This post updated January 2016 as part of the #ThrowbackThursday photography project where I add delicious new photos to already delectable recipes. Enjoy!
The Godfather and I have always stayed in for Valentine’s Day… remember the 17 hour key lime cheesecake I mentioned in this post? That was from our first Valentine’s Day together. At first we alternated years cooking for each other, but it’s devolved into us just making a meal together and enjoying it with a movie or some board games. This year we’ve decided on dim sum if you’re curious. Some we’ll try to make and some we will outsource to the Trader Joe’s frozen food section since it’s our first Valentine’s Day with the little one.
The thing with dim sum is, there’s no real clear dessert option. Neither of us are huge fans of chocolate covered strawberries, a quintessential V-Day dessert, and we don’t want to make something big for just a few little pieces. We still haven’t settled on our dessert, but I think you’ve just found yours. 😉
I know that salted caramel is rather over-done at the moment, and honestly, chocolate and salted caramel is probably even more over-done this time of the year, but this… this is fantastic. It’s beautiful, gooey, intense in chocolate taste with a delicious balance of caramel and salt in the middle. If desserts were people, this cake would be a femme fatale international spy in a killer gown like the ones I swoon over on Pinterest.
Lava cakes have become staples on almost every restaurant dessert menu, but they’re not all stellar, and it all comes down to quality. I am a HUGE believer in quality over quantity (HUGE!) and it is absolutely imperative when it comes to this dessert. Please please please use the best quality chocolate you can find/afford and good caramels. In a pinch, I the bagged store bought would do, but it makes such a difference to have real caramels, the kind that aren’t shelf stable for 5 years. Dessert is a special occasion… celebrate accordingly!
I also love that this dessert can be scaled up or down. I had to test this dessert a few times to get it just how I wanted it, and after an initial “full scale” run of the recipe, I tested with just one cake at a time. I’ve included notes in the recipe to scale this so you make just 2 lava cakes if you’d like. Perfect for Valentine’s Day!
I originally served it with some homemade whipped cream to balance the richness of the chocolate, but it would also be divine with ice cream. For new pictures, I topped with extra caramel sauce and we enjoyed it plain. I recommend testing this recipe, several times… for research purposes… or something. 😉
- Preheat the oven to 425 F, Spray 4 6 oz ramekins with nonstick spray, or butter and sprinkle with cocoa powder. Be liberal with the greasing - you don't want the cakes to stick!
- Melt the butter and chocolate together over a double boiler or in the microwave (50% power), stir until smooth and set aside.
- Mix the eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl.
- Slowly add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture, stirring constantly.
- Add the flour and mix until just incorporated.
- Divide the batter evenly between the 4 ramekins. Sprinkle the caramels with the fleur de sel (if they aren't already), and divide between the cakes. Press gently into the batter.
- Bake the cakes for 11-14 minutes until the edges are just set (mine were perfect at 12). They will look under-done in the middle when you take them out of the oven.
- Let sit 5 minutes. Place a dessert plate over each ramekin and carefully invert the plate and ramekin. Remove the ramekin and serve the cakes immediately. Garnish with cocoa powder, fruit, a drizzle of caramel, ice cream, or fresh whipped cream if desired.