Friday, February 19, 2016

An Impressive Dessert Recipe: Easy Molten Chocolate Cakes

Have you ever needed a recipe for an impressive dessert? Did you consider baking Molten Chocolate Cakes, but decided they were too difficult? If so, I have the perfect easy recipe for you!

Mindy, a fictional character in a short story I have been writing, is the reason for my discovery of this recipe. In the most recent chapter, Mindy was preparing a Valentine's Day dinner for her boyfriend Ryan and hoping it would inspire him to offer her a marriage proposal. Due to unexpected circumstances Ryan may never
taste the meal, but if he does I know he will be dazzled. I'm sure of this, because on Valentine's Day I prepared a few recipes from Mindy's menu for my husband, and he was extremely impressed!

When I wrote what Mindy was baking for dessert, I provided a link to Williams-Sonoma's Warm Molten Chocolate Cakes.  This is an excellent recipe, but I made my dessert a little differently. I didn't have much time and the Williams-Sonoma recipe had too many steps, required too many dishes, and needed more chocolate than what I had.

I trust the cookbook author Mark Bittman. When I found his simple recipe published by New York Times cooking, I knew my cakes would turn out well. I did make a few adjustments to his recipe, which I'm sharing here today. 
Easy Molten Chocolate Cakes 

  • ~Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. 
  • ~Add water to the bottom of a double-boiler and heat to boiling. 
  • ~Generously grease four (4 oz. size) ramekins and dust with cocoa* to coat. 
*(Using cocoa instead of flour to keep batter from sticking ensures that there will be no white residue after the cakes are unmolded.)
  • 1 (4 oz.) bar of good-quality bittersweet chocolate 
  • 4 oz. unsalted butter (1/2 cup)*
  • 2 oz. granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tsp. all-purpose flour
  • small amount unsweetened cocoa powder
  • small amount confectioner's sugar
*Update. This recipe was published for a few hours before I noted and fixed an error. The quantity of butter is 4 oz. - which is 1/2 cup NOT 1/2 stick as it was unfortunately originally written.  


  1. Smash bar of chocolate several times against the counter to break into small pieces. Unwrap, and place chocolate pieces and butter in the top of a double boiler. Stir until melted. Set aside to cool.
  2. Place eggs, egg whites, and sugar in a mixing bowl and use a standing or hand-held mixer to beat until sugar is well incorporated - mixture will thicken and get lighter in color.
  3. Add flour, beat well.
  4. Slowly add chocolate mixture to egg mixture, again beating until well combined.
  5. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and evenly distribute the batter between them.
  6. Bake cakes** at 450 degrees F. for about 8 minutes. They will be done when the sides appear set and the center is still a little soft. Do not overbake!
  7. Let cool for a few minutes. Using a hot mitt, carefully unmold cakes by placing a plate on top of each ramekin and then flipping both upside-down. Remove ramekin, using a thin spatula to coax cake out of dish if necessary. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and add a dollop of whipped cream.
**Note: For convenience, these cakes can be prepared through Step 5, then covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for several hours. Remove from fridge about 15 minutes before baking, then proceed from Step 6, as above. 

Chocolate Molten Cakes are best when eaten immediately after baking.
Serves 4.
Inspired by and adapted from Mark Bittman's version of chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's chocolate cake.

These little cakes are easy to make and undeniably impressive.

What is the most spectacular dessert that you have ever baked? 

In the spirit of full disclosure, this post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of them, the price you pay will not be affected but I may receive some small compensation. All opinions expressed, however, are entirely honest and my own.
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  1. Yum! I just made lava cakes not too long ago, delicious. This makes me want to make another batch!

    1. It won't be long before I make these lava cakes again, Carlee. So easy - and so delicious!

  2. Wow! Fabulous looking dessert. I was thinking that I could get rid of some unwanted stress by beating the chocolate bars on the counter, too. Haha! The most exotic dessert I ever made was called a Biscuit Tortoni. It had layers of a ground almond/sugar mixture, thick pudding-like layers (made of Whipped cream, dry sherry, and egg whites. Then it was topped off with sliced strawberries. It is a beautiful dessert when served in a clear bowl. I haven't had a chance to catch up with the Mindy story but I will be doing so soon.

    1. Your biscuit tortoni sounds heavenly, Lynn!

  3. They do sound good. When my girth can justify it again I will try them.
    Today for a birthday high tea I made a purple pavlova. Decorated with cream - marbled in red and blue, sugar stars, blueberries and raspberries. Those that ate it (not me) enjoyed it.

    1. I would love to see a picture of your pavlova EC. It sounds so beautiful!

  4. These look so good - and I think even I could make them!

    1. I know that you could make these lava cakes, Lana. They sound harder than they are.

  5. They sound delicious! I've saved the recipe to print later. I'm not sure I should make them though, because I'd eat them all and forget about dinner!

  6. That looks delicious and maybe something that even I could pull off! I pinned it to give it a try. I'm still waiting for Mindy and Ryan haha!

    1. Just make sure you grease the baking dishes well Rena, or else they will stick. If you are worried about that, you could even serve these lava cakes right from the dishes, but it just won't be as pretty.

  7. Looks so good.I got try them out.


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