First making its debut on Carnival Cruise lines, chocolate melting cake has quickly become a very popular – and tasty – dessert. Once reserved only for special occasions on the cruise itself, this delectable dessert with the liquid chocolate interior is now available for anyone to enjoy whenever they want. No matter how amateur a baker you are, you can make chocolate melting cakes for your family and friends that will wow them all.
What Is a Chocolate Melting Cake?
Once the recipe passed out of Carnival’s hands the dessert has taken on several names, including molten chocolate cake and chocolate lava cake, but it all translates into pretty much the same thing. The ooey gooey dessert is actually a small, single serving of chocolate cake that hasn’t quite set in the center. So when you cut into the top or sides of the cake, the melting hot chocolate pours out. It’s traditionally served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side, and must be presented straight out of the oven for the effect to truly be noticeable, and appreciated. If you’ve been taking a course in gourmet cooking, you’ll definitely want to serve this dessert for your final course; it’s bound to impress everyone who sees it.
Making a Chocolate Melting Cake
Making the cake itself is actually very simple, and there are technically two different methods that you can use to make it “melt”. The first method is to bake the cake until it is just “done”. This means that the top has set, but a toothpick inserted into the center will still come out covered in liquid chocolate batter.
The second method involves placing a square of baking chocolate into the middle of each ramekin before you bake it. The cake itself sets up around the chocolate, which melts into a liquid center. The key with this second method is also not to over bake, as over baking will result in the chocolate beginning to solidify a bit into the rest of the cake, which will reduce the amount that pours out once you cut into it.
To help ensure that no matter which method you choose comes out perfectly, make sure that you have the right equipment on hand.
- Double boiler: While it is possible to melt together the ingredients for the cake in the microwave or in a saucepan, a double boiler helps ensure that you manage to melt your ingredients without the risk of them scorching or burning. Chocolate burns very quickly, and the bitter taste it takes on when it does is sure to ruin even the best dessert, so a double boiler can be a plus to distracted cooks. If you don’t have a double boiler, make one by setting a glass or stainless steel bowl into the top of a saucepan filled with boiling water. The key is to just let the bottom of the bowl graze the top of the water. This will heat the boil without scorching the ingredients inside.
- Ramekins: These little ceramic cups are crucial to forming a good cake. In order to serve the cake properly, it needs to be baked in individual portions, rather than as a large cake that gets sliced. Therefore, a small ceramic ramekin allows you to present the desserts either in their cups, or turned out onto a plate so that your guest gets the full experience of the melting chocolate surprise. If you’re having trouble getting your cakes out of the ramekins, butter them very well before you pour in the batter, then let them stand for about 5 minutes once you remove them from the oven. Run a knife around the edge and place your serving plate on top of each ramekin. Flip them over so the ramekin is upside down on the plate and let it sit for a minute; the cake should slide right out onto the plate.
Chocolate Melting Cake Recipe
This particular recipe for chocolate melting cake uses a square of chocolate in the center. To give your guests an additional surprise, consider using colored melting chocolates in their place to have your cake pour green, red, white, or blue chocolate to match any occasion.
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, plus four 1-inch squares of chocolate or melting chocolate
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 3 tablespoons flour
- Melt the butter and chocolate together in the top half of a double boiler.
- Stir the butter and chocolate mixture together until smooth.
- Pour the sugar into the chocolate mixture and whisk together until well combined. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a separate bowl.
- Mix together the eggs and flour, then add to the chocolate mixture.
- Butter the sides of four ramekins and pour the chocolate mixture about 2/3 up into each one.
- Press a piece of chocolate into the middle of each ramekin so it is completely covered up with the chocolate batter.
- Set the ramekins on the middle rack of an oven reheated to 350 degrees F.
- Bake until the tops of the cakes just slightly spring back when pressed with a finger – about 20 to 25 minutes. The cake tester should come out slightly wet, as the center will still be molten.
- Remove from the oven and serve with vanilla ice cream.
To truly make this dessert into something fabulous, consider serving or garnishing it with one of these ideas. And remember to take a refresher course in food photography before you serve them so you can capture the melting chocolate upon its escape.
- Sprinkle sea salt over the finished cake
- Drizzle with raspberry syrup and garnish with mint and whipped cream
- Garnish with a selection of fresh berries
- Top with toasted coconut or chopped nuts
Impress Your Friends
Even if you’re just learning how to cook, you can still impress everyone you know with your chocolate baking abilities by serving these chocolate melting cakes. The results are so good, everyone you know will be wondering if you’ve learned to make your own chocolate, or if you’re intending to open your own food-based business. Try this recipe for chocolate melting cake today and taste the possibilities.