This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Molten chocolate cake" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (November 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this message)
Molten chocolate cake
Alternative namesmi-cuit au chocolat, Lava cake, chocolate lava cake, molten chocolate lava cake, volcano cake
Place of originFrance
Main ingredientsButter, eggs, sugar, chocolate

Molten chocolate cake is a French dessert that consists of a chocolate cake with a liquid chocolate core. It is named for that molten center,[1] and it is also known as mi-cuit au chocolat, chocolat coulant ("flowing"),[2] chocolate lava cake, or simply lava cake.[3] It should not be confused with fondant au chocolat, a recipe that contains little flour, but much chocolate and butter, hence melting on the palate (but not on the plate).[4]


French chef Michel Bras said that he invented the cake in 1981, after two years of experimentation, with his original inspiration being a family group warming themselves up after a skiing trip by drinking hot chocolate.[5] French chef and chocolatier Jacques Torres confirms that such a dessert existed in France in the 1980s.[3]

French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, for his part, said that he invented the dish in New York City in 1987. He recalled pulling a chocolate sponge cake from the oven before it was done and finding that the center was still runny, but warm with both a good taste and texture.[3] He has been credited with popularizing the molten chocolate cake in the United States, where it became an almost de rigueur inclusion on high-end restaurant dessert menus in the 1990s.[3][6]

The two recipes are not at all similar, even though the resulting dish is. Bras's recipe is made in two parts: a frozen ganache core, covered by a rice starch dough, and baked in a mold. Vongerichten's recipe is simpler: a chocolate cake batter made from normal flour, baked briefly in a very hot oven. The flowing chocolate center is therefore arrived at differently in the two recipes, but Vongerichten's has proved more popular, being easier to reproduce.[2]


Chocolate lava cake smothered in chocolate sauce

Molten chocolate cakes characteristically contain five ingredients: butter, eggs, sugar, chocolate, and flour.[3] The butter and chocolate are melted together, while the eggs are either whisked with the sugar to form a thick paste, producing a denser pastry, or separated, with the white whipped into a meringue to provide more lift and a lighter result. A tablespoon of strong coffee is sometimes added to enhance the chocolate flavor. Vanilla extract, salt, and cinnamon are additionally recommended in some cases to add extra flavor.[7]

The cakes are typically baked in individual portions in ramekins, or brioche molds. However, there are a number of creative variations in chocolate lava cakes or molten chocolate cakes such as preparing the cakes in a coffee or tea mug. A variation of the cake can be prepared in a microwave oven.[8]

A scoop of ice cream, fresh fruit, a drizzling of fruit and/or chocolate sauce, and dustings of powdered sugar are typical enhancements. Mint leaves are sometimes used as a garnish.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ "Chocolate fondant". Archived from the original on 14 April 2019. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b Myhrvold, Nathan (2011). Modernist cuisine : the art and science of cooking. Chris Young, Maxime Bilet, Ryan Matthew Smith, Cooking Lab (1st ed.). Bellevue, Wash.: Cooking Lab. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-9827610-0-7. OCLC 711381030. Archived from the original on 2024-04-13. Retrieved 2022-09-21.
  3. ^ a b c d e Machlin, Sherri (23 August 2011). American Food by the Decades. ABC-CLIO. p. 226. ISBN 978-0-313-37699-3.
  4. ^ "Chocolate fondant". Archived from the original on 7 January 2019. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Molten chocolate - Bras Restaurant". Archived from the original on 15 September 2022. Retrieved 15 September 2022.
  6. ^ Josh Chetwynd (1 May 2012). How the Hot Dog Found Its Bun: Accidental Discoveries and Unexpected Inspirations That Shape What We Eat and Drink. Lyons Press. pp. 41–43. ISBN 978-0-7627-8529-2.
  7. ^ "Chef John's Chocolate Lava Cake". Archived from the original on 5 April 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  8. ^ "Chocolate Cake in a Mug". Food Network. Archived from the original on 30 April 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2018.