Friday, April 30, 2010

Ghirardelli Lava Cakes - Disaster

Don't you just love Lava Cakes?

Ooey, gooey molten chocolate flowing from a warm bed of chocolate cake.

Sigh. Too bad my lava cakes didn't turn out that way. Here they are in all their disastrous glory.

I knew I was in trouble from the get-go. The first part of the recipe had you prepare a frozen ball of chocolate that would be inserted into the cake batter just before baking. The recipe said to melt chocolate and cream together, refrigerate it until firm, and finally roll the chocolate into six balls. Well my chocolate would never harden! (Did I accidentally use too much cream? Or not enough chocolate? ) I even put the chocolate into the freezer and still it wouldn't harden.

Finally I just gave up, mixed up the cake batter and spooned the still soft chocolate centers into the batter.

After the suggested baking time I pulled the pan out of the oven. They looked pretty good, and I had high hopes for success.

But after tipping the cakes out of the pan, this is what I found.


But what my lava cakes lacked in beauty they made up in taste. Yummy! I may have to try them again this weekend and figure out what I did wrong.

Here is the recipe if you want to give it a try.


  1. Hi,
    I LOVE, LOVE YOUR BLOG! This is great work!

    I'm a professional pastry chef and I test recipes just like you do. It's alot of work, but it's yielded me some amazing recipes.

    So if you don't mind I'd like to offer you some help with this item, as I've spent years trying to perfect my molton cake.

    Every recipe will give you a slightly different taste, duh........but the secret lays in how you bake them and in what you bake them.

    It's important to bake them in individual pans. I prefer ring molds. I cover the bottom with foil and spray my molds well with water free pan spray. Molton cakes are basicly underbaked cakes, so your looking to bake the exterior of the batter long enough to hold the still underbaker center with-out it breaking before you can get it on the plate. After experimenting I learn just how long to bake my cakes in any given oven, because it varies in every oven. I take my just barely set cakes out of the oven and give them about 5 (maybe up to 8) minutes to cool in the ring molds. Then I run my thin bladed knive around the edge of the ring to loosen the cake from sticking to the side of the mold. Being very careful not to punture my soft cake. I place my plate on top of the very warm cake, invert the two together. Peel off the foil which was the bottom of the cake, then lift off the ring mold. The cake should be perfect.

    Other tips: you can not move these while they are warm or the center will spill. As long as they are in the ring molds you can. If you want to bake these ahead of serving time you can chill them on each plate and warm each in the microwave oven for 40 (or less) seconds.

    Wendy DeBord

  2. Thanks for all the tips, Wendy. I'll have to give the lava cake another try soon. Again, thanks for your help!

  3. Hi,

    I work for the Food Network talk show The Kitchen. I came across your Lava Cake and think it would be a great addition to our segment we call #foodfails. This is a spot on the show where the hosts are shown a photo of a recipe gone wrong and they give tips on how to make it correctly.

    If you would like to help us out please email me at for more info!


    Josh King
    Production Assistant
    The Food Network