5-minute Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

I developed this recipe based on the popular “Microwave Chocolate Mug Cake” that makes the email rounds every year.  That recipe was actually developed by a Spanish molecular gastronomist (basically a creative food scientist/chef) and was considered a “high cuisine” dessert, to make and serve tableside at his $200-a-plate restaurant, to the amusement of his guests when they saw a microwave being wheeled out of the kitchen toward their table.  I personally found the recipe to be missing a little something, so I added some coffee to give it depth of flavor, changed the milk to buttermilk for additional flavor, lift, and tenderness, and added a molten chocolate center.

The great thing about this recipe is that it takes less than 5 minutes from start until you’re eating it, with practically no dirty dishes.  Don’t blame me if you get addicted!!!

In a large measuring cup or small bowl, combine:

4 Tablespoons all purpose flour
4 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon instant coffee
1 pinch baking soda
1 pinch salt

Stir these around with a fork until they are well mixed.  Then add:

3 Tablespoons canola oil
3 Tablespoons buttermilk
1 egg

Stir with your fork until most of the lumps are gone.  Distribute the batter into 2 glass tumbler cups (or any small, wide glass cup, ie not a juice glass) which have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Then take:

1 oz square of semisweet baking chocolate

Break it in half and place each nugget of chocolate gently on top of the cake batter in each cup.  It will begin to sink.

Place both glasses in the microwave and set the time for 2 minutes on full power.  Depending on your microwave’s power, it can take anywhere from 75 seconds to 2 minutes to cook.  Watch the glasses carefully, the batter will rise to, and possibly above, the rim.  My 1100 watt microwave bakes these cakes in 75 seconds.  My neighbor’s 900 watt microwave takes 95 seconds.  Try not to overcook the batter…you will probably not use the full 2 minutes unless you have a very small, low-powered microwave.  It is better to undercook this cake slightly than to overcook it.  After making these a few times, you’ll find that sweet spot number for your microwave.

Open the microwave door and let the cakes sit for 30 seconds to allow them to settle and the steam to rise.  Then turn them upside down onto saucers to unmold the cakes.  Cut into them and melty chocolate will ooze all over your plate!  Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, or just dust with some powdered sugar.

22 Responses to 5-minute Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

  1. Just tried it. I had to go longer than 2 minutes because my max output is 700 watts. It still oozed on the outside, but tasted great.

  2. What’s the name of the gastronomist who inspired this?

    • Sumy, lots of folks attribute it to Ferran Adria, chef of the famed El Bulli (ie, the best restaurant in history). But I’m not sure if he’s the first person to come up with it.

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