But, I did finish the night off with something special (a very easy and not time consuming recipe) ... individual chocolate lava cakes. I am not sure who to credit this recipe too; I had a personal cooking lesson with a chef about a decade ago in Washington, DC and I made this with her. I can't remember the chef's name, but I've never forgotten this dessert!
Please note: there can be a level of frustration that comes along with making lava cakes (also known as molten cakes) because sometimes you overcook them and sometimes you undercook them. Either way, don't get too frustrated if they are not the way you want them; the cakes will still taste amazing even if they're cooked all the way through :)
Also note: this is not a recipe that you make in advance. Wait to make this until you're ready to serve it. You can make the batter ahead of time (even going as far as pouring the batter into each ramekin), just cover them with Saran Wrap. Remove the ramekins from the fridge about 45 minutes before baking to bring them to room temperature.
Chocolate Lava Cake (serves 4)
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 4 oz./squares of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp flour, plus more for dusting
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Butter and lightly flour four ramekins twice, tapping out the extra flour after each dusting. (This will help your cake slide out of the ramekin when it's cooked.)
Melt the butter and chocolate on the stovetop in a double boiler (or place a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water. Make sure the glass bowl doesn't touch the water.) You can also melt them in the microwave; just make sure to stir frequently.
In a bowl, beat the eggs, egg yolks and sugar together with an electric mixer (or whisk) for 2-3 minutes.
When the chocolate butter mixture is melted, take a small amount and add it to the egg mixture WHILE blending (this will ensure that your eggs don't scramble from the hot mixture). Beat in the rest of the chocolate butter mixture and the 2 tsp of flour until just combined.
Place the four prepared ramekins on a baking sheet and pour the cake batter into (use all mixture between) the four ramekins. Bake for 7-9 minutes. The sides will set but the center will be moist. There really is no way to test this (as you would a regular cake with a toothpick) but as long as the sides are set, there is no harm in eating a very gooey chocolate center.
Wearing gloves, invert each ramekin onto a plate and let sit for 15-30 seconds. Still wearing gloves, gently lift the ramekin slowly and the cake should remain on the plate. If there is an issue with the cake coming out of the ramekin, simply run a knife around the edges and shake out. Pete recommends the lava cakes with ice cream. Enjoy!