RecipeTin Eats x Good Food: Chocolate lava cakes with molten ganache

Foolproof fondant puddings with glossy ganache centres.
Foolproof fondant puddings with glossy ganache centres. Photo: RecipeTin?Eats

The 2014 Jon Favreau movie Chef has a foodie cult following all over the world, yours truly included. I'm a Chef tragic – I've made my way through all the iconic dishes showcased in the film, from mojo marinated pork to Cuban sandwiches (check out The Chef Show).

But the greatest eye-opener for me was when Jon Favreau, in his role as chef Carl Casper, screams mid-meltdown: "Chocolate lava cake is not just undercooked chocolate cake! ... That's not what makes the centre molten! You take a frozen cylinder of ganache..." Gamechanger, right there.

The genius of dropping chocolate ganache into the batter is twofold:

  1. The recipe eliminates?the need for exact baking times to ensure the central batter remains raw and comes pouring out when you cut into the dessert. Instead, the chocolate ganache simply melts – you never have to worry about overcooking the pudding.
  2. The lava inside is real chocolate. Not just cake batter. Yes, it requires an extra step, making the ganache and waiting for it to set, but it's worth it!

Molten chocolate ganache lava cakes

Dropping a ball of ganache into the batter not only makes this recipe foolproof, it makes it better – because melted chocolate trumps raw batter any day of the week, and twice on Valentine's Day! This recipe makes more ganache than you'll need, but I don't think you need me to tell you what to do with the leftovers (hint: it involves a spoon and your mouth).

RecipeTin Eats x Good Food: Molten lava cakes

Dropping a ball of ganache into the batter not only makes this classic dessert foolproof, it makes it better.

INGREDIENTS

For the chocolate ganache

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 10g butter
  • 2 tbsp cream
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For the cake batter

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 100g unsalted butter, plus extra to grease moulds
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 110g castor sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour

To serve

  • ice-cream or cream
  • icing sugar or cocoa, for dusting
  • strawberries, optional decoration

METHOD

For the ganache

  1. Place chocolate, butter and cream?in a microwave-proof bowl. Microwave on high for 3 x 30 second bursts, stirring between bursts.
  2. Cover bowl with a plate and stand for 5 minutes, then stir vigorously until chocolate is melted and smooth.
  3. Place the bowl in the fridge for 4 hours. Do not be tempted to shortcut it by freezing it! To speed things up, transfer the mix into a shallow dish.

For the lava cakes

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (180C fan-forced).
  2. Place chocolate and butter in a bowl. Microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring in between. Stir well to combine melted butter and chocolate and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, generously grease 4 x 170ml dariole or pudding moulds* with butter then dust with cocoa powder.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks and sugar.
  5. Add the melted chocolate mixture and mix until combined.
  6. Add flour and fold through until just combined. Do not over mix.
  7. Pour or scoop the batter into prepared moulds until it reaches one-third of the way up.
  8. Place one heaped teaspoon of ganache into middle of batter. Top with more batter until it reaches 1.5cm from the top rim. Repeat for remaining moulds.
  9. Place the moulds on an oven tray and bake for 20 minutes, or until the pudding tops spring back when gently touched. Stand for 2 minutes, then turn onto plate. Tap base then gently remove each mould.
  10. Serve with ice-cream or cream, dusted with icing sugar or cocoa, and strawberries for decorations.

Makes 4

Notes:

*Muffin tins or ramekins will work just fine in place of dariole moulds, they just don't sit as tall as pictured. A lava cake in a standard muffin tin will take 17 minutes in the oven and will make seven to eight; fill to 1cm from the rim. A large muffin tin could also be used – this will make four and take 20 minutes to bake.

Recipe from Nagi Maehashi of RecipeTin Eats

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