How to make French Moelleux au Chocolat, Dark Chocolate Lava Cakes, using only 5 basic ingredients. Quick and easy to prepare for that soft, gooey centre. Close your eyes and imagine you’re in Paris for dessert!
Moelleux au Chocolat in English
How many times have you seen dark chocolate lava cakes on dessert menus? In Paris, it’s one of the most popular desserts on menus, particularly in the winter months, referred to as moelleux au chocolat, with its soft fondant centre.
The Parisians have it down to a fine art. Call the French romantics but many restaurants entice you with moelleux au chocolat et son coeur coulant, meaning lava cakes with its runny heart. Just how can you resist that one?
Less poetic, I’ve seen them referred to as simply mi-cuit or half-cooked. It’s less sexy but at least you know you’ll be presented with dark chocolate oozing on the plate when you plunge that spoon into the middle!
French Moelleux au Chocolat Recipe – Dark Chocolate Lava Cakes
This recipe for French Moelleux au Chocolat, or dark chocolate lava cakes, has evolved over the years from a classic recipe I saw years ago in the French edition of Elle magazine. I’ve cut down the butter as much as I dare and much of the sugar so that the chocolate shines through. Seriously, though, why do people add so much unnecessary sugar in dessert recipes?
Please use only good quality dark chocolate for this – a minimum of 60% cacao. It’s also a handy recipe to have up your sleeve when guests arrive unexpectedly and you need that wow-factor dessert that’s whipped up in no time. Just prepare before dinner and pop them in the oven just before ready for dessert.
For a special festive touch, serve with a dollop of whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or some fresh raspberries or slices of mango. Lava cakes are also delicious served with homemade chestnut and vanilla ice cream, salted caramel sauce or wow your guests with a scoop of soft speculoos (Biscoff) ice cream from “Teatime in Paris!”
What’s the Difference Between Moelleux au Chocolat and Fondant au Chocolat?
French Moelleux au Chocolat, with its runny heart isn’t quite the same as the Fondant au Chocolat. They are both intense in chocolate – however, a Chocolate Fondant Cake is soft and fudgy and bakes for slightly longer. The shorter cooking time for the Moelleux makes the runny heart a lava cake.
How Do You Make Lava Cakes From Scratch?
Here’s my easy recipe for Dark Chocolate Lava Cakes (French Moelleux au Chocolat). Only 5 basic ingredients are needed: good quality dark chocolate, butter, eggs, sugar and flour. The addition of coffee powder is purely optional, but add this to bring out the intense chocolate flavours. However, if you prefer, use a good pinch of fleur de sel salt instead.
Dark Chocolate Lava Cakes
- 180 g (6oz) Dark, bittersweet chocolate (minimum 64% cocoa solids)
- 70 g (3oz) butter unsalted
- 1 tsp Instant espresso coffee powder (or good pinch fleur de sel salt)
- 4 organic eggs
- 60 g (2.5oz) soft brown sugar
- 40 g (1.5oz) plain (all-purpose) flour (or replace with gluten free flour)
- Preheat oven to 210°C/190°C fan/410°F
- Break the chocolate into a glass bowl and add the butter, chopped roughly into bits. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water (bain-marie), ensuring that the chocolate doesn't touch the water underneath. Add the coffee powder and stir gently with a spatula. As soon as it melts, take off the heat.
- Add the sugar, then gradually break the eggs into the mixture, stirring well after each addition. Mix in the flour and stir well.
- Pour the mixture into a non-stick x6 muffin or demi-sphere moulds (here I use silicone briochette moulds). If using standard muffin moulds, then first grease them with butter.
- Bake for no more than 8 minutes for that moist, gooey centre. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for a couple of minutes then turn them out onto serving plates.