Quick, what’s the difference between a Lava Cake, a Molten cake, and a Pudding Cake? 15 seconds, go! What, not ready for a quiz today? Eh, it’s okay. It is Friday after all. I’ll go ahead and give you the answers…or what my answers are. There is no difference between a Lava or Molten Cake. Sometimes you may see the names combined as Molten Lava cake. They are typically chocolate cakes, to include white chocolate, with a liquidy, runny or oozing center that pours out like lava from a volcano when you dig in. Pudding Cakes are different and come and two forms: a pudding centered cake or a pudding bottom cake. Unlike Lava/Molten cakes, they do not have a center that pours or oozes out. Pudding Cakes have jiggly insides or bottoms; they’re a little more solidified. Think Jell-O Pudding cup topped by or enclosed by cake. Non chocolate “lava” cakes are often really pudding cakes.
Now for those of you who have been following Emilie and me for awhile, you may remember my little obsession with Archer brand frozen lava cakes last June during my residence course out at Patuxent River Naval Air Station. Those little babies were just too easy to heat up and devour during late night brief
building and exam studying. I think I may have practiced several presentations with my mouth full of lava cake lol. Anyway, ever since last summer, I’ve been dying to try and make my own.
Emilie’s and my “New Year” dinner was the perfect opportunity. After all, we were going for a let’s go a bit budget crazy decadent. As you saw, we made a pretty fancy feast…one I think would be a great menu should you and your Valentine decide to stay in next Thursday. That is what Shawn and I do. We make a lovely dinner together, set a nice table, and get all pretty for each other. I always like those Valentine’s Days better than when we make reservations out.
S0, you already have our crab souffle and endive salad recipes. Now here is your dessert! I definitely recommend making the entire recipe rather than halving it just because it is hard to divide three eggs and the results just don’t come out quite the same (still yummy, though!). Keep the extra cakes you don’t eat in the fridge unbaked and covered for up to a week.
Dark Chocolate Molten Lava Cake
- 1 stick butter + 1 tablespoon for custard cups
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour + 1 tablespoon for custard cups
- 6 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- pinch sea salt salt
(If halving recipe, use 2 eggs)
- Pre-heat oven to 425° Fahrenheit
- In a small bowl, whisk cocoa powder with 1 tablespoon of flour and set aside.
- Chop chocolate into chunks or shavings. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium low heat. Be sure to keep an eye on it to prevent accidental burning. Once melted, reduce heat to low.
- Use about 1 tablespoon of melted butter to brush the inside of four oven safe custard cups.
- Divide cocoa powder among the custard cups and give each one a thin dusting. Discard any access and set custard cups aside.
- Add chopped chocolate to the remaining melted butter and stir until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat to prevent chocolate from burning or breaking (and to keep from scrambling eggs later on!)
- In a medium bowl, beat eggs and sugar together along with a pinch of salt.
- Fold cooled melted chocolate into the egg mixture until fully incorporated and then fold in the flour to form the final batter.
- Divide matter among the four custard cups. The cakes will not rise significantly, so do not worry about how close the batter may come to the edge.
- Place filled custard cups on a baking sheet and bake in oven for 12-15 minutes. The outside should be set and inside should be full of melty chocolate. If you bake the cakes too long you’ll end up with a pudding cake or a fully cooked cake without any “lava” inside. (They will still taste delicious, though!)
- When finished baking, remove from oven and allow to cool 5-8 minutes.
- Invert a plate over each custard cup when ready to serve. Be sure to use oven mitts if cups are still hot. Carefully flip custard cup and plate at the same time so that the custard cup is now inverted on the plate.
- Lift custard cup. Cake should slip out on its own.
- Serve warm. Garnish with mint, berries, caramel, vanilla ice cream, etc…and red wine!