WORDLESS RECIPES #3 Valentine’s Day Edition – Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

by Irvin on February 13, 2012 · 53 comments

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Download a PDF of Eat the Love’s Wordless Recipe #3 Valentine’s Day Edition
Molten Chocolate Lava Cake (2.4 MB file)

Previous Eat the Love’s Wordless Recipes:#1 – How to Make Your Own Ice Cream “Magic” Chocolate Hard Shell
#2 – Halloween Edition – Haunted Honey Caramel Popcorn

 Recipe adapted from Savory Sweet Life who in turn, adapted it from Paula Deen’s Home Cooking.

Special thanks to Scharffen Berger, LorAnn Oils Inc, and Three Twins Ice Cream for providing samples free of charge for me to use. I was not reimbursed or compensated in anyway for this post, nor do I individually endorse any of the products used. Feel free to use whatever products you are comfortable with.

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{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

Ileana February 13, 2012 at 6:42 am

These look great!

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The Suzzzz February 13, 2012 at 7:10 am

Bravo! I love the Wordless Recipe posts and the cakes look wonderful.

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga February 13, 2012 at 7:29 am

Awesome step by step photos…the eggs, the spraying of the Pam, the flipping…great clicks.

Happy Valentine’s Day…this looks awesome!

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Marcy February 13, 2012 at 8:23 am

I love the Wordless Recipes! It makes the whole recipe seem a lot less complicated. My husband will be out of town for Valentine’s Day, I am really tempted to make these for myself!

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Veronica February 13, 2012 at 10:53 am

WOW! I am so impressed, I love your Wordless approach!! Very original, thanks for sharing!

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elizabeyta February 13, 2012 at 12:16 pm

I love your wordless recipes! I think it is partially due to the gadgets. I do believe I am covetting your timer now. It is the color (hang head in shame)

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Irvin February 13, 2012 at 1:24 pm

LOL. I’ll fully admit that I went and tracked down that specific timer for my wordless recipes. It’s awesome.

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elizabeyta February 13, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Hints where I can look for my own? I keep getting teased that the oven timer thinks it gets overworked because there are times it is VERY pitiful! (BEEP BEEP beep beep beep)

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Irvin February 13, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Sure. I got my locally, but Amazon has it for $13.

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Stormy @Maoomba February 13, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Beautiful and instructive! I’m wondering how I missed #1 and #2!

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merry jennifer February 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm

I *love* this recipe by photos alone! My favorite photo? The last one. xo

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Irvin February 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Thanks Merry! It’s probably my favorite too.

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Devaki @ weavethousandflavors February 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm

HI Irvin – This is just fab! And you’ve left me speechless – err, wordless! I attended your lecture at the Foodbuzz conference in San Fran and thought it was excellent and you’re very funny and a prolific presenter.

chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

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Irvin February 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Thanks Devaki! So glad you enjoyed my talk & this post.

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Beatrice February 13, 2012 at 1:12 pm

These look great!
I know it’s a wordless recipe but any way you could precise the butter quantity? With the pictures I’m not really sure and I wouldn’t want to ruin the recipe… Thanks :)

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Irvin February 13, 2012 at 1:27 pm

It’s 1 1/4 sticks of unsalted butter – or 10 tablespoons/140 g. But I will say this recipe is fairly forgiving, so if you didn’t get the precise amount of butter, not a big deal.

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Beatrice February 13, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Ok great thanks :)
another thing (sorry I forgot to ask in the first place) the only ramequins I have are fairly shallow (I normally use them for crème brulée) and someone told me it won’t work for lava cakes because the center will cook too fast, any suggestions?

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Irvin February 13, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Yeah, you don’t want a shallow ramekin, which are great for crème brulée’s as they create a good brulée to custard ratio, but not so good for cakes like this as the entire thing will cook too fast.

You can get cheap oven proof ramekins at stores like Marshall’s, TJ Maxx or Ross, and they also function as a great prep bowls. I like to use them for salt, fresh ground pepper, chopped herbs etc. when cooking – it makes me feel all “food network” when I do.

That said, if you don’t want to buy more kitchen equipment, you can try using a muffin tin. I’ve never done it myself, but in theory it should work. Since muffin tins are smaller (and the metal pan is thinner than ceramic ramekins) you’ll probably end up with 8 smaller cakes that cook faster. Make sure to adjust the bake time (check around 6 to 8 minutes, but it may take 10 minutes, depending on your oven).

The other thing to take into account is that you might want to take them out of the oven more underdone than usual, as you’ll have to wait for the pan to cool down and then lift each cake out with a thin butter knife to plate them. As the pan cools, the cake will continue to cook a bit. If you try this route, come back and tell me how they turn out!

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Deanna B February 13, 2012 at 2:20 pm

I love the wordless recipes! And since I will do unspeakable things for a molten chocolate cake, it works out perfectly.

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sippitysup February 13, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Oh. You made me a cake but you let someone else eat it! Happy V Day to you and your handsome yours. GREG

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Pat February 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm

I love this one so much! Happy Valentine’s Day to you two wonderful people!

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Jay @ LocalFood.me February 13, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Love this idea! What’s the toughest part of doing a wordless recipe?

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Irvin February 13, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Thanks Jay! There’s a lot of prep work that goes into the wordless recipes. I storyboard out every photo to make sure that I’m not missing any important steps that would confuse people.

Each photo has to be carefully composed to convey the information properly since there’s no text to accompany it. Probably setting up each shot is probably the most time consuming part of it all. Multiply the set up by 40+ different photos and you get a sense of how time consuming these posts are.

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Stacey February 13, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Your wordless recipes are fun to read. It’s quite amazing how you can convey directions simply through pictures.

PS Love the photo of the two of you. I have a soft spot for lovey dovey couples.

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Irvin February 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Thanks Stacey! I have to admit that my partner and I tend to get lovey dovey every now and then. Usually I don’t show it on this blog, but I felt Valentine’s day was a special occasion. ;)

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Debbie Henthorn February 14, 2012 at 12:47 am

Beautiful and just in time for a special dinner I’d like to make for the man tonight! Alas, I’m rather lame in some of my kitchen goodies (and this is obviously a great excuse to hit Bed, Bath & Beyond soon). I do have the large muffin tins. I caught your explanation above about under-baking them a bit because of trying to plate – do you think the large tin will work?

And – because I’ve never made a lava cake – will the center stay soft after they completely cool? I’m just trying to get my timing down for dinner.

Thanks, Irvin!

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Irvin February 14, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Hi Debbie.

I think the large muffin tins should work, but again, I haven’t made them with them. You might have to check at 6 minutes, 8 minutes, 10 minutes, etc to see where they are in the baking time. You want to make sure the sides of the cake are baked firm, but the inside is still soft, which can be a bit of a balancing act.

That said, ,the center should stay soft even as it cools (and you haven’t baked it too long), but it won’t be quite as runny as when it’s hot. You can microwave the cake for 20 to 30 seconds to warm it up and make it more runny. Or you can make the batter ahead of time, refrigerate it, and then bring it back to room temperature to bake right away. Since they only need 10 minutes or so in the oven, this might be another option (though you might have to let them cool a bit before you can get them out of the muffin tins.

If you make them, let me know how they turn out in the muffin tin!

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Debbie Henthorn February 15, 2012 at 4:34 am

Thank you, wise one!

I had to run to the store yesterday and found some 6-ounce custard cups. Pork chops, tomato soup and risotto wrecked my timing, and gin and full bellies left us with no room to make these last night. I love that you told me I could make the batter ahead – I can mix it up quick today, then bake them at dinner tonight.

I’m still going to try a couple in the muffin tins as an experiment – thanks again!

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thelittleloaf February 14, 2012 at 5:29 am

You can’t go wrong with molten chocolate lava cake on Valentine’s Day – could happily eat this right now!

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Kristen February 14, 2012 at 2:32 pm

You’ve just sealed the deal of what I’m making tonight. Love your pics – what a great idea for a post!

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Megan - Newly Wife February 14, 2012 at 2:38 pm

What a fabulous idea. I love the idea of a wordless recipe, and each picture is just splendid. Nice work!

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Beth (OMG! Yummy) February 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Hi Irvin! I love this and especially appreciate how much work it is to make it wordless. My two teens love molten lava cakes so I am going to forward this recipe on to them and see what they think. I just bought my daughter two baking books for her birthday and really searched to find ones with good explanations and PICTURES! So hard to learn how to do something you’ve never done if you can’t see what it looks like.

Having said that, I think one of the many things that blogs do the best is bringing more how-to photography into recipes – for people learning to cook something – it is just invaluable. Bravo!

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and AJ!

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Irvin February 14, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Thanks Beth! I need to do more “process” photos on my regular blog posts, but I’m usually too pressed for time to do them. But I agree. How-to photography is one of the things that makes blogs so great. Happy Valentine’s to you!

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Susie @ Return to Sunday Supper February 14, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Hi Irvin!

I love your concept of a wordless post and I love this recipe as well. I don’t have any Maker’s Mark on hand, should I substitute or just eliminate? I actually don’t have anything but beer and wine in house.

Wishing you a very Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Irvin February 14, 2012 at 4:43 pm

No problem! You can substitute dark rum as well, but if you don’t have anything other than beer or wine in the house, try using two tablespoons of fresh brewed coffee or two tablespoons of beer (especially if you have a dark dry stout beer like Guiness).

That said, you can certainly just leave it out completely! It makes the batter a bit thicker though, so you may need to adjust the cook time down to 10 minutes instead of 12. I would check the oven around 10 minutes to see if the sides and top have firmed up and if they still look undercooked, stick them back in for a couple more minutes. Just don’t over bake, because you want the inside to still be gooey!

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Karen from Globetrotter Diaries February 14, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Love this!! i know what I’m making tonight :)

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christina @ ovenadventures February 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm

spectacular incredible beautiful

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Beatrice February 15, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Hi again! Hope you had a great valentine’s day.

I ended up doing them in a muffin tin (my classes finished after the stores closed so I couldn’t go buy new ramequins) and the cakes themselves turned out fine (baked them for 7 minutes) but they were pretty hard to unmold… Most of them cracked at the bottom and one completely died ^.^’ but oh well they were very good, thanks for the recipe.

And by the way, I really like your blog :) made your cinnamon spice bun cookies around Christmas and they were amazing (sex in my mouth! haha your post about the black forest cookies made me laugh so hard).
If one day I make it across the continent (I live in Montreal) I’ll definitely come to one of your DIY dessert events :D

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Irvin February 17, 2012 at 12:22 am

Yes, I can imagine that the hardest part of making them in muffin tins is actually unmolding them! That’s what’s nice about having them in the ramekins. You can individually unmold each cake directly on to the plate. Especially since the cakes tend to be a bit more delicate with the “molten lava” on the inside.

but I’m glad they were still tasty! And yes, if you ever make it here to SF, let me know…the DIY desserts event is open to everyone!

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David February 15, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Lovely presentation. Why add the eggs so late in the recipe? Conventionally (Jacques Pepin loves that word) they could be mixed with the cooled chocolate/ butter.

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Irvin February 17, 2012 at 12:27 am

Good question! Of course you could add the eggs earlier, but since this is a wordless recipe, there’s not real way for me to show that you have to let the chocolate and butter cool down.

I could show a timer and have a picture of the melted chocolate just sitting there for “five minutes” or so to cool down, but it’s part of the limitations of the “wordless recipes” concept. Hot, just melted chocolate, looks pretty much the same as cooled down melted chocolate in a photograph. And I didn’t want people adding eggs to hot melted chocolate and cooking the eggs by the chocolate heat.

So I swapped the confectioners’ sugar/flour and egg order. Once you add the dry ingredients and mix them in, the mixture cools down enough to add the eggs. But feel free to do it the conventional way by letting the chocolate cool and adding the eggs. Either way should work fine.

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David February 17, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Yes yes yes…wordless recipe…makes sense now.

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giuseppina February 16, 2012 at 7:48 am

Genius !!! I ‘m Italian living in Provence and the most of my clients speaks English so…I wondered in which language to write my recipes ….amazing idea ….and amazing blog :)

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The Coupon Goddess February 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm

That is beautiful. I can’t believe you took the time to take all of those photos. I’m too lazy for that. Not to mention, my camera would be in even worse food encrusted shape than it already is. Beautiful post. Beautiful couple. :)

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Brian @ A Thought For Food February 19, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Holy moly! Chocolate and bourbon! Yes please!

Also, I have those same red ramekins. I gasped when I saw them. :-)

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Irvin February 20, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Ha! Physical proof that we have always meant to be friends…

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anneliesz February 20, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Brilliant. One of my biggest pet peeves is cheater Molten Chocolate Cake, where it’s obvious from taste and looks that the molten part of the chocolate cake was piped in separately. Look how easy this is! What a great subject for one of your wordless recipes. I will have to try this for our next celebration.

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Irvin February 20, 2012 at 12:18 pm

What!?! Never heard of just piping in the molten part. Totally lame. It’s not hard to make molten lava cake. Just bake at a high temp, so the outside cooks before the inside!

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Emmie February 28, 2012 at 2:10 am

Amazing as always!! And your graphic design is getting more and more beautiful each day. I greatly admire your skillz.

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Irvin February 28, 2012 at 2:42 am

Thank you. I greatly admire your excellent and always dictionary perfect spelling. ;)

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Kimberly at The Hungry Goddess February 1, 2013 at 10:17 pm

ooooey goooooey yummy! Thank you!

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Rita April 18, 2013 at 11:58 am

I am so doing this this week. YAYYYYY!! I’m always on a quest for molten lava cake–and I can have it in my own home?? That’s cr-azy.

The extra info in these comments is super helpful, too. I am totally subbing in rum . . . and I had the same question about exact butter qty (but figured I couldn’t go far wrong; hey–it’s butter!)

Cannot Wait!! Thanks!!!!

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Claudia September 25, 2013 at 5:43 am

Nothing sexier than a man that can bake!

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