ooey gooey molten lava cake

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Is there anything better than warm ooey gooey chocolatey desserts? Anything? At all? No? I didn’t think so. 

I used to crave warm gooey desserts all the time. Ask anyone I spent any time with at all – ooey gooey was something I said every few minutes, spontaneously, for no particular reason other than the fact that I wanted – or rather, needed – some warm gooey desserts at that very moment or else I would throw a huge tantrum and then no one would be happy. Suffice to say, there were many times those few months during which no one was happy. 

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The pure little cakes before being tortured with powdered sugar and whipped cream.

During one particularly violent tantrum in which all my stuffed animals had found themselves flung into various corners of my room (just kidding, that never actually happened… or, at least, no one has any evidence it did), I had an epiphany. If I wanted warm ooey gooey chocolate deliciousness so badly, why didn’t I just make some? I was kind of decent in the kitchen. I could read recipes and preheat the oven and buy groceries. What was stopping me?! 

Nothing. The answer was literally nothing. Later that same day, I pulled my very first batch of ooey gooey molten lava cakes out of the oven. And from then forward, I was a changed person.

True story. 

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Anyway, the moral of the story is that there is no valid excuse not to pull out your Kitchenaid (just kidding, any mixer or even a spoon will do) and make these right now. They’re fairly simple to make, and the best part is that you can make them in your regular old cupcake or muffin tin! That’s right, no need to buy fancy shmancy ramekins to get perfect little lava cakes. So assuming you know how to mix ingredients and use an oven, you’re all set!

What are you waiting for? Go!

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A handy little photo strip showing the batter, cooked cakes, inverting process, and the inverted cakes.

Some Notes:

  • I use a muffin tin out of convenience, but you could just as easily use ramekins or custard cups or any oven proof bowl.
  • The number of cakes this recipe makes will depend on your muffin tin – in the one I normally use, I get 6 cakes, but in another I have, the recipe will yield about 8 cakes.
  • Greasing and buttering the tins is very important and will ensure that your cakes don’t fall apart or get stuck when you try to serve them. A well greased muffin tin should produce cakes that will slide right out.
  • Pay very careful attention to the time while these are in the oven – take them out one minute too soon and all your cakes will fall apart when you try to invert them, but one minute too late and you won’t get the perfect gooey ganache center you’ve spent your entire life dreaming of. (Overcooked, however, they do make yummy little brownies.)
  • A mini muffin tin does not work well for these because they’re so small that by the time the outside of the cake is fully cooked, the inside basically is too.
  • Decoration possibilities are endless – my favorites are powdered sugar, a melted chocolate drizzle, vanilla ice cream, and fresh berries. If you don’t eat these with ice cream or whipped cream or a cold glass of milk, you are wrong and need to repent. (Unless you’re lactose intolerant, in which case it’s okay, I guess.)
  • One of my favorite things about these is that they’re freezer safe! You can make a batch, put the leftovers (if you have any… good luck) in the freezer, and just pop ’em in the microwave when you’re ready to eat them.
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Statistically, the average time it takes for the cakes to go from the muffin tin to looking like this is 38 seconds. (Also, 70% of statistics are made up on the spot.)

Ooey Gooey Molten Lava Cakes
(Adapted from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (half a stick), plus more for muffin tins
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate (or about 1 1/4 cups chopped chocolate)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • cocoa powder, for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously butter six* cups of a standard muffin tin. Dust with cocoa powder and tap out excess; set aside.
  2. Place the butter and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for one minute, or until the butter is melted (the chocolate won’t be). Mix the butter and chocolate until the chocolate melts. Add eggs and beat well. Beat in flour and salt until just combined. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups.
  3. Bake until the tops of the cakes are no longer liquidy, but still soft and slightly jiggly, about 7-8 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand five minutes.
  4. To serve, loosen the edges of the warm cakes gently with a thin knife or offset spatula. Place a baking sheet or serving plate on top of the muffin tin and, holding both, invert the two. Remove the muffin tin and decorate as desired.
Even Zaney the cockatiel wants some.

Even Zaney the cockatiel wants some.

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