creamy & soft-centered chocolate cakescreamy & soft-centered chocolate cakescreamy & soft-centered chocolate cakescreamy & soft-centered chocolate cakescreamy & soft-centered chocolate cakescreamy & soft-centered chocolate cakescreamy & soft-centered chocolate cakescreamy & soft-centered chocolate cakescreamy & soft-centered chocolate cakescreamy & soft-centered chocolate cakescreamy & soft-centered chocolate cakescreamy & soft-centered chocolate cakescreamy & soft-centered chocolate cakescreamy & soft-centered chocolate cakescreamy & soft-centered chocolate cakes

Are they chocolate MI-CUIT (which means half-baked) cakes ? Chocolate LAVA or MOLTEN cakes (as we like to say in North America) ? Or GATEAUX AU COEUR COULANT (which means cakes with a runny & flowing center) ? Chocolate MOELLEUX  (which means soft & tender) cakes ? But they’re not really chocolate FONDANT (which means quite dense and melting in your mouth but not on your plates) cakes ! All of these characteristics and descriptions depend on the ingredients, the baking temperature, the amount of baking time and of course, whether you decide to serve them warm from the oven or at room temperature or even slightly chilled.

I simply (or perhaps not that simply) call them CREAMY & SOFT-CENTERED CHOCOLATE CAKES …

I was surprised at the number of these cakes that appeared on the web for Valentine’s day and I thought I’d give it a whirl by modifying an already relatively simple recipe to make it fool-proof and slightly less dense and heavy, but just as good (maybe even better).

My version, which is an attempted simplification, with absolutely no flour and equal volumes of each main ingredient, uses a somewhat different approach, making it crispy on the outside, airy and tender around the middle, and soft and gooey in the center, and remaining that way even days after sitting on the counter (and I mean uncovered too).

It uses an oven-heated icing sugar and room-temperature egg white meringue that is later slowly incorporated to the melted chocolate and butter and egg yolk mixture, resulting in an airier and fluffier mixture yet particularly moist without being too liquid in the middle and formless.

The equal volumes make it easy to scale up or scale down, which implies that for each egg used (approximately equivalent to ¼ cup) you’ll need ¼ cup each of chocolate, butter and icing sugar, with just a touch of salt and some extra cocoa powder.

Another trick is to prepare the fillings (which is entirely optional) as flatter and wider frozen disks instead of using a square of chocolate or soft caramel or a few teaspoons of fruit jam or lemon curd (which is my favorite). This works best (even at room temperature) if you decide not to serve the baked cakes hot or warm from the oven. The idea is to use a filling that is naturally softer at room temperature, to form them and to freeze the fillings in order to harden them and then to coat the frozen filling disks with cocoa powder before inserting them in the batter (so they don’t stick to your fingers nor sink to the bottom of the cake batter). This will guarantee a soft gooey center at whatever temperature you decide to serve them.


creamy & soft-centered chocolate cakes


8 x 75/80 grams each


cake batter :

  • 185 grams (¾ cup) melted chocolate (65%-70% cocoa)
  • 175 grams (¾ cup) melted butter
  • 100 grams (¾ cup) icing sugar
  • 175 grams (¾ cup or 3 large) eggs (separated into 115 grams (½ cup) whites & 60 grams (¼ cup) yolks)
  • 10 grams (1 ½ tbsp) cocoa powder
  • 1 gram (¼ tsp) fine sea salt

creamy fillings :

  • 8 x 10 grams (2 tsp each) frozen disks of chocolate ganache (½ melted dark chocolate + ½ chocolate spread or ½ melted white chocolate + ½ peanut butter or dulce di leche spread or fruit jam/curd) that you will freeze into disk shapes (or simply 8 x 10 grams each chocolate squares or soft caramel squares)

for preparing the baking molds :

  • 5 grams (1 tsp) melted butter
  • 10 grams (1 ½ tbsp) cocoa powder

finishing garnish : 

  • 15 grams (1 tbsp) rock sugar + 10 grams (1 tbsp) cocoa nibs (or 8 grams (1 tbsp) icing sugar + 7 grams (1 tbsp) cocoa powder)


creamy fillings : 

  • note : you can use chocolate squares or very soft caramel squares but it’s better to prepare something that is softer and less solid at room temperature and then to freeze it before assembling and baking …
  • to make the chocolate ganache or creamy filling disks, combine 1 tsp of melted chocolate (whether white, milk or dark chocolate) with 1 tsp of soft spreads like chocolate spread, peanut butter, dulce di leche spread or fruit jams/curds for each disk
  • drop 2 tsp each of the mixture (for each disk) onto a sheet of baking paper on a rigid baking sheet (I used a silicon mold so each disk measures 25 mm wide x 5 mm thick) and tap to form flatter and wider disks and freeze for several hours or overnight
  • when frozen, sprinkle with some cocoa powder (so they don’t stick and so they don’t sink in the cake batter) and insert them into the batter, half-way through, before fully assembling and baking

cake batter :

  • brush the molds with the melted butter and sprinkle and coat bottom and sides very well with the cocoa powder
  • separate the eggs into yolks and whites
  • preheat oven to 200°C
  • beat the egg whites with 1 pinch of salt and 2 drops of white vinegar until frothy and stiff
  • place the icing sugar on a piece of baking paper on a baking sheet and bake for 90-120 seconds (until hot to the touch but before starting to melt at the edges)
  • slowly add the hot icing sugar to the beaten egg whites and whip until glossy 
  • melt the chocolate with the butter and the ¼ tsp salt until smooth
  • add ¼ cup of the whipped egg-sugar meringue to the egg yolks and mix together, then add this mixture to the melted chocolate-butter mixture and mix well
  • add all the remaining beaten egg white-sugar meringue and the cocoa powder to the melted chocolate-butter mixture and gently incorporate by hand until smooth
  • pour or spoon the mixture into the 8 cavities of the baking molds up to ¾ full (I used a silicone mold with 8 cavities measuring 6 cm wide x 4 cm high but you can use a cupcake mold or individual ceramic ramekins)
  • note : if you add a creamy filling, pour half or two-thirds of the batter first, then add the frozen disks (or if you didn’t make any) then add 1 square of frozen white or milk chocolate or 1 frozen soft caramel square or 2 tsp of frozen jam or curd, then pour the rest of the batter on top 
  • refrigerate the batter in the baking molds for at least 30-45 minutes before baking 
  • preheat the oven to 200°C
  • bake the cold batter for 15-17 minutes (or just before the first cracks appear on the top), then remove from the oven and let cool 15 minutes before unmolding (by flipping out upside down, then turning them upright again)
  • sprinkle with some cocoa nibs and rock sugar (or icing sugar and cocoa powder) and serve immediately (for a very warm and very gooey cake) or let cool completely and serve at room temperature (for a less warm but still soft in the center cake).