Weekend cooking – easy chocolate lava cake (video)

Who doesn’t love chocolate volcano cake (officially known as Moelleux au Chocolat)?

I often use the easiest chocolate cake recipe in the world, but for presentation and also a nice taste, this one below is excellent.

I’m not much of a flour cake person, and love a gooey chocolate.

moelleuxNOTE FROM JOHN: This has always been one of my favorite desserts. In France, of course, you can buy them in the grocery store in the fast dessert section (the section where we’d buy Jello pudding, they buy this).  I’ve seen other recipes that put a piece of hard chocolate in the center to help the gooeyness, this one doesn’t.  As Chris said, it’s an awfully easy recipe, and what a presentation.

The only trick is not cooking them too far – I’d probably google around and see if anyone has a better description for how to tell when the dessert is done – otherwise you’ll end up with chocolate cake, which is great, but not the gooey mess you want from this.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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  • hollywoodstein

    Just a thought.

  • hollywoodstein

    The Inn at Little Washington cookbook has a recipe for panna cotta with passion fruit. Or you can take yourself there for dinner on an off day as a treat. Or cheaper still, you can stop by after lunch ask to check out the rooms, take tea and order the panna cotta by the koi pond.
    Pretty area, wineries, picnicking, etc., but I’d call first to see if the have it. Also, depending on the time of year, presentation may differ from European versions.

  • Drew2u

    I am trying to see if I can attach a picture. Testing.

  • Guest

    This was my chocolate-chip blondie I made a while back!

  • Drew2u

    I fully expected the macaron craze to hit here in the Midwest but so far its been a dud.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    They sell box mixes of them over there, I brought some home – easy from the box ;)

  • RobNYNY1957

    Grocery stores are cultural museums.

  • RobNYNY1957

    I’ve been meaning to make a test batch of these and see if a cooking thermometer is the right way to gauge doneness.

  • sdguppy

    Yum! Taking my kids to Paris at Christmas, now I’ll know what to look for. Grocery stores in other countries always fascinate me, I can spend hours looking.

  • Drew2u

    Have you ever had a bicerin? It’s a nice take on a mocha coffee if you have the time! :)

  • Drew2u

    I’d love to try to make french macarons, but I think my culinary creativity would get the best of me. “Well recipes are just guidelines, anyways…”

  • Drew2u

    the results are definitely worth it! Just got to keep trying again, and again, and again…

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Yeah, was too thick – definitely wasn’t cake batter thick. But I used the initial proportions which used too much cocoa powder, so maybe that made a difference. It’s hard to tell when it pulls away since it’s a microwave, and in mine at least, it’s a squatter microwave so you can’t really see in the cup well. But I’ll try again.

  • Drew2u

    Too much oil. Try a little less. The consistency of the batter should be the same as cake batter. if it looks too thick, add in a little more milk. I, personally, like darker chocolate so I used a bit more cocoa powder in mine and a little less sugar, I think that’s where I tripped myself up. It’s amazing with vanilla ice cream!

    Yeah, keep an eye on the mug. you know it’s ready when it starts to pull away from the mug. If it already pulled all the way, it’s probably overdone. The best part is watching the batter rise in a dome due to the baking powder, lol

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Yep, not good yet – at 3 min it was seriously overcooked. mine is dry and tough now. May try again with the new proportions – also saw other recipes talking about 1 min or 130 cooking time, obviously depends on your microwave.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Too late – already made it! Haven’t eaten it yet, but it did seem a bit less sweet, but added choco chips to compensate. STay tuned.

  • Drew2u

    I think I misremembered the quantities. Equal parts Flour & sugar (4T each), then 2T Cocoa powder. 3T each of oil and milk, also.

    Careful not to add in too much oil or the cake will turn out really dry. Add in chocolate chips if you want and I think I did a variation of yogurt instead of milk to be more moist.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    How much cocoa powder do you use?

  • Drew2u

    It’s more like a flan than a creme brulee. Unlike a flan or a creme brulee, there’s no sauce or burnt sugar. When I was in Torino, I had it a couple of times and it’s really delicious! I can’t remember what those were like anymore (it’s been a few years since I was there), but when I tried making it at home, I usually flavored it with vanilla and orange peel.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    It’s close to flan.

  • Drew2u

    it should be!

    Otherwise it’s something like 4T Flour & Cocoa powder, 2T sugar, 1/4t baking powder, 3T oil & milk, 1 egg, 1t vanilla.
    prepare a coffee mug with oil and flour (like a cake pan), mix ingredients together (I usually just prepare and mix in the same cup, a large-sized wide-mouthed cup), then zap in the microwave for 5 minutes.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    And have always been curious about panna cotta, what exactly does it taste like? Sort of a custard? How does it compare to flan or creme brulee?

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    That’s intg, about the coffee mug – is that a recipe?

  • Drew2u

    I’m always a fan of chocolate cake in a coffee mug in the microwave, (or a chocolate-free blondie).

    For a cold dessert, I like panna cotta (and want to try making one with rumchata)

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