Deep dish lava cake is a dramatic dessert with a light layer of brownie-like cake over a pool of molten chocolate “lava”. We’re talking serious yum.
A deep dish lava cake? Yes, it’s real!!! This ultimate version of the classic chocolate lava cake is incredibly rich and so much fun to dig into. It’s perfect recipe for treating your loved ones on Valentine’s Day, or just because. Trust me, there’s something about the contrasting textures of the crackly top, the brownie-like cake, and that warm gooey chocolate “lava” that is just heavenly.
ingredients for deep dish lava cake
There are very few ingredients in this recipe, so there’s not too much measuring to slow you down. I bet you might even have everything in your pantry or fridge ready to go!
- chocolate chips
- most of the time I prefer bar chocolate for baking, but this is an exception. I made this recipe 2 times, once with chopped chocolate and once with chips, and the chips version won hands down! The other ingredients that are in chocolate chips give this cake a better texture and a shinier top.
- butter, unsalted
- cocoa powder
- you want unsweetened cocoa powder, read those labels.
- I think a good gluten free baking mix would work here as well.
what is a deep dish lava cake?
Individual molten lava cakes are a staple of restaurant dessert menus and Valentines’ tables, but what exactly are they? A lava cake, also known as a chocolate molten cake or mi-cuit au chocolat, is a decadent dessert consisting of a cake with a liquid chocolate center. The key characteristic is the contrasting texture: a slightly firm cake exterior giving way to a molten, gooey chocolate center (the ‘lava’) when you cut into it. Lava cakes are believed to have been invented by French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten in the 1980s.
Our deep dish version is gloriously rich, messy, and fun to serve. It was made for a scoop of vanilla ice cream to melt into all that warm chocolatey goodness!
what makes lava cakes separate into layers?
A high amount of eggs in combination with very little flour in this recipe creates a liquid-like batter that, when baked briefly, results in a partially set cake upper layer with a gooey, molten center.
tips for getting that perfect molten lava flow
I think this recipe is actually quite easy, but if you’re intimidated by getting the texture and the timing right, here are my best tips for success:
- Plan ahead ~ you’ll want to serve this lava cake pretty much immediately after taking it out of the oven, so plan accordingly. It will take somewhere around 30-40 minutes to bake depending on the shape and size of your baking pan, and you’ll want to check on it once or twice during baking. You’re looking for a little bit of a wobble in the center of the cake, but the edges should be slightly puffed up and set. I didn’t find that opening the oven door to check it a couple times had any negative effect on the cake, so don’t worry about that.
- All that being said, I found that this cake actually held up pretty well as I was photographing it. The baking pan keeps the cake warm for a while, and the “lava” stayed molten for a quite a while as I was taking pictures, so don’t rush too much!
- Make sure you beat the eggs and sugar for the full 2-3 minutes on high while you’re making the batter, that gives the batter its texture.
- Use chocolate chips- not baking chocolate, it makes for a better texture.
- If you can, go for a lighter colored stoneware baking dish, and place it on top of a metal baking pan for baking. This helps insulate the bottom from getting too baked and keeps that nice lava layer on the bottom.
what to serve with deep dish lava cake
Though I would say this cake certainly doesn’t need any extra frills, there are a lot of toppings you can consider that will change up the flavors and the textures.
- vanilla ice cream creates a particularly good contrast with the warm, melty cake. If you want to get more creative, try cardamom or even chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.
- creme anglaise
- whipped cream – try flavoring it with a liqueur like Kahlua or Frangelico .
- fresh berries like raspberries or strawberries.
- a simple berry sauce.
why we love it!
Most of us have had the cute little individual lava cakes before, but this takes it to a whole other level! It’s not just a gimmick, either, this dessert reminds me a lot of one of my favorite recipes of all time, my flourless chocolate cake. It’s got a similar rich brownie-like texture, but just with the added “lava” factor! Try it, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!
Deep Dish Lava Cake
- I use a 1.6 quart oval dish. You can also use an 8×8 square baking pan.
for serving (optional)
- 1 tbsp powdered sugar
- fresh berries, I used raspberries
- vanilla ice cream
- Preheat oven to 350F. Butter your baking dish and place it on a metal baking sheet. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Melt the butter and chocolate chips. I do this by melting the butter in a small saucepan on the stovetop, then taking it off the heat and stirring in my chocolate chips. You can also melt the butter and chips together in a microwave safe container by microwaving for 10-15 second bursts and stirring in between until fully melted. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with an electric hand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together on high speed until the mixture is pale and thickened slightly (about 2-3 full minutes).
- Change the mixer speed to low and slowly add the melted chocolate mixture, mixing until just combined.
- Add the flour mixture and continue to mix until just barely combined, don't over mix. With a silicone spatula, scrape down the sides and make sure there are no streaks.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for about 30-40 minutes. The cake will rise slightly, the edges will be set but there should still be a little wobble in the center. Plan to check on it once or twice to get the timing right, mine took exactly 37 minutes. Note: if you use an 8×8 pan check your cake on the early side.
- Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with fresh berries and ice cream if desired.