Yesterday was our anniversary. We usually have Fridays off, but unfortunately Dave had to work that day. I decided to make him a nice dinner and wanted to have a sinful dessert to go with it. He loved the chocolate cupcakes I made a few weeks ago, but I didn’t want to have that many cupcakes in the house. 🙂

I’ve been intrigued by the chocolate cakes that ooze yummy goodness when you cut into them. They go by different names; lava cakes, fallen cakes, molten chocolate cakes, etc. The cake was originally created by master chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and is popular in restaurants. King Arthur Flour and Trader Joe’s had mixes to create this cake at home. I wanted to try making one from scratch for this special occasion. One nice thing about this recipe is that you can make it ahead of time and bake it when you are ready. This would be perfect for a dinner party.

I chose to use the recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. It is similar to others I saw online, including the original recipe for Molten Chocolate Cake from Jean-Georges Vongerichten which is published on Food & Wine magazine’s web site.

Some type of electric mixer is must as you need to beat the eggs at a very fast speed until they triple in volume. This was a breeze with my KitchenAid stand mixer. It might be tedious with a hand mixer, but still doable. You then gently fold the egg mixture into the melted chocolate and butter. You have to work gently so that you don’t remove all the volume you created with the mixing.

I cut the recipe in half to make four individual cakes since it was just for the two of us. I baked two last night and will bake the other two tonight. I’m not sure how well the cakes will rise tonight after being refrigerated for more than 24 hours. The cakes last night rose well and were delicious. I served them with a small scoop of Double Rainbow vanilla ice cream. Dave loved them. It was a nice ending to a long day for him.

Individual Fallen Chocolate Cakes

Author: Sylvia Bass
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 13 mins
Total time: 23 mins
Serves: 8
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), plus extra for ramekins
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Ă‚ÂĽ teaspoon table salt
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for ramekins
  • confectioners’ sugar or unsweetened cocoa powder for decoration, optional
  • whipped cream for serving, optional
  1. Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Generously butter and flour (or use cocoa powder) eight 6-ounce ramekins or Pyrex custard/baking cups; tap out excess flour and position ramekins on shallow roasting pan, jelly roll pan, or baking sheet. Meanwhile, melt 8 tablespoons butter and chocolate in medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of almost simmering water, stirring once or twice, until smooth; remove from heat. (Or melt chocolate and butter in microwave oven. See instructions above.)
  2. Beat eggs, yolk, vanilla, salt, and sugar at highest speed in bowl of a standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment until volume nearly triples, color is very light, and mixture drops from beaters in a smooth, thick stream, about 5 minutes. (Alternatively, beat for 10 minutes using a hand-held electric mixer and large mixing bowl.) Scrape egg mixture over melted chocolate and butter; sprinkle flour over egg mixture. Gently fold egg and flour into chocolate until mixture is uniformly colored. Ladle or pour batter into prepared ramekins. (Can be covered lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to eight hours. Return to room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.)
  3. Bake until cakes have puffed about 1/2-inch above rims of ramekins, have a thin crust on top, and jiggle slightly at center when ramekins are shaken very gently, 12 to 13 minutes. Run a paring knife around inside edges of ramekins to loosen cakes and invert onto serving plates; cool for 1 minute and lift off ramekins. Sieve light sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar or cocoa powder over cakes to decorate, if desired, and serve immediately with optional whipped cream.

You can substitute 5 ounces of unsweetened baking chocolate for the semisweet if need be, but you’ll also have to increase the sugar by 6 tablespoons, for a total of 7/8 cup. To melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave oven, heat chocolate alone at 50% power for 2 minutes; stir chocolate, add butter, and continue heating at 50% for another 2 minutes, stopping to stir after 1 minute. If chocolate is not yet entirely melted, heat an additional 30 seconds at 50% power.