Molten lava cakes are often traditionally served in small ramekins. There’s a kitschy cuteness to it—and who doesn’t like a personal dessert?—but there’s no real reason your lava cake has to be small. You can have a large chocolate lava cake, as a treat.
There are recipes specifically engineered for large lava cakes—like this one that requires the insertion of ice cream bars—but it doesn’t need to be that complicated. The tweak is simple: Instead of pouring your batter into a bunch of little ramekins, pour it into one big ramekin (or cake pan) and cook it for a little longer (but not too much longer).
You’ll get the same deep, dark, intensely flavored chocolate cake with a pudding-like center, only you won’t have to mess with lining a bunch of ramekins. (Plus, it’s much harder to keep track of how many lava cakes you’ve had if you serve it in this format. Even if you consume the whole pan, you’ve still technically only had one.)
To try this method, I used the same molten chocolate cake recipe I’ve been using since my sophomore year of college—Nigella Lawson’s. It has never failed me before, and it did not fail me now. The only difference is the number of dishes I had to wash.
To make a giant version of these cute cakes, you will need:
- 3 tablespoons butter (I have used both salted and unsalted), plus more for greasing
- 12 ounces dark chocolate (Get one that’s at least 70% cocoa)
- 3/4 cups white sugar
- 4 eggs, beaten with pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla (This vanilla Fernet works well, too.)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Heat your oven for 400℉. Grease an 8-inch cake pan or large ramekin with butter (use a butter wrapper, if you have one), and line the bottom with parchment. Fill a sauce pan with about an inch of water, then place a metal bowl down inside it so the bottom of the bowl rests above, but does not touch the water. Bring the water to a simmer and let the chocolate melt, stirring occasionally. (Important: Do not let water splash into the chocolate.)
While the chocolate is melting, cream the butter and sugar together until the butter lightens in color. Once the chocolate is fully melted, set it aside and let it cool for a bit. Slowly add the beaten eggs to the butter and sugar, then add the vanilla and flour and mix until smooth. Add the chocolate and continue to mix until a smooth batter is formed.
Pour the batter into the lined cake pan, smooth out the top, and bake for 12-15 minutes, until the cake is fully set on the edges but still has a slight wobble in the center. Keep in mind that the size of your pan will affect your cooking time. If you have a deeper pan with a smaller diameter, it might take a little longer than a cake cooked in a wider, shallower pan. Either way, look for that wobble. Once the cake is ready, serve immediately with ice cream, whipped cream, or a tall, ice-cold glass of milk.
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