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dark chocolate lava cakes

All my life, I've had a really hard time picking favorites.  When I was little, people always asked me about my favorite color, favorite food, favorite book etc.  All of the other kids seemed to have an immediate response to these questions, while I would just stand there dumbfounded for a few minutes weighing the pros and cons of each choice.  Even to this day these questions stress me out. Do I have to pick just one?! I can be a little indecisive.

But this past summer, I discovered my favorite chocolate.  This was a pretty huge deal, now that you know that I don't take favorites lightly.  When I took my first bite of Recchiuti at the San Fransisco Ferry Market, I was in love.  I've had my share of different chocolates -- but this was nothing like anything I've tasted before.  It was smooth, with a bold, fruity chocolate flavor as well as smoky, subtle cocoa flavor.  It was perfect. I brought home a few bars, and although the first few didn't last long, I had enough self control to save two bars for baking.

I knew I had to bake them into something special.  I didn't want to drown something that was already so perfect in marshmallow fluff or caramel sauce, nor did I want to bake them into something boring like brownies.  I needed a recipe simple enough to let their flavors shine through.  After waiting six months, I finally found the perfect recipe to use them in.  My good friend's mom who is an amazing cook made dark chocolate lava cakes for dessert (served with homemade vanilla gelato).   The combination of cool, creamy gelato and warm molten chocolate was absolutely perfect,  and I knew that I had to learn to make these myself.   She let me copy the recipe, and of course, I made them the next day.

Because I only had two bars of Recchiuti, I couldn't screw this recipe up (talk about pressure!), so I did some research. Here are a few pieces of advice for perfect lava cakes.  Remember to grease your ramekins generously -- you want the cakes to slide right out.  If they stick, you will end up with a (delicious) pile of goo.  Also, keep an eye on them in the oven, they cook insanely quickly.  You’re looking for cooked outside & soft inside (soft does not mean jiggly). Start checking at around 10 minutes, 12 minutes worked perfectly for me but every oven is different.

In the end, I breathed a sigh of relief when didn't screw the recipe up -- and my special chocolate bars melted perfectly into these simple, gorgeous little cakes.  I couldn't have asked for a better recipe to use my favorite chocolate in the world in. The great thing about these cakes that they are so exciting to serve -- they look plain, like a boring chocolate muffin... and then all of a sudden simmering chocolate sauce comes oozing out of the center.  Talk about presentation!  All they need is a little dusting of powdered sugar -- but if you're the type to make your own homemade gelato, be my guest. :)

With love,

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 450°. Butter and lightly flour four 6-ounce ramekins. Tap out the excess flour. Set the ramekins on a baking sheet.
In a double boiler, over simmering water, melt the butter with the chocolate. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the egg yolks, sugar and salt at high speed until thickened and pale.
Whisk the chocolate until smooth. Quickly fold it into the egg mixture along with the flour. Spoon the batter into the prepared ramekins and bake for 12 minutes, or until the sides of the cakes are firm but the centers are soft. Let the cakes cool in the ramekins for 1 minute, then cover each with an inverted dessert plate. Carefully turn each one over, let stand for 10 seconds and then unmold. Serve immediately. Make Ahead:  The batter can be refrigerated for several hours; bring to room temperature before baking.

Recipe by  Jean-Georges Vongerichten

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.


  1. Favourites are SUCH a hard thing to decide in life...and people expect you to have them for everything!!! This pud looks amazing, I'm sure my mum and sis would just 'melt' at looking at it :)
    Yummmmmy x x x

    1. Thank you! I'm glad you agree with my problems with favorites! I hope you make these for your mom and sister sometime!

  2. Lol 1) I'm glad this cake making didn't require a trip to the ER lol 2) this looks delicious 3) I totally relate to indecision and am really curious to try this chocolate now! Was just in CA DARN and 4) did you take these photos at night? If so, what did you use? Lighting looks great!

    1. Me too! No slicing cake layers here! I think you can order the chocolate online -- I am trying to figure that out now that I am all out :(. I took these photos in the late afternoon, so I didn't have my normal 10 A.M. lighting. I like this lighting too, its less harsh and more soothing than my normal one, and mirrors the calming melting chocolate! I also like how it didn't put too much of a glare on the liquid chocolate. Hope you try these cakes sometime!

  3. I wasn't satisfied with the last recipe for lava cakes I tried...your results were more like I was hoping for...stunning!!!

  4. Chocolate lava cakes are one of my faaaavorites, and these look like the perfect way to showcase your fave chocolate (which I'm totally intrigued by, btw) :P

    1. Thanks! I hope you get to try it someday!

  5. Yum! I've been wanting to make these for a long time. I just tried them this summer, too! Thanks for the recipe.

  6. Gah, this is awesome! You make me want to bake my own chocolate lava cakes, despite the fact that I question my baking skill all the time. Your cake looks amazing. and that recipe of yours doesn't look complicated. Might try baking it someday! :D

    1. You should completely try making these, they are so foolproof and everyone will think you are a culinary genius!

  7. Ahm, can you keep this in the fridge then reheat it in the microwave when I feel eating them? Of course, I cant eat all of them at one time :D

    1. You can prepare the uncooked batter and keep that in the fridge in the ramekins, and bake when you want!

  8. Can I keep the other lava cakes in the fridge and reheat them a day or two after?

    1. You can prepare the uncooked batter and keep that in the fridge in the ramekins, and bake when you want!

  9. Oh my, these look amazing! Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! I'm there! I can't wait to try these. You're pictures are so pretty. :)

  10. hi wanted to make sure that do u use baking powder or not....????

  11. Chocolate is one of the most enjoyable and effective ways to medicate.Full Melt chocolates are organic fair trade premier brand of medicated chocolate bars. Full Melt bars are made with highest grade of chocolate, also known as couverture.full melt chocolates are too delicious.

  12. Followed exactly, and they turned out perfectly. Very rich flavor and very delicious. Thanks for the recipe!
    (I used cocoa powder instead of flour inside the buttered ramekins, then tapped out excess, but it makes no difference. I was just taught to do that for chocolate cakes.)

  13. Yum! I've never made a lava cake before! After reading this I think I might try it!


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