Wonderfully chocolatey with warm molten centres, make a decadent ooey gooey chocolate dessert in just 20 minutes with this easy chocolate fondant recipe.
These molten chocolate cakes have undergone extensive testing and this recipe has all the information and helpful tips you need to achieve perfect chocolate fondant cake on your first try.
Homemade, yet hassle-free, chocolate lava cake is great for satisfying a spontaneous chocolate craving or whipping up a last-minute dessert for a special occaision.
Want more speedy and warm and chocolate desserts? You should try my Mini Warm Cookie Dough Puddings.
The post contains additional information and helpful tips to ensure the recipe turns out great the first time. Please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end if you are in a hurry!
5 reasons why you'll love this recipe
- Easy and speedy with just 20 minutes of cooking and prep time.
- Made with just 7 basic ingredients.
- Perfectly moist with gooey molten centers and a rich chocolate taste.
- Mini chocolate cakes. An ideal cosy dessert for two and perfect for a small dinner party.
- Customizable with plenty of ways to serve and adapt the recipe to suit your taste.
- Mix by hand. No electric beaters or standmixer required.
🛒 Key ingredients
- Chocolate: use 70% dark chocolate or half milk and half dark. I have tested both and struggled to decide which option I preferred. If you're more of a dark chocolate person go for all dark, if you prefer milk chocolate do half-and-half. I advise against using 100% milk. The fondant cakes will be too sweet.
- Sugar: I prefer brown to white because it brings a rich caramel taste as well as sweetness.
- Egg and egg yolks: To make the fondant cakes extra moist.
- Vanilla essence: This is optional but recommended.
- Cocoa powder: This isn't for the cake batter. Adding a dusting of cocoa powder to each mold ensures the fondant cake will easily come out of the mold once cooked.
Note that the recipe has not been tested with all the substitutions and variations below, so the results cannot be guaranteed.
- Brown sugar: You can use golden or white sugar instead.
- Cocoa powder: Line the molds with greaseproof/parchment paper or bake and serve the cakes in ramekins.
- Add a soft-centred chocolate: Simply push the soft-centered chocolate of choice into the batter before you bake the cake. For best results, choose a chocolate with a creamy center and relatively thin shell, so it melts into the fondant cake after 8 minutes in the oven.
- Peanut butter, Nutella or caramel sauce: Add two-thirds of the batter into each pudding mold or ramekin and add a dollop of peanut butter, Nutella or caramel sauce on top before adding the remaining batter.
- Raspberry: Add a spoonful of raspberry jam in the center of each cake before baking for a tangy twist.
- Mint chocolate fondant: Stir a couple of drops of mint essence into the batter.
- Chocolate orange: Add orange essence or orange zest to the batter.
- White chocolate fondant.
Step 1: Heat your oven to 220°C or 430°F. Grease the pudding molds, ramekins or muffin tray with butter. Then sieve cocoa powder over the greased moulds, ramekins or muffin tray until the bottom and sides are lightly covered.
Step 2: Melt the butter and chocolate using the microwave or on the stove.
- Microwave - I usually put it on high power and stir at 30-second intervals. It should take less than 2 minutes.
- Pyrex heatproof bowl and saucepan - fill a small saucepan with little water, place a Pyrex bowl containing the butter and chocolate in the pan and bring to boil. Reduce to a low heat and stir intermittently until the butter and chocolate are fully melted.
Step 3: Place the flour and sugar in a bowl and mix together. Beat the egg and egg yolk in another bowl.
Step 4: Add the egg mixture to the melted chocolate mixture and incorporate by hand or using an electric whisk. Then add the dry ingredients and continue to mix until you have a smooth and thick batter.
Step 5: Spoon the fondant batter into the prepared molds, ramekins or muffin tray. Place the molds/ramekins onto a baking tray and bake for approximately 8 minutes in the middle of the oven.
Recipe tip: Fondant cakes are done when the tops are firm. You can also place a flat knife down the sides of the cake to check them. If they are firm, they are done.
Step 6: Loosen the sides with a flat knife and place the cakes upside down onto a plate. They should easily come out. Serve immediately with cream, ice cream and/or fresh berries.
Fondant cakes can be served with cream, ice cream, custard or another sauce of your choice. A scoop of vanilla ice cream is the most popular option. Fresh berries are also good to have on the side.
Got a dinner or romantic dinner for two in mind? Here are some occasion-worthy main courses to complement these chocolatey molten desserts.
Tools & Equipment
- Molds, ramekins or muffin tin - you basically need small heatproof containers to cook each cake in. Pudding molds, ramekins or a muffin tin all work well. Note that the cooking time may vary depending on the type of tin you are using.
- Pyrex bowl - necessary if you are melting the chocolate and butter on the stove over a saucepan of boiling water. Other bowls will crack under the heat.
- Sieve - needed for dusting the molds with cocoa powder.
- Tongs - these are completely optional, but I find them very useful for turning over the red-hot and slippery pudding molds to serve the fondant cakes.
- Check on the cakes a little earlier than you need to if you are unsure of the cooking time. You can always pop them back into the oven if they are not ready, but there's nothing you can do to reverse the process once they're overdone.
- Grease your molds/ramekins/ muffin tray and dust the bottom and sides with cocoa powder. This ensures the cooked fondant cakes can easily be removed from the molds when they are done.
- Make them your own - Add two-thirds of the batter to the ramekins, pudding molds or muffin tray then add a soft-centred chocolate or dollop of sauce (like peanut butter, Nutella or caramel sauce) then spoon on the remaining batter.
The batter comes to a high temperature during the cooking process so is no-longer considered raw and is safe to eat.
Yes, you can make them ahead of time, but they are best served immediately once cooked. Prepare the batter, pour it into the molds, cover with plastic wrap, and then put it into the fridge until you are ready to cook the cakes in the oven. The cooking time might be a little longer if you are cooking them from cold.
Fondant cakes are best served immediately but you can store a cooked fondant cake in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheat it in the microwave.
Gently touch the top center with your finger. They should have a firm outer layer while still feeling soft and slightly jiggly in the center.
A chocolate fondant gets its name from the French term "fondre," meaning "to melt." When baked, the outer cake forms a firm shell while the center remains soft and gooey, resembling a fondant consistency. Chocolate fondant cakes, also known as chocolate lava cakes, are believed to have originated in the United States in the 1980s. The exact creator is disputed, but one popular theory is that chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten accidentally undercooked a chocolate cake, leading to the discovery of the delightful molten center, which later became a beloved dessert worldwide.
Chocolate Fondant Cakes Recipe
- 1 -2 tsp (1-2 tsp) cocoa powder for dusting the inside of the pudding moulds (Note 1)
- 65 g (¼ cup) unsalted butter + a little extra for greasing
- 85 g (6 oz) chocolate either dark or half milk and half dark depending on your preference (Note 2)
- 1 (1) egg
- 1 (1) egg yolk
- ¼ tsp (0.25 tsp) vanilla essence optional
- 30 g (¼ cup) brown sugar (Note 3)
- 15 g (2 tbsp) all-purpose / plain flour
- 1 pinch (1 pinch) sea or kosher salt
- sifted icing sugar for dusting
- Ice cream
- Fresh berries
- Heat the oven to 220°C or 430°F
- Grease the pudding molds and dust with cocoa powder (Note 4)
- Melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave or on the stove in a pyrex bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. (Note 5)
- Meanwhile, beat the eggs in one bowl and mix the sugar, flour and salt in another.
- When the butter and chocolate have melted add the vanilla essence.
- Mix in the eggs and incorporate the dry ingredients. Continue to mix until smooth. (Note 6)
- Spoon into the molds, ramekins or a muffin tray.
- Bake the cakes in the middle of the oven for approx. 8 minutes. (Note 7 & 8)
- Loosen the sides with a flat knife and turn upside down over a plate or bowl to remove them from the moulds. If you are using ramekins, you can skip this step. (Note 9)
- Serve with cream, ice cream and/or fresh fruit
- Cocoa powder: Line the molds with greaseproof/parchment paper instead or bake and serve the cakes in ramekins.
- Chocolate: I advise against using 100% milk. The fondant cakes will be too sweet.
- Brown sugar: I use brown to add a rich caramel taste as well as sweetness, but you can use golden or white sugar instead.
- Dusting: Do this over the sink to reduce mess.
- Melting the butter and chocolate on the stove: Fill a saucepan with a small amount of water, bring to boil, reduce to a simmer and place the pyrex bowl containing the chocolate and butter on top until they are fully melted, stirring regularly.
- Mixing: You can mix by hand or use an electric mixer. I normally mix by hand because it is very quick and not worth the additional washing up.
- Cooking time: May vary depending on the size of the container you are using. If in doubt check sooner to avoid over-cooking. The pudding molds I have tested the recipe in are 200ml or just over ¾ cup.
- Doneness: Gently touch the top center with your finger. They should have a firm outer layer while still feeling soft and slightly jiggly in the centre.
- Removing the cooked lava cakes from the pudding molds: If you find it hard to pick up the hot (and often slippery) pudding mold with oven gloves, you can use kitchen tongs for this step.