Molten Chocolate Cakes

A few years ago, molten chocolate cakes were all the rage on dessert menus across the country. They’re kind of a past ‘fad’ now, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to make an appearance now and then.

Think about chocolate chip cookie dough. It’s spun into ice creams, topped on brownies, and eaten raw all the time. There’s just something about eating a dessert that’s the nemesis of everything your mother ever told you.

“Don’t eat that cookie dough, it’ll make you sick.”

“Stop eating the cake batter. You’ll get sick from all the raw eggs.”

So what do pastry chefs do? We create those nostalgic-flavored, “oh-no-you-didn’t” desserts.

The best way to describe these little cakes is that they are blend between a brownie and a chocolate cake, with a warm, oozing center of chocolate deliciousness. Serve these with an ice cream and you have a beautifully contrasting dessert- the hot and cold temperatures, gooey cake, and that lovely thing that happens when the ice cream and molten center mix together to create a sauce.

I’ve done variations of these with sauteed cherries and rum ice cream, chocolate crumble and coffee ice cream, and mesquite graham crackers and toasted marshmallow ice cream.

The only important trick to remember is that in order to get that ‘molten’ effect, the batter must be chilled for several hours until really cold. And remove the cakes from the oven when the centers still look ‘wet’.

How to make this high altitude adjusted recipe:

Molten Chocolate Cakes (adapted from The French Pastry School)

5.0 from 1 reviews
Molten Chocolate Cakes
  • 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • Scant 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey (or vanilla extract)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup sifted cake flour
  1. Butter 8 individual ceramic ramekins or aluminum foil baking cups.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over a water bath, stirring constantly to prevent the chocolate from burning. When smooth, remove from heat.
  3. Slowly whisk the powdered sugar into the chocolate-butter mixture.
  4. Whisk together the eggs and egg yolks, then slowly whisk into the chocolate mixture until smooth.
  5. Add the whiskey and salt.
  6. Add the sifted cake flour and mix until smooth.
  7. Fill the pre-buttered cups to ¾ full and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  8. Bake at 375 for 8-9 minutes or just until the edges are set but the center still looks wet.
  9. Let cool for 2 minutes, then invert onto plates and serve.
About the author

Chef Megan Joy

Deb - July 3, 2012

A great dessert is never out of style! Adore the pairing of the Molten Chocolate Cake with another dessert, just too irresistible!

Kay - July 10, 2012

That looks mouthwateringly delicious! and beautiful photographs.

Erin - February 14, 2014

One word, DELICIOUS!! I have made this recipe a few times.
The only thing I did differently was substitute coffee liquor in place of the whiskey & used high altitude flour instead of cake flour.
Thank you for a great recipe!

rae - June 22, 2014

Thank you for the recipe, Megan! I’m wondering if this can be made into an 8 or 9 inch cake instead of small cakes?

    Chef Megan Joy - June 22, 2014

    Hi Rae, I wouldn’t recommend it if you still want to achieve a ‘molten’ cake. You can certainly bake this in a larger pan and it will be a different textured- but likely still delicious cake.

      rae - June 22, 2014

      Thank you so much for your prompt reply! I actually ended up making the olive oil almond chocolate cake from your blog — it’s in the oven now, and the chocolate+orange combination is divine. This is my trial run for when I will be baking at 7200 ft next week. I’m so happy I came upon your blog; it’s a huge help for those of us who haven’t baked up high before!

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