One dessert that’s always elicited fear in my soul when it comes to baking has to be lava cake. Watch any food competition show on TV and you’ll see what I mean. Someone always attempts lava cake (usually amateur bakers or home cooks), and as they’re about to flip their cake onto a plate, your heart stops for a second. Will it hold its shape? Will it plop onto the plate into goops of raw chocolate cake? Then, there’s the chance it does hold and it looks beautiful.
BUT THEN, you’re still not in the clear! Once the spoon goes in, you expect there to be a gush of molten chocolate oozing out. If you don’t get that, well, you don’t have a lava cake. Every single part of the process is so stressful to me! So of course, I had to attempt to make one 😉 Not to mention, when I first put out the Baking Suggestions Jar, lava cake was one of the first ones in there! It was all meant to be. Of course, I had to add a twist and decided what better way to ring in the changing seasons than spiced lava cake?
Lava cake on its own is delicious. Just pure chocolate, some ice cream, and maybe a bit of fruit. But I always have to change things, don’t I? I wanted to keep the integrity of a traditional lava cake, but with a fun twist. To make a warm, comfy, exciting alteration, I added some cayenne pepper, sea salt, and cinnamon to my recipe. It’s literally like Mexican hot chocolate in lava cake form….Yum! I was inspired by the warm chocolate dipping sauce in my homemade churros — spicy chocolate is just too good.
Anyways, before I got too excited about my flavor idea, I had to study up on the science of lava cake. I did my research, like usual, and found very mixed methods and results. Some recipes said to freeze melted chocolate and put it in the middle of your cake before baking to create the “lava.” Others showed a generic recipe that yielded cakes without the ooze. None of these made sense to me, so I resorted to using good ol’ trial and error. And there were definitely errors.
On my first try, I baked the cakes at a high temperature for a short amount of time. These ones basically caved in on themselves, even though there was a solid amount of cooked-through cake. Next, they were horribly underbaked. I increased the temperature and shortened the cook time, and that was just way off. The third ones came out perfectly! I increased the cook time and the cakes survived “the flip” onto the plate. But I made the mistake of putting my toppings on before the photos, because these guys can’t hold much weight — I ended up with some smushed lava cakes!
Finally, I knew what needed to be done. Keep the temps high, an average baking time, and show the lava effect before putting anything else on the plate. My fourth attempt came out just the way I wanted — I’m so happy with them and very proud I was able to pull it off. Even though I initially believed lava cakes to be scary and too complicated to make, the actual recipe is pretty simple — plus, I did all the testing for you 🙂
If you’re looking for an indulgent, chocolatey treat with some fall flair, this one’s for you. It’ll definitely impress people when you say you made lava cakes on a Tuesday night, too. To me, it’s never a bad time for some spiced chocolate!
Vegan Spiced Lava Cake Recipe
Vegan Spiced Lava Cake
- cocoa powder for dusting
- ½ cup vegan butter
- 6 oz dark chocolate
- 3 flax eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup flour
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- coconut milk ice cream
- Preheat the oven to 425º F
- Take 4 ramekins (4-inch) and grease them with cooking spray or butter. Sprinkle cocoa powder inside and shake out the excess. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and set aside
- Melt the butter with the dark chocolate, either in the microwave in 30-second intervals, or with a bain-marie. Let cool for 5-10 minutes
- While the chocolate is cooling, make the flax eggs and set aside
- Once the chocolate is mostly cooled, whisk the flax eggs and brown sugar into it. Add vanilla
- Sieve the flour into the mixture. Add salt, cinnamon, and cayenne. Gently fold the mixture until all of the flour is just mixed in — you don't want to overmix or the cake will collapse
- Gently put into the oven for 18-20 minutes. The tops should look bubbly and not completely set in the middle. Let them cool for 1-2 minutes
- Place a plate upside down over the top of each ramekin. With a towel or oven mitt, carefully flip the ramekin and plate. Slowly lift the ramekin — the cake should come out smoothly
- Top with ice cream and strawberries (optional), and serve immediately. Enjoy!
- Play around with the spice level here — if you really like spice, add more cayenne, just don’t go overboard to the point where it’s a savory dish!
- You don’t have to put any toppings if you don’t want! For presentation purposes, even just a sprinkling of powdered sugar over the tops would be lovely
- Don’t be discouraged if yours doesn’t come out the first time! There might be an easy fix: put them in the oven a little bit longer, let them cool a bit more, etc. It’s really worth trying them out until you get it right