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Apr 9, 2002 11:02 AM

Molten Chocolate Cakes (recipe)

  • c

A now-buried thread about Chapeau! that morphed into a discussion of "fallen" or "molten" chocolate cakes (link below) included garcon's request for my recipe. Here it is (adapted by me from one that appeared in Bon Appetit magazine).

This recipe is for two servings, and can be multiplied. The cakes can be flavored with an extract (e.g., mint, almond) or liqueur of your choice if you wish. The most difficult part is the timing of the baking; check at 20 minutes, but don't go more than a few minutes longer. If they come out too soon, they'll collapse when unmolded, but if they go too long, they won't be "molten" inside. And by the way, the molten part is gooey and fudgy, and does NOT taste like raw cake batter. They are best served with ice cream and/or a fruit sauce.


2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup (half stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsweeted cocoa
2 large egg yolk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons all purpose flour

Generously butter two 6-ounce ramekins or custard cups and dust with flour or cocoa powder. Melt chocolate and butter over low heat or in microwave. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in sugar and cocoa, then egg yolk, then whole egg, then vanilla, then flour. Divide batter among ramekins. At this point, you may cover and refrigerate ramekins for up to a day. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350F. Bake cakes uncovered until edges are set but center still looks shiny and tester comes out with some wet batter attached, 20-22 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes, then run a thin knife around sides of ramekins and invert cakes onto plates. Serve immediately.


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  1. Do you have to let the batter come to room temp before baking if you make them in advance?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Wendy Lai
      Caitlin McGrath

      You can put them in straight from the fridge. The baking time will be toward the longer end (but still watch carefully). a great dinner-party dessert because you can make the batter up to the day before and pop them in the oven while you make coffee or whatever. Also impressive because most people only get them in restaurants.

    2. p
      Piggly Wiggly

      The ones at Chapeau are divine!! There's also a recipe from Godiva I've been meaning to try

      Molten Chocolate Cake

      Yield: 6 servings
      Difficulty: ** (Intermediate)
      Preparation: 1 hour plus freezing and baking times.

      Frozen Chocolate Centers:
      4 bars (1.5 ounces each) Godiva Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped
      3/4 cup heavy cream
      2 tablespoons light corn syrup
      1 tablespoon orange-flavored liqueur
      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

      Chocolate cake:
      6 bars (1.5 ounces each) Godiva Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped
      1/4 cup water
      2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
      3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sifted all-purpose flour
      1/8 teaspoon salt
      1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
      1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
      2 teaspoons vanilla extract
      3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
      4 large egg whites, at room temperature

      Orange Cream:
      1 1/4 cups heavy cream
      1 tablespoon granulated sugar
      1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
      4 teaspoons orange-flavored liqueur

      Confectioners' sugar
      Unsweetened cocoa powder
      Mint leaves

      Make the chocolate centers:

      Place chocolate in 1-quart measuring cup with a pouring spout. Heat cream and corn syrup in saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a gentle boil. Remove from heat. Pour hot cream over chocolate. Let stand for 30 seconds. Gently whisk until smooth. Stir in orange liqueur, vanilla and orange zest.

      Cover ice cube tray with plastic wrap. Press down plastic to line six ice cube cavities with plastic. Pour warm chocolate mixture into cavities, filling to the tops. Cover and refrigerate remaining chocolate mixture for use as sauce. Cover filled ice cube tray with plastic wrap and freeze for 3 to 4 hours or until solid. Keep frozen until ready to assemble dessert.

      Make the chocolate cakes:

      Preheat oven to 425„aF. Generously butter bottom and sides of six 6-ounce ramekins and place on baking sheet.

      Place chocolate, water and coffee in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium (50% power) for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave 30 seconds more or until chocolate is softened. Stir until smooth and let cool.

      Stir together flour and salt.

      Beat butter in mixing bowl until creamy, using electric mixer at medium speed. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add cooled chocolate mixture and beat until smooth.

      Beat egg whites in mixing bowl until frothy, using electric mixer at low speed. Increase speed to high and beat until soft peaks form. Add remaining sugar, 1 teaspoon at a time, beating until stiff shiny peaks form.

      Fold one-third of egg whites and one-third of flour mixture into chocolate batter. One-third at a time, gently fold in remaining egg whites and flour mixture. Spoon half of batter into ramekins, filling more than half full. Place a frozen chocolate cube in center of each. Spoon remaining batter in ramekins, covering chocolate cubes completely.

      Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until batter has risen about 1/2 inch above rims of ramekins and tops are slightly cracked. While cakes are baking, prepare the orange cream.

      Prepare the orange cream and assemble dessert:

      Beat heavy cream, sugar, orange zest and orange liqueur in bowl until it starts to thicken, but is still pourable, using electric mixer at medium speed. Do not overbeat.

      Gently heat reserved chocolate mixture over a saucepan of hot, not simmering water. Keep sauce warm.

      Invert warm cake onto center of each dessert plate. Lightly dust with confectioners' sugar. Spoon some orange cream around base of cake. Lightly sprinkle with cocoa powder. Garnish with mint. Serve immediately and pass warm chocolate sauce.

      1. Hi Caitlin -- Thanks for posting the recipe. I'll try is soon. One question: must the ramekins/custard cups be straight-sided, or may they be fluted?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Mrs. Smith
          Caitlin McGrath

          I guess I'd be concerned about the cakes unmolding intact from fluted molds (you do have to butter well and let rest a few minutes to guarantee them coming out in one piece). Also, I think that, unless the fluted pattern is particularly shallow, the outer edges of the cake (the fluted part) might get overdone. This is all speculation on my part. The recipe works perfectly with ceramic or glass ramekins or standard Pyrex custard cups.