed in the past. :-)
Thanks so much!
Yes! These are so good and after a year of no restaurants this was just the thing to make!!
Super easy and yummy! Thank you!
I’ve made this with absolutely no problem a couple of times. They were delicious. BUT… one magical time I made them ahead, put them in the fridge overnight and it worked wonderfully. However, on two consecutive (and a bit humiliating) occasions I tried to also make them ahead and they failed spectacularly. They never rose, staying flat and kind of “curdy”, I guess? Also, very, very oily on top; like the fat from the butter had separated from the chocolate or something. Has anyone had this happen to themselves?
Yes! Looks like we have had the same problem… I just posted. Hoping Deb can provide some clarification about why this happens only some of the time??
Ok, I have made this recipe *several* times now, and about 1/3 of the time, the butter-chocolate mixture gets lumpy, congealed, and separated as soon as I beat in the eggs. The other 2/3 of the time it’s perfect and smooth. What gives??? The specific type of chocolate? The specific type of butter? The temp of the melted butter-choc is slightly different?? I can’t handle the disappointment when it fails…
Hello Kristen. Let me say this, awaiting Deb’s response: In your case I think the problem is that the eggs become partially cooked while you add them to a still kinda hot butter-chocolate mixture. I would be very careful and wait until said mixture became warm or tepid. I’ve never had trouble during this phase. In case it helps, I mostly use cold eggs (out of the fridge), but I’ve also made them with room temp eggs and it turns out perfect; just watch the mixture temperature before adding or you’ll be making scrambled eggs with chocolate.
My problem was that, after mixing everything perfectly and storing them a day in the fridge for later consumption (and baking!), they came out all wrong out of the oven. Only once I’ve made them work and I don’t know why.
However, in case it helps anyone, I’ve found a solution: take the mixture out of the fridge a half-hour or a whole hour before baking and, just before baking them, mix them again thoroughly as indicated in the recipe; pour them in the ramekins and bake away. This partially solves my problem because I still have to get up, whisk the mixture, pour in the ramekins and bake them, instead of just baking them.
Have a beautiful day!
If it doesn’t seem curdled — as in, the chocolate was very hot and cooked the eggs — than it’s almost definitely just the temperature change. If your eggs are cold, they will cause the batter to firm up, but just keep stirring it, it should be fine. Do they bake up okay?
Made this again for a lunch guest-prepared in advance and put into the oven while eating and they turned out beautifully. I used a York Peppermint Patty in the center and again, turned out beautifully. As for other commenters having issues all I can add is that the extra 20-30 whisks is key as is making certain to only partially melt the butter so as not to cook the eggs. Thank you for yet another winner SK recipe.
Will this recipe work if I use muffin tins?
I’d expect so!
This was sooooo good and easy!!!
My partner and I usually make this together on Valentine’s Day but this year we were apart so we settled for making one cake each, separately. Instead of messing with dividing up the whole egg + egg yolk, we just used one whole egg and halved everything else – still came out perfect! These little cakes impress me every single time
I HAVE MADE THIS RECIPE MANYB TIMES AND IT IS GREAT! I AM WONDERING IF YOU HAVE A VEGAN VERSION. CAN I SIMPLY SUBSTITUTE VEGAN “BUTTER” AND “EGGS”? ANY OTHERV SUGGESTIONS? THANKS!
So fun I love this
Make it for myself all the time
My almost 7-year-old grandson and I made these this morning for his mom to bake this evening for their family (doubled the recipe). I was jealous, so made it for hubs and myself. Glad I did! I’m still waiting to hear what grandson thinks…
I have an orange-infused olive oil that I think would be delicious. Do I just substitute equal amount for the butter?
I made these last night and they were delicious and impressive! I wanted to share my experience in case others find it helpful. Everything was going well until I added the eggs. I added them straight out of the fridge and I guess that was not a good idea (rookie mistake?) because immediately the batter stiffened and became mousse-like. I panicked, but kept whisking and whisking and whisking hoping to undo my error. Alas, that only incorporated more air and made the batter even more mousse-like. I plopped the mousse into the ramekins and put them in the oven, but was sure the result would be a failure. I apologized to my valentine and mentally prepared him for no dessert. But something magical happened in the oven and…the cakes turned out exactly as pictured in Deb’s post!!! I was very happily surprised and my valentine can’t stop talking about how good they were. I will definitely be bookmarking this recipe as a keeper. Thanks so much, Deb!
I made this for me and my husband for Valentine’s Day. Delicious. He ate his and half of mine. I used to make these years ago when we lived in Washington DC. The minute the recipe was in the newspaper, it became a staple in our house. So easy and fast. Thank you, Deb, for reminding me of this. I used to make it after ordinary dinners, pre child, just because I could have it on the table in 30 minutes. And dark chocolate is good for you, right? Hope you had a lovely Valentine’s Day.
Can these be done in larger quantities for a baby shower? Is there an alternative to using the ramekins in order to accomplish a larger quantity?
The only alternative is a muffin tin but it’s more possible that they’d cook unevenly with the ones at the edge done first. Sure they’d still be delicious though.
For those of us who are watching sugar intake, this recipe worked well using Lily’s dark chocolate baking chips! I did add the one tablespoon of real sugar though. Made one recipe, split into 4 regular silicon muffin cups, baked for 5 minutes (it didn’t look quite done at 4 minutes). Delicious and easy!