chocolate puddle cakes

From their big debut in the 1990s from chef Jean-Georges
Vongerichten to their ever-presence on dessert menus since,
chocolate molten lava cakes are easily one of the most trodden
tropes of the restaurant world. There are enough riffs on it out
there to fill two internets; does anyone need another? The Smitten
Kitchen has been lava cake-free since its 2006 inception mostly
because I’m not terribly into warm, oozy desserts (I KNOW). But
it’s not just about me anymore, is it? Last Valentines I had a
moment of glowy domestic benevolence and decided to make them for
the family
and blew each and every one of their minds, most especially my
husband, who demanded to know if I had known how to make them all
along, why had I waited so long? Fair enough.

melt butter and chocolate
whisk in sugar, salt, an egg and yolk
lush chocolate batter

So here goes nothing. If tiny sunglasses, overalls (much to my
delight), combat boots (ditto), flannels, slip dresses, small
backpacks, choker necklaces, crop tops, and other 1990s treasures
can have their moment again, why not these? At least, perhaps, for
the duration of a single date night. Or, even better, an
I-don’t-need-a-date-to-make-awesome-cake night.

ready to bake
7 minutes later
1 minute after that

This recipe tweaks
the classic in just minor ways, because it wasn’t broken. I’ve
found I can swap the flour with a little cocoa (in the cake and
also to “flour” the baking dishes) and it works perfectly, plus
is now gluten-free. I drop the sugar back a little back a little.
It makes only two cakes, because I think that’s exactly the right
number (for a weeknight luxury, we split them, and add a spoonful
of ice cream or barely sweetened whipped cream). And while I
don’t do it here, I want you to make sure you know that you can
put a spoonful of almost anything in the middle (Nutella, cold

caramel sauce
or these
caramel squares
, raspberry sauce, not to mention all of the
ways you can flavor chocolate, such as with espresso powder, mint
extract, citrus zest, and more) and it will become one with the
molten center upon baking and everyone will think you are even more
of a magician. You’re not going to tell them, right? That this
cake has 6 ingredients, basically pantry staples? That it takes 5
minutes to assemble in a single bowl, and 7 to bake? Because if you
did, you might have to make it nightly for now on. And that would
be terrible.

molten chocolate cakes


One year ago: Slow-Roasted
Sweet Potatoes
and Korean-Braised
Short Ribs

Two years ago: Small-Batch

Three years ago:
Miso Black Sesame Caramel Corn
and Hot and
Sour Soup

Four years ago:
Oven-Braised Beef with Tomatoes and Garlic
and Pecan
Sticky Buns

Five years ago:
Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer Hearts
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Six years ago: Italian
Stuffed Cabbage

Seven years ago: Lasagna

Eight years ago: Blood
Orange Olive Oil Cake

Nine years ago: Best
Cocoa Brownies
and Chana

Ten years ago:
Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes
Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Slaw

Eleven years ago: Seven-Yolk
Pasta Dough
and Best
Chocolate Pudding

Twelve years ago:
For Beaming, Bewitching Breads

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago:
Foccaccia Sandwiches for a Crowd

1.5 Years Ago:
Fried Rice with Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Parmesan

2.5 Years Ago: Summer
Squash Pizza

3.5 Years Ago: Raspberry
Crushed Ice

4.5 Years Ago:
Three-Ingredient Summertime Salsa

Puddle Cakes

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • Source: Smitten Kitchen
  • Print
As I mentioned above, you can put a spoonful of almost
anything inside that you wish to merge with the molten center.
Simply spoon in half the batter, add your filling in centered
dollop, spoon the remaining batter on top. The sugar is a bit
variable here. With a solidly bittersweet chocolate bar (70 to
72%), I like 1 tablespoon sugar, although 2 tablespoons is closer
to the standard amount. With less bittersweet/more semisweet
chocolate (60%), I often skip it. If you’re using salted butter,
you can skip the additional salt, or just add a pinch of flakes for
crunch. I bake these in two 6-ounce ramekins (I’ve had these forever, but there are many more options out there) but I
bet two to three cups of a standard muffin/cupcake pan would work
as well, or you could merge it all into a 10-ounce or about 5
inches across.
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut
    into chunks, plus more for dishes
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder, plus more
    for dusting
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate,
    roughly chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt or a
    couple pinches of flaky salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    (see Note)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Butter two 6-ounce ramekins or
baking cups, making sure not to miss any spots. Spoon a little
cocoa powder in each and pat it around so it coats the bottom and
sides, then knock the excess out.

Place 4 tablespoons butter and chocolate in a medium heatproof
bowl and — either in the microwave or set over a pot of gently
simmering water — melt the butter and chocolate about two-thirds
of the way, then whisk until it finishes melting. (This ensures
it’s not too hot to add other ingredients.) Whisk in sugar and
salt. Whisk in egg and yolk and beat a good 20 to 30 extra times,
to ensure mixture is smooth and a bit lightened. Add 2 teaspoons
cocoa powder and whisk until combined.

Divide between two baking dishes. Bake 7 to 9 minutes (7 will be
the most molten in the center, 9 the least but still gooey) and
transfer to a cooling rack for 1 minute. Wearing pot holders, place
a small dessert plate over your first ramekin. Flip it onto the
plate, count to ten, then lift the cup off. Repeat with second
cake. Dust with cocoa powder or powdered sugar. Serve with barely
sweetened whipped cream, a little ice cream, berries, or absolutely
nothing at all. Eat immediately.

Do ahead: You can make the batter and fill the
prepared cups, then refrigerate until you want to bake them. They
can go into the oven directly from the fridge, but will need to
bake 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Source: vegetariantimes
chocolate puddle cakes

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