Posted by: Catherine | March 1, 2009

Molten Lava Cakes

mg_4564_lavacake_c2I’ve tried umpteen recipes for these luscious little cakes to no avail—none are gooey enough, and the cake part is never moist or rich enough, at least for our family’s nothing-is-too-chocolatey preferences. So, when my friend Susan invited me to join her and a pastry chef from one of the Craft restaurants for private dessert-making lessons I jumped at the chance, especially since I was allowed to choose a cake to make.  Mostly what I learned was that I know next to nothing about baking with chocolate (I never temper, probably never will). Frankly, though, the lava cakes we made—painstakingly, and I am not a painstaking cook; I’m  more of a dumper—just weren’t what I’d hoped they’d be. Bruce and Emma suggested in their not-so-subtle ways that I don’t make them again. Then, not one to miss an opportunity to prove her own mettle, Emma found this recipe from Paula Deen on the food network site, made them all by herself…and they were everything I’ve always loved about a good lava cake!

We are fans of Paula’s, and no two people are more surprised than Emma and I. Sometimes, in the middle of a night full of homework, before I start dinner, Emma and I crawl into bed for a “rest” at 5:30 and watch her show. It started as a kind of joke 1) because in our house we don’t down sticks of butter or cups of mayo with any regularity, and it amuses us no end to watch Paula say, “Oops, look how that just fell into the budddddher” before she shoves it in her mouth; and 2) because Emma’s class is deep into grammar this year, and we make a game of Paula’s grammar don’ts (no offense to Paula, whom we love, and who references her grammar, or lack thereof, often). We hang with Paula, Jamie, Bobby, Michael, and Bubba several times a week,  plus they’ve ended up being a boon to our chocolate-dessert must-makes. I’m going to post a story about one of Paula’s brownie recipes…so stay tuned. 

On another note: In the communal spirit of my blog (don’t be shy; share your recipes with us!), I have invited five friends to come to dinner tomorrow night, with a friend, everyone to bring a favorite dish/dessert plus the recipe. I’ll be posting, starting later this week, so don’t stray too far.


(makes 6 cakes)

6 oz. bittersweet chocolate

2 oz. semisweet chocolate

10 T unsalted butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

3 large eggs

3 egg yolks

1 t. vanilla extract

2 T orange liqueur (I advised Emma to use coffee…and she listened!)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Grease 6 6-ounce custard cups. Melt the chocolates and butter in the microwave. Add the flour and sugar to chocolate mixture. Sir in the eggs and yolks until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and liqueur. Divide the batter evenly among the custard cups. Place in the oven and bake for 14 minutes. The edges should be firm but the center will be runny. Run a knife around the edges to loosen and invert onto dessert plates.



  1. Looks amazing – I’ve been looking for ages for a lovely chocolate-y creamless dessert – will certainly be making these next weekend.

  2. My favorite chocolate lava cakes are the ones which run out from the center when you cut into them. Thanks to Emma for finding a good recipe! Like you, I have been on the look out but had not found a satisfactory recipe yet. This looks perfect.

  3. I must admit, I am not a fan of Paula because her presentation style is weird, but I am a fan of her son Bobby. What a cutie!

  4. wow… this looks so good. and leave it to paula to have something high fat and delish. it’s hard to believe she didn’t put butter in it just to put butter in it.

  5. YUM!!!! YUM!!!!

  6. That molten lava cake look so good!

  7. Hi Catherine,
    Thank you so much for your comment on my blog. Daryn had told me about you and I had immediately gone to your site. Loved it and only had a chance to read the Jan entries. I love food, I love to eat, I love to cook and bake and as I can see, so do you. I am impressed with your story…you write beautifully!
    Let’s stay in touch
    x Susan

  8. |Hey how come I missed this one out? :O

    Thank you so much for sharing, It looks truly great :)))

  9. 10 Tablespoons of butter??! Is this a typo?

  10. Ah, no, upon consideration 10 Ts is reasonable. I’m looking forward to my imminent dessert…

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