Chocolate Lava Cakes

This past weekend was so fantastic! We left for Utah on Thursday night and were back by late Monday night, so it was a whirlwind of a trip, but it was wonderful to be able to see so many friends and family and to see Shyla and Jason get married. The entire time we were there we were so busy that I forgot to take my camera with me every single day (um…fail!), but I’ll be sure to post pictures sometime later this month when I can steal a few from my mother-in-law. The wedding was so beautiful (and so was the bride!) that I wish I could post pictures right now, but I guess it will just have to wait.

Anyway, now that I’m back and Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, I wanted to post a yummy dessert recipe that is the perfect end to a romantic dinner at home. Brinton and I rarely go out for Valentine’s Day, but eating in doesn’t mean that dinner and dessert have to be boring or less special! Chocolate lava cakes look so fancy and complicated, but they are really so simple to make. Also, did I mention they are amazingly delicious? Because they are. Oh my goodness, yum!

Chocolate Lava Cake Header 2

Don’t these look fantastic?! Okay, let’s get to the recipe.

What You Need:
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup salted butter
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
cooking spray
4 ramekins, 6 to 8 oz each

The How To:
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
1. In a microwaveable bowl or double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate together. If using a microwave, melt the chocolate in only 30 second intervals, stirring after each time in order to make sure the chocolate isn’t burning and the mixture is nice and smooth.
2. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla until well blended.
3. Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and blend.
4. Add the flour and mix until well incorporated and there are no lumps.

Chocolate Lava Cakes Step by Step
5. Spray your ramekins with cooking spray (I used coconut oil spray) and divide the batter equally into four ramekins (they should be between 2/3 and 3/4 of the way full).
6. Put the ramekins in the oven for 10 minutes. Do not overcook! If necessary, watch the cakes in the oven for the last few minutes. If you overcook these, the insides will just be cake instead of yummy lava. It’s better to undercook them and have to pop them back in the oven for a minute or so than to overcook them and end up with regular old cakes. The center of the cakes should jiggle slightly when you take them out of the oven.

Chocolate Lava Cakes After Baking
7. Once out of the oven, allow the cakes to rest for just a few minutes. Gently run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the ramekin. Place a dish over the top, and flip it upside down. If you greased the ramekin enough, the cake should easily slip onto the plate.
8. Garnish with powdered sugar and serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Fresh fruit tastes yummy on top too!

Chocolate Lava Cake

These cakes really are fantastic. You can even prepare the batter ahead of time and store the ramekins in the fridge until ready to bake to make this a quick dessert!

Let me know if you make these yummy cakes and how they turn out for you! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Linking up with Linking up with Tuesday’s Table and Lou Lou Girls!

Nine Alternatives to Birthday Cake

My 26th birthday is this week, and it has gotten me thinking about how I want to celebrate! I always love the idea of cake, but I’m actually not that big of a fan of eating it. I do get a good cake craving every now and then, but in general it usually isn’t my first pick. I’ve also been trying to make healthier choices this year, so I thought it might be fun to brainstorm some birthday cake alternatives and share them with you all! Don’t get me wrong…not all of these choices are going to be healthier options…but some are!

Most of these pictures are from Pinterest or Instagram, and I’ll link to the website that they came from if they are not my own. I would have loved to make everything myself and take my own pictures but I didn’t have the time to do that (plus if I made and subsequently ate all of these things, it definitely wouldn’t be healthier than birthday cake!)

Fruit Pizza

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

via me, Maria Simply Smiling (recipe coming soon!)

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Angel Food Cake with Fruit and Fresh Whipped Cream

Pudding Cups

Mini Pies, Cheesecakes, or Crumbles

via me, Maria Simply Smiling (recipes here and here)

via me, Maria Simply Smiling (recipes here and here)

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Ice Cream in a Cookie Bowl

Cinnamon Rolls

via me, Maria Simply Smiling (recipe coming soon!)

via me, Maria Simply Smiling (recipe coming soon!)

I hope this gives you all a few new ideas for ways to celebrate your birthday other than with cake! Do you have anything to add to the list? I haven’t decided what I’m going to celebrate my birthday with yet, so let me know in the comments!

Linking up with Linking up with Tuesday’s Table and Lou Lou Girls!

Minion Cake

Today is my co-worker’s birthday. Happy Birthday Wilson! It has been a running joke at work for a while now that Wilson looks like one of the minions from Despicable Me (haha sorry friend!), so we decided to make him a minion cake to celebrate the occasion. It was my first time working with fondant, but I think the finished product came out pretty good for a newbie!

Minion Cake 1

Wilson minion collageInside of minion cakeI unfortunately had to leave work before they cut into the cake, and when I went into work yesterday morning this piece is all that was left! Sadly I don’t have a nice pretty picture of the cake freshly sliced, but at least everyone loved it enough that it didn’t last!

I usually bake my cakes from scratch, but for this one I ended up using a cake mix because I knew I wanted to spend the majority of my time working on the decorating. I chose a very basic milk chocolate cake to help balance out the super-sweet flavor of the fondant, and it did help quite a bit. I frosted and filled the cake with a white chocolate ganache (which was so delicious that I ate the leftovers with a spoon) and then I rolled out the fondant and decorated it.

To make the ganache I used 3 parts chocolate to 1 part heavy whipping cream. In this instance I got my scale out and used 900g of chocolate and 300g of heavy cream. This made more than enough for me to fill the cake and frost it, though if I hadn’t been covering it with fondant I’m guessing that it would have been just enough to get a nice thick, even layer around the whole cake.

To make the ganache, I brought the heavy cream up to a simmer until there were small bubbles around the edge, and then I poured that over my chocolate. I rotated the bowl back and forth a few times to make sure that all of the chocolate was covered, and then I let it sit on my counter for about a minute and a half to allow it to start to melt. I then mixed it with a spatula until it was nicely blended. I found that it was still slightly lumpy, so I heated it in my microwave for about 15 seconds on high, which was just long enough to smooth it out completely. I read on a few sites that you can leave it out at room temperature for several hours until it becomes peanut butter consistency, or you can even make it the day before. I didn’t have the luxury of time on my side, so after it cooled to room temperature I put it in the fridge, which helped it set to the right consistency in about an hour. I don’t really know if you are supposed to do that or not…but I did and it seemed to work just fine!

For tips on how to apply the ganache smoothly, I watched this YouTube video by Three Little Blackbirds. Their website is amazing and the cakes they make look beyond delicious. Though the video is super long, I found it to be very helpful.

I made the fondant from scratch following this recipe here from The Baking Beauties, and then followed these tips from Sugar Coated Chronicle to learn how to have a smooth application. I did add significantly more powdered sugar than they recommended when I was rolling it out, but it is so ridiculously humid here that I really didn’t have a choice or it would have just stuck to the counter. Plus, we don’t have air conditioning (seriously what’s up with that, Hawaii???) so between the heat and humidity it was quite sticky. Luckily it worked out well though. The internet really is an amazing place that I could have all of this help at my fingertips!

The cake ended up being delicious, and I am definitely looking forward to working on my cake decorating skills. I’d love to try to make a whole cake with just the chocolate ganache frosting. The fondant always looks nice, but I personally don’t really like to eat it. Granted, this recipe that I used was much better tasting than normal fondant, but I still don’t prefer it. I have three months before I need to make Evan’s first birthday cake…hopefully I learn a little more before then!

Linking up again for Delicious Dish Tuesday! I feel so special because Alesha from Full Time Mama picked my Zesty Chicken Mini-Tacos from last week’s link up as her featured recipe this week. Thanks, Alesha!

PS- None of these links nor the content of this post is sponsored in any way. I just wanted to share with you the websites that were helpful to me as I tried to figure out how to put this cake together!