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Lava Coffee Chocolate Cake

France is well known not only for its cuisine but also for its desserts and pastries. Lately, it seems one of the trendiest dessert in local restaurants is chocolate coulant - a small chocolate cake which has a liquid core that oozes when you cut it. I personally has never tasted a chocolate coulant before as chocolate isn't one of my favourite flavour (Pierre wouldn't believe it - how can a woman not like chocolate !). I was however very intrigued by the combination of a solid and liquid cake at the same time, and decided to try it.

Coulants au café

(taken from Le B.A-ba du Chocolat)

Preparation: 10 minutes
Baking: 8 minutes
Makes: 4

  • 200 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • 60 g sugar
  • 150 g butter (cubed)
  • 40 g flour (sieved)
  • 10 cl strong coffee
  • 4 eggs
  • a pinch of salt
  • Walnut oil
  • 4 ramekins
  1. Preheat oven at 220°C (425°F - gas mark 7)
  2. Break the dark chocolates into pieces and put them in a medium size bowl.
  3. Pour the strong coffee (boiling hot) onto the chocolate and let the chocolate melt.
  4. Add the cubed butter and the sugar to the chocolate mixture and mix it well with a whisk.
  5. Stir in the sieved flour. Then add in the eggs one by one making sure that the mixture is well mixed before stirring in the next egg.
  6. Add a pinch of salt and and whisk it one last time.
  7. Grease the individual ramekins with walnut oil and pour in the chocolate mixture.
  8. Bake it for 8 minutes.
  9. Let it cool on a raised wire rack before removing it from the mould.
Chocolate cake ingredientscoulants au café
The Verdict

Well, given how rich the ingredients are, it better be good! And in fact, it is absolutely delicious: it's a very strong chocolate flavour with a tint of coffee aroma. If you like very sweet pastries or have a problem with the bitterness of dark chocolate, this one isn't for your however. And if you are on a diet you should probably not have read this far. In fact it is so rich that we had one each for tea time and ended up skipping dinner entirely.


The trick to get these cakes right is proper timing. Bake them a few minutes too long (or too hot) and they'll be solid like brownie. Too short and you'll have some chocolate sauce. In fact one of my ramekins was very slightly different in size and it's texture was already different from the three others.

Coulants au café Chocolate coffee cake
#1, by Sylvia (07/16/2007)

It sounds like a modern chocolate cakes. That I like pretty much.
The coffe coffe chocolat is one of the best combinations for me.

#2, by lynn (07/16/2007)

Your pictures are lovely. I especially love the liquid chocolate peeking though the crust. It says, "Grab a spoon and eat me!".

#3, by Anh (07/16/2007)

This is wickedly delicious! I have to run to the kitchen and grab a spoon. Chocolate and coffee are match in heaven!

#4, by Cynthia (07/17/2007)

One does not have to be a chocoholic to appreciate this post and I do:-)

#5, by Kelly Mahoney (07/17/2007)

I could go for one right now!

#6, by tyree white (07/17/2007)

I have to tell you chocolate is not my favorate, but I recond it looks great.

#7, by eastmeetswestkitchen (07/17/2007)

Mmmmm! Delightful!

#8, by peabody (07/17/2007)

Truly evil...I love it! Not the best thing to look at before going to bed since I will be needing to make and eat one!

#9, by wokandspoon (07/17/2007)

I'm on a diet but I still had to read to the end!! They look sooo good and oozing with chocolate!

#10, by The Cooking Ninja (07/17/2007)

I'm really not a big chocolate fan but they are so so good and delicious. I started out just taking a spoonful or two from Pierre's portion, ended up eating one whole ramekin on my own. You really have to try this out.:-)

#11, by Katiez (07/17/2007)

All of you "not big chocolate fans" pass yours on over to me, please. Go have some fruit while I curl up in the corner and eat them all. They sound soooo good!

#12, by Peter (07/17/2007)

Looks like they turned out great and yes, gotta watch the time on these. Otherwise, it's a simple dessert that wows them all!

#13, by Anita (07/17/2007)

O My God! If there is heaven on earth...! What can be better than chocolate with coffee? Choclolate with coffee, and butter and eggs! This must be sinful...(sin and heaven for the same thing!)

#14, by steamy kitchen (07/17/2007)

only 18 minutes to chocolately perfection? I am SO bookmarking this.

#15, by Carolyn (07/17/2007)

Wow ~ that looks yummmo. Am a chocolate and coffee lover, so this sounds great! Not into mega-sweet, so I really appreciated your little "sweet alert"! I could always put a little less sugar . . . LOL. Thanks for sharing this! Also, thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed the photos too. Have a great day!:-)

#16, by valentina (07/17/2007)

Wow, i love the look of your coulant. You're right about the timing, too many or not enough baking would completely spoil the texture. Yours is a success I must say! Well done!

#17, by Judy (07/17/2007)

This looks delicious. Choc bakes are my daughter's favourite. The way I see it, even if it is overdone, it is still very edible.
Could you please tell me if walnut oil gives a strong walnut flavour?

#18, by Little Corner of Mine (07/17/2007)

Mmmm...I want to taste this!

#19, by Patricia Scarpin (07/17/2007)

It looks very rich and delicious - chocolate is always welcome!

#20, by Laura (07/17/2007)

I've seen these called Molten Chocolate cakes or Lava Cakes, because of how the chocolate looks like lava oozing up through the cracks.

Despite my being another one of those girls who likes her chocolate in small doses, not desserts, it looks absolutely divine:-)

#21, by Amanda (07/17/2007)

I make these sometimes but I try not to as I want to eat them all the time. I'm definitely a chocoholic!

#22, by Janet (07/17/2007)

Goodness those look irresistable. Just like little lava cakes! Great recipe!

#23, by Kevin (07/17/2007)

That looks absolutely amazing! I recently discovered that I really like dark chocolate and this looks like it would be a perfect use for some good dark chocolate.

#24, by tigerfish (07/17/2007)

I love love love chocolate lava cakes, so I will love this too. If you don't like chocolates, can always pass them to me.:-p

#25, by Margarita Valli (07/17/2007)

I just love this recipe. I know it as Lava Cake. My daughter makes it always when she needs a chocolate fix!!

#26, by Wandering Chopsticks (07/18/2007)

We call them molten chocolate cakes here. I buy them at the store for $2 for a pack of two from the frozen food aisle. Pop them in the microwave for about 45 seconds and it's done!:-)

#27, by Coffee (07/18/2007)

How can I not make this when it contains Coffee!

#28, by Bon Vivant (07/18/2007)

Interesting use of walnut oil; could you taste it in the cake once baked? I would imagine that it would taste quite good.

#29, by Nora (07/18/2007)

Molten choc cake is my favourite dessert for the last few years....can't resist it whenever I see it on the menu. After I made it myself and reaslised how much fat is in it, it temporarily stopped me from ordering it. Of course, that only lasted a short while and I was back to ordering it again. There are somethings that you just want to eat and enjoy without knowing what goes into it.:-)

#30, by Linda (07/18/2007)

Hi there, saw your comment at Daily Musings, and passed by -- this recipe is a dream! I will surprise my daughter with it sometime -- her favorite dessert! Looks scrumptious:-)

#31, by Passionate Eater (07/18/2007)

I agree with the commenter above that you pictures are amazing--especially the sunny yellow egg yolk against the chocolate backdrop! And I love that this recipe uses coffee and chocolate! My two favorites!

Also, thank you for your kind words regarding my move away from SF. I appreciate your encouragement.

#32, by Khunying (07/18/2007)

Wow! Look at that chocolate. My son would love this one. He loves chocolate. I don't know about using coffee for him; he is only 4 years old. For me, dark chocolate and coffee, my two favorites!

#33, by sher (07/18/2007)

That chocolate is almost overwhelming! You took such beautiful pictures, I can almost smell it! Sigh.

#34, by Stephane (07/18/2007)

Hummm that looks delicious, I definitely have to try this one

#35, by ming the merciless (07/18/2007)

Been in love with molten chocolate cake since I tried it almost 10 years ago in NYC. It's amazing!! And your photos are smashing.

#36, by IronEaters (07/18/2007)

The last pic jt makes me drool! with some crisp outside n chocolate sauce inside..yummy!

#37, by The Cooking Ninja (07/18/2007)

Now I know Coulants called Molten chocolate cake or lava cake in English.:-) Thanks

Pierre 'thank you' for the compliments on his photographs.:-)

@Carolyn: Like you, I don't like really sweet stuff. And this recipe is not mega sweet at all, so you don't have to reduce the sugar portion.

@Judy & Bon Vivant: To be honest, I didn't even notice any walnut flavour when eating it. I was so totally basked in the aroma of chocolate and coffee. It could be that I only lightly coat my ramekins with walnut oil.

@Kevin: I love eating my dark chocolate in between a baguette.:-)

@Wandering Chopsticks: Lucky you:-)

@Khunying: hehehe...he will be up all night if he eats one of this.;-)

#38, by Carol (07/18/2007)

Ninja, Your beautiful photo of the Molten chocolate babycake really does the dessert Justice. Now I'll just have to try to get it out of my head! Torture!!

#39, by Ani (07/20/2007)

I enjoy your page. You offer a variety of many yummy sounding and looking dishes. Is the above cake the popular moltan lava cakes that have been popping up the last few years?

#40, by The Cooking Ninja (07/21/2007)

@Ani: I think so. Coulants certainly have become very popular in French restaurants in the past years.

#41, by Susan (07/21/2007)

I have to be in the mood for chocolate, but when I am, a jolt of perfection keeps me happy. This would keep me happy.

#42, by Amy (07/22/2007)

I want to dive into that right now!

#43, by Lyrical Lemongrass (07/24/2007)

Wow. I can almost taste the chocolate. Looks wonderful! I have to try this recipe! (Just have to work out the measurement conversions. hehe)

#44, by aria (08/01/2007)

eeeeeeeeeeeek! those are my favorite but never have i dared to make one. what is 10 cl stand for? i think i need to make theis:-)

#45, by The Cooking Ninja (08/01/2007)

@lyrical lemongrass & aria: 10 cl = 100 ml

#46, by Iris Sergent (09/14/2007)

Yummy!!! I had them last Wednesday!!! They were delicious!!! Thanks Pam:-)

#47, by Memoria (01/26/2010)

Could one use semi-sweet chocolate? I have blocks of Callebaut in my kitchen just waiting to be used in such a dessert. YUM!

P.S. I love the antispam simple question haha.

#48, by The Cooking Ninja (01/27/2010)

@Memoria: Yes you can use semi-sweet chocolates but you would need to reduce the sugar quantity in the recipe unless you like very sweet lava chocolate. The sweetness of the above recipe is just right. Glad you love my simple antispam question.;-)

#49, by Chivsy (01/28/2010)

I am dying to try this and have a fan oven - do I keep it at the same temperature or lower it as fan ovens are supposed to cook quicker? I know this is an idiot question, but I don't want to muck up the recipe!!!

#50, by The Cooking Ninja (01/28/2010)

@Chivsy: It's not a silly question at all. I can understand your worries. Mine is a fan oven (convention oven).

#51, by Sweetcharity (01/28/2010)

These sound delicious... Curious though, what size of ramekins did you for this recipe?

#52, by The Cooking Ninja (01/28/2010)

@Sweetcharity: My ramekins are 9 cm in diameter (from the top, 5 cm in height. But if you use a smaller one, you probably don't need to bake it to 8 minutes. Try one ramekin out if you aren't sure how long you should bake and adjust the baking time. Hope this helps.

#53, by Nina (03/04/2010)

Came here after seeing ur link in my blog..this is awesome.Looks great:)

#54, by The Cooking Ninja (03/04/2010)

@Nina: Thanks for dropping by.:-) Yes all my friends and family loved it.:-)