Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes

Love and chocolate just seem to go together! 

Hubby and I have had fun with a lot of celebrations aboard Green Flash... mostly honeymoons, anniversaries and birthdays.  Now it's our turn.  We get to celebrate with our Middle Daughter and Boyfriend!

Just last week they announced their engagement.  We couldn't be happier for these two lovebirds!    

It all began three years ago when Oldest Daughter invited a co-worker (now fiancé) to her pirate themed birthday celebration on the Land Shark, an amphibious bus, with the intent of him meeting her sister.  He really drug his feet and didn't want to commit to coming.  With lots of prodding from Oldest Daughter, he did show up, although, costumeless.  It's all history from there!   

Hubby and I have known the proposal was coming.  When we were home in May he asked Hubby's permission to have Middle Daughter's hand in marriage.  Boyfriend asked me to be help in the ring designing process.  I was so flattered.  Coincidentally, the same jewelry maker that made my wedding ring many moons ago, made hers.  

He popped the big question in spectacular Big Sur, California and she said yes!  Thank goodness she loved the ring too.  What would we do without Pinterest? 

Of course, as with family tradition, we had to celebrate with food.  We took them to dinner at a friend of mine's restaurant, Opal, a really fun happening restaurant on State Street in Santa Barbara.  

We weren't going to pass up desert for this special occasion.  It wouldn't be a celebration of love without a decadent chocolate desert!

All this talk of love and chocolate reminds me of these little Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes I have made for celebrations over the years.  What says love more than chocolate?!

Recipes you can make in advance are the best when it comes to serving guests or entertaining.  These Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes are one of those deserts.  You can prepare the Chocolate mixture several hours in advance.  Simply make the recipe, pour into the prepared molds, ramekins, or custard cups, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Take them out of the refrigerator before baking and let the batter come to room temperature.

These little cakes will be almost soufflé-like.  They will rise beautifully as they bake then slowly deflate when you remove them from the oven.  You can serve them in their molds or remove them carefully onto an inverted plate before serving.  

I like to serve them warm with their solid outside and ooey gooey fluffiness on the inside.  Add fresh berries of your choice, a dollop of fresh whipped cream, cream fraiche or ice cream.  You could even add a raspberry sauce to the plate.



Molten Chocolate Cakes

Recipe Type:  Desert

Serves:  4


  • 1/2 C Unsalted Butter, cut into small pieces
  • 6 oz good quality Semi-Sweet or Bittersweet Chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 large Eggs, separated
  • 1/3 C granulated White Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/8 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1 T granulated White Sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place rack in center of oven.
  2. Generously butter four (6 to 8 ounce) molds, ramekins or custard cups and dust the insides with granulated White Sugar.  
  3. Place the prepared molds on a baking sheet and set aside while you make the cake batter.
  4. In a heatproof bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the Butter and Chocolate.  
  5. Remove from heat and set aside while you beat the Egg Yolks.
  6. In the bowl of an electric mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the Egg Yolks and 1/3 cup Sugar until thick, pale and fluffy.  Beat in the Vanilla Extract and then fold in the melted Chocolate mixture.
  7. In another clean bowl whip the Egg Whites until frothy.  Add the Cream of Tartar and continue to whip until soft peaks form.  
  8. Gradually add the 1 tablespoon of White Sugar and whip just until stiff peaks form.  
  9. With a rubber spatula or wire whisk gently fold the beaten Whites into the Chocolate mixture, just until incorporated.  Do not over mix or the batter will deflate.  
  10. Divide the batter between the prepared molds.
  11. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the outside edges of the Cakes are set but the middle still looks a little wet and wobbly.  You may have cracks on the top of the surface of the Cakes.
  12. Immediately remove from oven and let them rest for a minute or two.  You can serve the Cakes in their molds or you can run a sharp knife around the edge of each cake and then invert onto the center of each serving plate.  Carefully remove the mold.  Sprinkle the top of each Cake with Confectioners Sugar.  Serve with freshly Whipped Cream, Cream Fraiche or Vanilla Ice Cream.