Mount Cocoa

Doesn’t this look like a mountain spewing chocolate lava…?

Chocolate lava cake is my favourite dessert – simply because I can get the maximum chocolaty effect. That’s why I was determined to learn how to bake this favourite dessert of mine.

Through research on the internet, I found out that there are 2 methods of baking this cake:

  1. cook the batter till the outsides are cooked while the interior is still molten.
  2. place a chocolate truffle in the middle of the batter. The chocolate truffle will melt, producing molten chocolate.

My favourite cookbook writer – Delia Smith – has a recipe for this type of chocolate cake. My first attempt did not produce a lava flow as I had forgotten to take into account that my pudding basins were smaller than Delia’s and did not adjust the cooking time accordingly.

My next attempt was more successful:

  • I omitted the brandy – it doesn’t appear to affect the taste of the cake.My pudding basins had a capacity of 125ml. I baked the cakes at 200 deg C (oven dial at 200 deg C) for about 6 minutes, using both top and bottom heat elements.
  • The basins should be filled nearly to the top as the cakes only rise a little during baking.
  • It’s done when the top looks cooked – when you shake the mould, the mixture does not quiver. The cake also shrinks from the side of the mould.
  • The tops should also look firm to touch (please don’t press to hard, or else the thin crust will be punctured!). The toothpick test won’t work because the centre of the cake is molten chocolate.

I had also varied the recipe by including Marks and Spencers’ Brandied Cherries (those chocolates with brandied cherry in the centre) into the batter: spoon batter till basin is about ¼ full, place chocolate on batter – do not push down, as we want the lava to be concentrated in the centre of the cake, pour more batter till the basin is almost full, the batter should cover the chocolate, bake as per normal. This variation tastes great – like a black forest cake!

This is a great dessert to serve at small dinner parties: can be prepared in advance (batter can be refrigerated and it takes a minute or 2 longer to bake), fast to cook, no fancy deco required (maybe a vanilla ice-cream) and chocolate is usually a crowd-pleaser! Well, at least the puddings pleased my hubby, mother-in-law and eldest sister-in-law… 🙂