Warm Chocolate Melting Cake (Lava Cake)

 

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I first had the chance of feasting on this decadent and luscious dessert on a Carnival cruise to Mexico. It was just a pure, unadulterated, and chocolatey deliciousness! It was paired with a good vanilla ice cream. The combination of warm chocolate cake and cold vanilla ice cream is one of the best in my vocabulary! Carnival Cruise Lines is willing to share the recipe to everyone, and it’s easy to find online as well. The caveat? The recipe that was given to me by a cruise staff is a recipe for a huge batch of this dessert (not surprisingly, I guess). As much as I like to devour this, I don’t think my family and I can eat that much. So, here’s my take on their warm chocolate melting cake. I tweaked some changes, reduce the amounts of ingredients (especially the sweetness), and it came out soooo delicious!!

Not to mention that you can make this in advance. Yes! I’ve experimented on this during the weekend and I was very successful. Initially, I had thought that the batter has to be cooked almost immediately as there could be some textural changes and such. Additionally, you can only serve this warm, meaning you have to make this just minutes before serving, which may not be ideal at times. However, after last weekend, I found out I was wrong on both accounts. No changes in the batter as long as it’s kept in the fridge, and even though it’s no longer served warm, it’s still quite delicious!!

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz dark chocolate chips or bar (chopped)
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar (can be increased  to 1/2 cup, if preferred)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup brewed coffee or espresso (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

 

Grease the ramekins with butter, and cover it with cocoa powder.

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In a heatproof bowl, put the dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate bars. I prefer dark chocolate over anything, but you can certainly use a mix of dark chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate.

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Add 3/4 cup of butter. The butter doesn’t have to be in room temperature. It could be, but both the chocolate and butter will be melted anyway, so it doesn’t matter that much in this case.

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Place the bowl over a saucepan with simmering water. This may take a few minutes to melt everything.

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Stir butter and chocolate to make sure everything is melted. Add in the coffee and vanilla (if using). Coffee adds depth to the chocoalte flavor, hence, I often use it whenever I make anything chococolate.

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We are looking for this delicious, smooth consistency.  Remove from the double boiler and let it cool for a while.

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In a separate bowl, crack 4 eggs and add in sugar.

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Whip the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy, and has doubled in volume. This may take about 5-7 minutes.

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Whisk in 1/4 cup of flour, making sure that everything is well incorporated.

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And now it’s time for the merging to happen. Nope, you no longer need the whisk or your mixer for this. Spatula will do the honor.

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Pour 1/3 of the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Fold until well mixed, then pour another 1/3 of chocolate mixture, and gently fold again. DSCN3661

Then do the last folding, incorporating everything.

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The batter should be smooth, and if you don’t mind eating raw batter, go ahead and take a lick. Coz you know what, I did it shamelessly!

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Pour into the ramekins until 3/4 of the way. You do want to have some space for it to bubble and rise.

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Bake in a preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes. Now, the timing could be tricky. I would check for doneness after 10 minutes as it could depend on the size of the ramekins as well. I used 4-oz ramekins, and it took 12 minutes to bake. My way of knowing when it’s done is when the top of the cake is set, then it should be taken out of the oven. Don’t bother with the tootpick technique as it won’t work on this specific cake. The residual heat will continue to cook the cake inside, and if you let it bake longer for even a minute, you won’t have the melting or lava chocolate effect. For those concern with eating raw eggs in the cake batter, you can use thermometer and check if the inside temperature has reached 160 degrees F. That’s the ideal temperature to know when the eggs are cooked.

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You can top it off with cold vanilla ice cream, or eat it as it is. You can flip it onto a plate, or just dig right into the ramekin. Either way, it tastes decadently delicious!!

Remember I said that you can make this ahead?

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After you make the batter, wrap the bowl in a plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake them. I found 3 ways you can make this. One is using the oven as per traditional and much better heat and accuracy, I guess? However, as my brother pointed out, for only one or two ramekins, preheating the whole oven seems like a waste of time and gas. He suggested the use of a toaster oven instead, which is my second option. It’s much smaller than your regular conventional oven, so preheating is much faster, and really, it’s more practical to use for 1 or 2 servings. The third option? The ever reliable microwave! It’s much easier and waaay faster and seriously, I have no compunction of using microwave to make this again and even be proud of it!

Take the batter right out of the fridge. The batter is much thicker after sitting in the fridge for hours due to the chocolate and butter contents. A lot like chocolate truffles. Scoop the batter into a greased ramekin. Zap it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Check for doneness. Well, again, this depends on the size of your ramekin and how much batter is scooped. If it’s not done yet, put it back in the microwave for another 8-10 seconds, and check again. For my 4 oz ramekins, mine was done in 40 seconds. If it still needs more time, place the ramekins back in the microwave for additional 8-10 seconds. Be careful when eating it right out of the microwave. I figured it won’t be too hot after being there for only 40 seconds. The ramekin was not too warm on the touch, but the chocolate cake was hot.

I’m definitely going to make this again! This is so good and easy to make (especially if you make-ahead the batter, and just have to microwave it for less than a minute!). Unfortunately, I don’t have any better pictures that may do justice for the deliciousness of this cake. But since this is not the last time I’m making this, I’ll make sure to snap a much better photo.

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