Chocolate Lava Cakes

I baked a half dozen lava cakes this afternoon.

Cupcake sized chocolate cakes, which if you dig into, have indulgent chocolate ganache oozing out of them.

Yes, those. And they turned out fabulous.

I used a recipe that uses Ghirardelli dark chocolate. I had neither Ghirardelli chocolate slabs. Nor was the chocolate I had 60% cacao, as was suggested on the website.

The Ghirardelli recipe is here.

The other recipe I looked at was one I saw on the Food Network website and I”ve linked you to it here.

I tweaked the recipe a little bit because the cooking chocolate I had wasn’t as bitter as I might have liked it to be. The ganache tasted like good milk chocolate. And I figured that if my cake would be just as sweet too, I might be in for a disaster. So I added some orange zest and fresh squeezed orange juice to the cake batter. A twist worth taking, after I’ve eaten two little volcanic chocolate thingies.

Ingredients:
For the Centers:
6 tablespoons Dark (cooking) Chocolate, grated or broken into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup heavy cream

For the Cakes:
1/2 cup Dark (cooking) Chocolate, grated or broken into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 large whole eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon corn flour
Zest of one orange
3-4 teaspoons of orange juice (freshly squeezed)

Method:
To make the centers:
(Double boilers are a pain to work with, in my opinion. While the original recipe suggested the double-boiler technique, here’s what I did)
1. Bring about an inch of water to boil in a pan. Take it off the heat and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, mix the chocolate and the cream. Immerse this in the warm water and stir gradually, to melt the chocolate and form a ganache.
3. Refrigerate for an hour or until firm. With your hands, form into six balls. Freeze further, until needed.

To make the cakes:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (about 200°C).
2. Use the same technique as described above, to heat some water. In a bowl, mix in the chocolate and the butter and melt it to a consistent, smooth paste.
3. In a larger bowl, beat the eggs (2 egg whites, 4 yolks), the sugar and the vanilla essence for about 5-10 minutes until they are creamy and thick.
4. Fold in the chocolate mixture and mix for a few minutes.
5. Now gradually add the flour. Stir well.
6. At this point, I added about 4 teaspoons of orange juice and the zest of one small orange.
7. I used silicone cups, so I didn’t need to grease them (the pervert in me is rolling on the floor laughing at this point). But in case you’re using ramekins or custard cups, you might want to line them with cooking spray or butter. Spoon the cake batter into the moulds.
8. Place a chocolate ball (which you should have gotten out of the freezer by now) in the middle of each mould.
9. Bake for 15 minutes, until the cake is firm to touch.
10. Remove from the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes. The cake might appear to sink. Worry not. I guess that happens because the chocolate ball, when dropped into the cake batter, displaces it. And when you bake it, the cake rises. But when it cooks, the ganache is molten. That is to say, it’s not in solid form any more and as a solid, it had displaced more volume. Where as now, the liquid settles in. I don’t know if the Physics makes sense. But that’s just what *I* think happens.

Voila!!! Desserts that you pay $10 for. Or Rs300/-. At home. In a little over an hour. Are you awesome, or what! Go! Bake! This stuff is SO good, you’re going to thank me.

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7 thoughts on “Chocolate Lava Cakes

  1. Shazz

    Physics alert! *dum dum dum DUM*

    By definition, liquid of same objects of same mass occupies a larger volume than the solid. Plus the cake is hardly air-tight, so can be several reasons for the sinking. Most likely due to the hot air cooling down when you let it sit.

  2. CookyDoh

    Alright, I suck.
    Facts: cake batter = liquid.
    Ganache balls = solid.
    Cake = solid.
    Ganache = liquid.
    You’re saying the liquid ganache should occupy greater volume than the ganache balls, no?
    Pch! How then?
    Besides, if you say hot air cooling is what causes it, all cakes/cupcakes/muffins should have that depression.
    Could it have something to do with the fluffiness of the beaten eggs?

  3. Shazz

    Firstly, depends what type of liquid. And really? Is cake batter liquid? Plus cake volume doesn’t shrink cos it’s spongy, there’s a large amount of air in it.
    What the hell is ganache? If we’re talking about liq/solid chocolate, of course the liq takes more space. Definition of liq is the solid with the atoms further apart.
    Each cake/cupcake/muffin is different. The depression can depend on porosity, temperature, rate of cooling, hardness blah blah blah. I don’t see what beaten eggs has to do with the sinking though. Seems unlikely. Ask a Gastronomic chemist.

  4. Shruti

    I don’t think I’ll find dark cooking chocolate here so can I make it with Cocoa instead? I do have medium sweet cooking chocolate.

    YAY for winters coming and orange zest being easily available. 😀

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