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Molten Chocolate Cakes Recipe:

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

6 ounces (170 grams) semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

3 large eggs, separated

1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated white sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 tablespoon granulated white sugar


Molten Chocolate Cakes: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Generously butter four - 6 to 8 ounce (180-240 ml) molds, ramekins, or custard cups and dust the insides with granulated white sugar. Place the prepared molds on a baking sheet and set aside while you make the cake batter.

In a heatproof bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate. Remove from heat and set aside while you beat the egg yolks.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the egg yolks and 1/3 cup (65 grams) sugar until thick, pale, and fluffy. (When you slowly raise the beaters the batter will fall back into the bowl in slow ribbons.) Beat in the vanilla extract and then fold in the melted chocolate mixture.

In another clean bowl whip the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to whip until soft peaks form. Gradually add the 1 tablespoon of granulated white sugar and whip just until stiff peaks form. With a rubber spatula or wire whisk gently fold the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture, just until incorporated. Do not over mix or the batter will deflate. Divide the batter between the prepared molds. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the outside edges of the cakes are set but the middle still looks a little wet and wobbly. You may have cracks on the top surface of the cakes.

Immediately remove from oven and let them rest for a minute or two. You can serve the cakes in their molds or you can run a palette or sharp knife around the edge of each cake and then invert onto the center of each serving plate. Carefully remove the mold. Sprinkle the top of each cake with confectioners sugar and place a dollop of softly whipped cream, clotted cream, creme fraiche, or vanilla ice cream on top of each warm cake.

Note: You can prepare the chocolate mixture several hours ahead of time. Simply make the recipe, pour into the prepared molds, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Bake just before serving. When the batter is cold the cakes may take a minute or two longer to bake.

Makes four Molten Chocolate Cakes.


At first glance you could mistakenly think this Orange Chiffon Cake is an Angel Food Cake. Both cakes are beautiful with their tall circular shape and that characteristic hole in the center which comes from baking the cake in a tube pan. But their similarities do not end there. When you cut into an Orange Chiffon Cake you will see that it also has that same sponge-like texture of an Angel Food Cake where its lightness and fluffiness comes from using beaten egg whites. Chiffon Cakes, however, are also different as they contain both baking powder and a liquid fat (in the form of oil). It is the oil that gives this cake its wonderful moist and tender crumb and that keeps the cake soft even when refrigerated. You can use safflower, corn or sunflower oil, just be sure to check the product label to see that the oil does not contain silicates as they tend to inhibit foaming. The disadvantage of oil is that it does not have much flavor, so chiffon cakes must get their flavor from other ingredients, in this case from both orange juice and orange zest. I have used Navel Oranges, but you can use other varieties. Navel Oranges are a large, sweet, thick and pebbly skinned orange that is fairly easy to peel and has no seeds. Its name comes from the fact that the fruit has a navel like protuberance at one end which contains a 'baby' fruit. It is sometimes nicknamed the 'belly button orange'.
It is not until your spoon breaks through the Molten Chocolate Cake's outer crust, that you find its pudding-like center. This dessert has been described as souffle-like, cake-like, brownie-like, mousse-like, and pudding-like, and that is because it has all of these characteristics. Molten Chocolate Cakes, also known as Chocolate Lava Cakes, have a rich and chocolately flavor, and a texture that is dense and moist. These cakes will rise beautifully as they bake (like a souffle), but once they are removed from the oven they will slowly deflate.

New York Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is credited with inventing this cake back in 1987. The story goes that he pulled a chocolate sponge cake from the oven before it was completely done. As their name implies, Molten Chocolate Cakes are usually served hot, often with a chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream, softly whipped cream, clotted cream or creme fraiche. Leftovers can be refrigerated and eaten cold the next day (or reheated in the microwave). The one thing everyone agrees on is that they have an intense chocolate flavor so use a very good dark chocolate. You can use either a bittersweet or semi sweet but look for a chocolate that has a lovely shiny finish (a sign that the chocolate was cooked at the right temperature for the right amount of time) and one that has that wonderful 'snap' when you break it into pieces.
When making these cakes you can use individual ramekins, molds, custard cups, or even muffin tins. The cakes can be served in their molds but if you want to remove them from their cups before serving, it is important to generously butter each mold so the baked cakes release easily onto your serving plate. You may want to first run a sharp knife around each cake before unmolding. The batter can be made several hours in advance of baking. Just pour the batter into the individual molds, cover each mold with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until you are ready to bake them. The cakes are baked until set, yet the centers will still look a little wet and wobbly. You may notice some cracks on the top surface. As the cakes cool the chocolate sauce in the center of the cake will continue to set.
Chiffon cakes were invented in the 1920s by a Californian named Henry Baker who went on to sell his recipe to General Mills in the 1940s. Chiffon cakes were very popular in the 1950s and then seemed to fade away. Luckily, they are now being rediscovered, maybe because they are hailed as having less cholesterol than other cakes or maybe it is because, while similar to an angel food cake, they are not as sweet. As I mentioned above, the batter is baked in an ungreased tube pan which allows the batter to cling to the sides of the pan as it rises. The tube in the center of the pan lets the hot air circulate so the heat can reach the center of the cake. The cake needs to be inverted immediately upon removing it from the oven as this keeps the cake from shrinking and losing its volume. I like to serve this cake with a dusting of powdered sugar and fresh fruit. Of course, whipped cream or even ice cream makes a nice accompaniment.

This recipe was adapted from The Woman's Association of St. Paul's United Church's (Spryfield, Nova Scotia) "Book One Favorite Recipes" dated 1956.