Chocolate lava cakes (a.k.a. molten cakes or soufflé cakes) proved that fame can be damaging. The liquid-centered cakes, popularized by Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten in the late ‘80s, went viral for more than a decade until pastry chefs started to loathe them. But for chocolate-lovers, the dessert remains the apex, the acme, the epitome. If recipes could accept Hollywood stars, we’d give this one. Instead it will have to accept a permanent spot in our recipe box.
Special equipment: Parchment paper, used to line the ramekins for easy removal of the cooked cakes, can be purchased at most grocery stores.
Game plan: You can prepare the batter, place it in the ramekins, and refrigerate up to a day ahead. Let the ramekins sit at room temperature to take the chill off before baking. The batter can also be portioned into different-size ramekins, filled three-fourths full. The cooking times, however, will vary; just cook the cakes until the tops are no longer wet but still jiggle.
This dish was featured as part of our Valentine’s Day All-Star Recipes.