I LOVE molten lava cake, also called chocolate fondant or fondant au chocolat if you want to be fancy. The experience of cutting into a chocolate cake and letting that delicious chocolate ooze out, it’s literally one of the most basic forms of food/pastry magic out there. Sorellina in Boston had one of the best lava cakes, and thinking about it just makes me want to go make a reservation for one and binge order them. Don’t judge my life decisions.
Chocolate fondants are a major bitch to get right. Generally, that comes with baking chocolate, which can result in dense batters, and chocolate itself being so temperamental, controlling the texture can be a pain
in the ass. Generally, you need to start with a double boiler. That’s when you have a pot of boiling water with a dry, clean, heat-proof bowl placed over it. Chocolate and water, when you mix the two together, it’ll typically seize or become thick and hard to work with, so that’s why the bowl must be dry. And you can’t just directly melt the chocolate over the stove, or else it’ll burn and seize, hence why it’s such a diva-ish ingredient to work with at times.
To make the fondant gooey, you need the batter to be baked at a high temperature, just to cook the exterior enough so that it will form a firm wall around the liquid batter in the center. Cooking the fondant at 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the container (the smaller and thinner the batter is, the less time you need to cook it for). You don’t need a whole lot of flour, because the center of the cake is warm but still liquid anyways, so this is probably one of the easier recipes to make gluten-free, simply by using a gluten-free flour — I used mochiko rice flour for this recipe, because that particular kind of flour makes baked items that are really soft and unctuous when served warm, very much the qualities that a lava cake should have. Also, rice flour plus chocolate will taste similar to those rice milk candy bars everyone loves, so it’s just a win-win.
Makes 6 cupcake-sized fondants
1 cup dark chocolate
6 tablespoons unsalted butter + more for ramekins
1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder + more for ramekins
1 teaspoon espresso powder
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons rice flour + more for ramekins
Preheat oven to 375 F. In a double boiler with medium-low heat, melt together the chocolate, butter, cocoa powder, espresso, and salt. In a separate bowl, whip together the sugar and eggs until frothy. Once the chocolate is fully melted, pour the egg mixture into the chocolate and fold together over the double boiler until the mixture is evenly mixed. Add in the rice flour and whisk. Line four ramekins with the butter and dust with some rice flour and cocoa powder (combine at a ratio of 1 part flour to 2 parts powder — you won’t need more than 3 tablespoons worth of the dusting powder). Fill each ramekin with the batter (roughly 2/3rds the way full). If you don’t own ramekins, you can use a 12-hole cupcake tin instead. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Once baked, allow the cakes to cool slightly (2-3 minutes at room temperature) before flipping over onto a plate and serving.