Chocolate Fondant (a.k.a. molten lava cake or molten chocolate cake) is one of the most popular desserts during Valentine’s day. Whether you have a date to impress or you have a date with your kitchen, this cake will make your night. However, many shy away from making it at home as it requires precise timing. Just one minute too long and your cake won’t have a liquid centre, but take it out of the oven too early and the exterior of the cake will collapse. Fear not. As intimidating as this dessert may sound, here is a foolproof method to execute the perfect chocolate fondant time and time again.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Cool and plate time: 5 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 individual cakes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
Cocoa powder, for dusting
1 70% dark chocolate bar (100g)
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 eggs and 2 egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup and 2 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoons salt
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Vanilla ice cream
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Using the melted butter, grease 4 soufflé ramekins and dust with cocoa powder.
2. In a Bain-Marie or double boiler, melt together the butter and chocolate. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
3. Using an electric mixer or whisk, beat eggs, egg yolks, and sugar until thick and pale.
4. Add the cooled butter and chocolate mixture to the eggs and sugar, folding to combine.
5. Sift together the salt and flour and fold into the wet ingredients, adding one third of the flour and salt at a time.
6. Pour the batter into a ziplock bag, cut of the tip and evenly distribute the batter into the 4 ramekins.
7. Place the fondants on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.
8. Using an oven mitt, remove ramekins from the oven and let them cool for 2 minutes.
9. Place a plate over the ramekin and invert the fondant onto the plate. Tap the ramekin a few times before carefully removing it.
Note: the ramekin will still be very hot at this point.
10. Dust generously with powdered sugar.
Optional: Serve with vanilla ice cream, caramel or chocolate sauce.
It’s all about timing:
At the end of the day, mastering this recipe comes down to how long it bakes for. In the name of science, the following three chocolate fondants were baked for three different amounts of time to show how an additional minute or two affects the interior and general structure of the cake.
8 minutes: this chocolate fondant collapsed as soon as the ramekin was removed.
9 minutes: this chocolate fondant held its structure but the centre was not hot enough.
10 minutes: this chocolate fondant held its structure and was hot through the middle.
- These fondants can be prepped ahead of time by completing up to step 6 and placing them in the fridge. Simply bring the cakes to room temperature before baking them.
- Wrap paper towels around your tongs to help you pick up ramekins when hot.
- Don’t have a sieve? You can use a tea infuser, it works like a mini sieve.
Need some more chocolatey ways to impress your Valentine? Check out these links: