Molten chocolate fondants or chocolate lava cakes are heavenly mini chocolate pots with a mouth-watering molten chocolate centre that oozes out when cut into.
These individual flourless cakes are great for when family or friends are visiting and you want a decadent dessert. Simple to throw together with basic ingredients, they consist of a chocolate cake batter with a chocolate ganache centre. Once baked the outside sets and the centre remains a divine and runny. The key to this recipe is the timing. Don’t panic if you don’t get it perfect the first time, you’ll be wanting to bake this recipe again and again.
This recipe makes four portions, it can be doubled for a family crowd. Try serving them dusted with a bit of extra cocoa powder or icing sugar and a scoop of your favourite ice cream. Alternatively you could try them with some whipped cream and fresh summer berries. And if you would like to try some flavour twists, look at my variation section for ideas.
If you decide to give these a try, let me know! Leave a comment and rate it – it’s really helpful to me and the other readers. And don’t forget to take a picture and tag me @thegourmetlarder and #thegourmetlarder on Instagram! I love seeing what you come up with. 🙂
- Ease: simple.
- Great for: special occasions like valentine’s day, Mother’s day or friends and family visiting.
- Taste: indulgent chocolate cake with heavenly chocolate gooey centre.
- Texture: soft light sponge with a silky smooth liquid chocolate centre.
WHAT LARDER INGREDIENTS WILL I NEED FOR THIS RECIPE?
For this chocolate fondants recipe all you need are these 7 ingredients:
Butter – adds structure and a rich butter flavour. I use salted butter for most of my baking as it intensifies the flavours, but feel free to use unsalted if you prefer.
Good quality chocolate – use a good quality as it is the hero of this recipe. I like to use a 74% dark chocolate for at least half of the quantity and the other half around 55% cocoa solids.
Medium eggs – add structure, whisking the eggs incorporates air, helping the fondants rise in the oven. Make sure they are at room temperature before you start.
Light brown sugar – gives structure and sweetness, plus it’s not as sweet as white sugar.
Vanilla extract or vanilla paste – adds flavour and enhances the other ingredient flavours.
Plain or all-purpose flour – for adding structure and lightness to the cake.
Dutch cocoa powder – I prefer to use a high-quality Dutch cocoa powder over natural cocoa powder. As I only use it to stop the fondants sticking in the ramekins you can use what ever you have available at home.
I highly recommend adding a good pinch of salt to your desserts. It would seem counter productive, but it’s not. Salt, helps balance out the sweetness and richness. It also elevates the other ingredients, bring out the best characteristics of any recipe. In a seemingly absurd or contradictory way, salt intensifies the mouths ability to taste sweetness. It is the sodium that sends signals to move glucose into the sweet taste receptor cells in our tongue. The result is that salt not only alerts our ‘salt sensitivity’, but also our ‘sweet sensitive’ taste buds.
WHAT VARIATIONS AND SUBSTITUTIONS CAN I MAKE?
Try some of these flavour twists.
Spices – add an exotic twist, by adding 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon or a 1/4 tsp of ground chilli or ground cardamom when adding the flour.
Nuts – provide textural interest, increasing the moreishness element. Try crushed roasted nuts, such as pistachios, hazelnuts or peanuts. (Salted nuts also works well.) You can add them to the whole batter when adding the melted chocolate or half fill the ramekins with some of the batter and then sprinkle a teaspoon into the centre, before topping off with more cake batter.
Espresso coffee – is a great compliment to chocolate. Add one teaspoon of instant coffee powder to the melted chocolate and butter mix before adding it to the egg mixture.
Alcohol – gives these fondants all sorts of flavour options, add a tipple of your favourite liquor – such as Baileys, rum or orange brandy to the melted chocolate.
Flavoured chocolate – try using good quality chocolate that has natural oils added to it, such as orange, raspberry or mint. Lindt have some great options.
Citrus fruit – for a zing, try adding the finely grated zest of 1 large orange.
Gluten free – replace the flour with half the quantity in cornflour (cornstarch) or use a 1:1 alternative gluten free flour.
Dairy free – use a dairy-free chocolate. I have not tried it but the best alternative to butter for cakes is oil, it does not give the same result in taste but tends to work best and give a lighter cake. I would use coconut oil.
Sugar free – use a sugar free chocolate, and use a substitute, such as coconut sugar, xylitol or erythritol. I wouldn’t recommend using sweeteners such as stevia as sugar builds structure in the baking of the fondant.
If you experiment I would love to know how you get on and share it with the other readers.
Serving: one fondant pot
Nutrition information can vary for a recipe based on factors such as precision of measurements, brands, ingredient freshness, or the source of nutrition data.
I strive to keep the information as accurate as possible but make no warranties regarding its accuracy.
I encourage you to make your own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.
STORAGE AND FREEZING
This fondant should be served straight away while it’s still hot, otherwise the centre cooks through and you lose the gooey centre. If you don’t use all the fondants straight away they have a nice brownie texture to them.
Freezing: The fondants can be frozen for up to a month prior to baking once the moulds have been filled. To bake from frozen, simply add an additional 5 mins to the baking time.
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Here is a list of some kitchen equipment that I use and recommend for this recipe.
Heat proof glass bowl
Small saucepan – 1 litre
When it comes to baking, I highly recommend using metric measurements and a digital scale, rather than cup measurements. You will find it much easier, less messy and you will get far better, consistent results weighing your ingredients. 🙂
READY TO MAKE YOUR CHOCOLATE FONDANTS ?
- 100 g butter (plus extra for greasing)
- 160 g good quality chocolate (chopped)
- 2 medium/US large eggs
- 2 medium/US large egg yolks
- 100 g soft brown sugar
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract or 1/4 tsp of vanilla paste
- 60 g plain or all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting)
- 1 pinch fine sea salt
- Add the chopped chocolate and butter to a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water, but not touching. Do not stir the mixture until it has melted. Remove from the heat, stir until smooth and then set aside to cool slightly. Alternatively, microwave for 30-second intervals.
- Brush the inside of 4 pudding moulds or ramekins with melted butter, place the moulds in the freezer for a couple of minutes then repeat brushing them with butter one more time to give them a good protection against sticking.Next, add half a spoonful of flour and cocoa powder to one of the moulds. Tip and turn the mould to coat the inside, holding it over the second mould to catch any excess. Repeat with the remaining three moulds.
- In a Pyrex jug or medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, salt, vanilla and sugar, for a couple of minutes, to incorporate lots of air and dissolve the sugar. The mixture should almost double in volume. I find it best to use an electric hand whisk.
- Sift the flour into the eggs and whisk to combine.
- Pour the melted chocolate in two stages into the egg mixture, whisking well to ensure no chocolate gets left on the bottom.
- Moulding: Fill your chosen moulds until ¾ full. Avoid over filling as the batter will rise as it bakes. Continue with the remaining moulds. Place the moulds into the fridge for 15 minutes while you preheat your oven to 200°C fan / 425°F / Gas 7.Alternatively: The fondants can now be frozen or chilled overnight until needed.
- Baking: Transfer the ramekins onto a baking tray and bake for 10-12 minutes. The thickness and material your moulds are made of will have an impact on how the fondants bake. Reduce the baking time by about a minute for metal moulds.Once baked, remove the fondants from the oven and set them aside for 1 minute.
- Prepare your serving plates with any fruits or garnish. Loosen the fondants by gently easing the tops away from the sides. Finally, invert onto the plates and serve immediately.
TOOLS YOU’LL NEED
- 4 ramekins or pudding moulds 8oz (10cm x 5.5cm) – see equipment recommendations
Notes & Tips
- Use high quality butter and chocolate for this recipe as it makes all the difference to the finished result.
- I like to use a large Pyrex jug to make the batter in from the start. It makes it easier to pour the batter into the ramekins, and there’s less cleaning and washing to do.
- Add the chocolate and butter mixture to the eggs in two lots, this will avoid all the chocolate getting stuck on the bottom of the bowl and it not getting entirely mixed in.
- Avoid over baking the fondants, they will still taste great but won’t have that gooey centre. Once baked, remove them from the oven and set them aside for 1 minute, then invert onto a dessert plate and serve immediately.
PLEASE LET ME KNOW HOW IT TURNED OUT FOR YOU!
If you tried these Chocolate Fondants or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how you got on in the comments below. I love hearing from you. Also, please leave a star rating whilst you’re there!
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