molten lava cakes


I am not generally very good about making decisions.  Big ones or small ones, they all tend to baffle me.  If it’s a big decision, the implications can be so large that I constantly wonder if I chose the right thing (hence, buying a house, even though we found the perfect one, was so incredibly stressful).  If it’s a small one, the implications are so small that I can’t seem to decide which is more important because either option can hardly hold an argument.

I had to make a big decision last week, and it was a hard one to make.  I mean, it was easy in one way because as soon as I made it I felt an instant wave of relief.  But it is also difficult, because the implications can be a little frightening.

I decided to quit my job last week.  I know, I know.  I had hardly just begun it, and technically I did not even get through all of my training.  But it seemed that every day I went, I learned something else that made me feel it was not the right place for me.  On paper it was the perfect job for me, exactly the kind of thing I have always said I wanted to do.  But something did not feel right, and even though the decision was difficult, I think I did the right thing.

So let’s move on to a bit of chocolate comfort as I am still reeling a bit from this sudden change in plans.

These little cakes are a classic in Gerrit’s family.  They are so easy to make, require a minuscule amount of prep time and hardly any baking time.  When Gerrit and I were dating and I would go to his family’s house for dinner (or really even now), they were the kind of thing his mother would make at the last minute.  Just at the point when I thought we wouldn’t have dessert, she would say, “I think I have the stuff to make molten lava cakes,” and everyone’s eyes would start to shine.

They are a bit temperamental, and to be honest with you I don’t yet feel like I’ve ever made a perfect batch.  (In the case of this batch, I overcooked them a bit.)  You have to take them out of the oven well before they seem done, and then, even if they are perfect, it can be a bit disastrous to take them out of the pan.  But no matter what, the flavor will be there, whether they are a mess of runny chocolate or over-baked and seem more like a miniature traditional cake.  Either way you won’t regret it.  Making these, as supposed to so many other things in life, is not a hard decision to make.

Molten Lava Cakes

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 11 minutes

Makes about 8

4 (1 oz.) semisweet baking squares
1/2 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ice cream and/or whipped topping, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, melt chocolate and butter together in microwave by heating for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.
3. Add powdered sugar to chocolate, stirring until blended.  Then stir in eggs and egg yolks, then the flour, and finally the vanilla.
4. Pour batter into the cups of a lightly greased muffin tin, filling each one about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way full.
5. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes.  They should look under-done.
6. Let them stand for 1 minute, and then serve hot with ice cream or whipped topping (or completely by themselves).

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7 Replies to “molten lava cakes”

  1. So brave to quit your job but if it doesn’t feel right then it’s not right. Well done you! Best of luck for whatever the future holds

  2. Life can be strange can’t it? It sounds like quitting your job was a really hard decision but sometimes you just know something is wrong for you and it’s much better to get out before you’re too invested. Cake sounds like a perfect solution when life’s not quite turning out how you expect. Molten lava cakes are so hard to get right but yours like delicious, despite what you say!

  3. Ahh I am exactly like you. Shamelessly instead of me making decision I often wait until others will make them for me (you’re going to this college… you should work here…) Good for you to actually making a decision for yourself, I’m so glad you feel relieved after quitting. That can be such a hard thing to get the guts to do!

    And these cakes look great. We have a similar recipe in my family that my mom makes every once in awhile. Even if they don’t turn out “perfect” it’s pretty hard to not make them taste delicious…!

  4. I LOVE molten middled chocolate cakes and yours look perfect. It takes a little practise to get the gooiness just right but when you do…bliss! Congratulations on quitting your job – it may feel weird now but I’m sure you did it for all the right reasons and exciting opportunities will come along very soon :-)

  5. Congrats on making a tough decision…sounds like it was probably the right one.

    I love this dessert but have never made them myself….I love those little baking squares and I bet they give this the perfect chocolate flavor.

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