These super rich and decadent French Chocolate Fondant Cakes for two are the perfect dessert for a date night or Valentine's Day. They are super easy to make with 5 ingredients only and will be ready in about 20 minutes!
Why we love this recipe
These small batch Chocolate Fondant Cakes are the most decadent dessert that is simply perfect for a date night, special occasion with a loved one or Valentine's Day. But to be honest, you do not need a special reason to make these cakes; I probably make it once a week at home because it is just too delicious!
They are the perfect dessert when you have an intense chocolate craving but don't want to bake a whole cake like this larger Chocolate Fondant Cake version.
This recipe is great because:
- The cakes are simply baked and served in ramequins / ramekin. No need to grease or prepare your dishes here!
- They are made by hands with a whisk. No hand mixer or stand mixer needed here.
- The batter does not require any chilling or resting and is served straight out of the oven.
- The molten chocolate lava cakes for two are made with 5 simple ingredients only and are ready to serve in 20 minutes.
What is a chocolate fondant cake?
These mini chocolate cakes "Fondants au Chocolat" are classic French desserts that you will find in every restaurants in France. They are often also called "moelleux au chocolat", "coeur coulant" or "coulant au chocolat" They are easily recognisable by their rich chocolate cake texture and gooey, melting chocolate centre. In English, they usually go by the name "Chocolate Lava Cakes" or "Molten Chocolate Cakes".
This French dessert was invented by chef Michel Bras. The original dessert was made by filling the centre of the chocolate cake with a frozen chocolate ganache that would melt in the oven. The ganache is here replaced by a large chunk of chocolate!
These chocolate cakes are made from 5 simple ingredients (scroll down to recipe card for all quantities):
- Dark Cooking Chocolate: I used a 70% Dark Chocolate for the most intense flavour. I highly recommend using a good quality chocolate that will give you the best taste. Make sure to use cooking chocolate and not eating chocolate / chocolate chips.
You will also need to large chunks of chocolate to place in the centre of the molten chocolate cakes.
- Unsalted Butter: straight out of the fridge, we are melting it anyway. You could actually use salted butter as well for a slightly different flavour.
- Brown Sugar: will work with Caster / White Sugar as well, but brown sugar brings a delicious caramelised touch to the dessert.
- Eggs: medium size, at room temperature. It is important for the eggs not to be cold or the melted butter will seize when you mix them together.
- Plain / All Purpose Flour: preferably sifted. I have not tried this recipe with a gluten free flour substitute.
This recipe makes two small cakes, but you could actually divide the recipe in half to make a one serve chocolate fondant cake!
- Espresso Powder: or instant coffee granules, added to the warm melted chocolate & butter.
- Sea Salt: a sprinkle over the chocolate fondant cakes just before serving!
How to make Chocolate Lava Cakes for two
This recipe is seriously easy. You will need two bowls - one heat proof - and a whisk.
- Preheat your oven on 180'C / 350'F.
- Photo 1: Finely chop the Dark Cooking Chocolate and place it in a heat proof bowl along with the Butter.
- Photo 2: Melt until smooth - either in 30 seconds increments in the microwave or over a double boiler. Set aside to cool down.
- Photo 3: in a separate bowl, whisk together the Eggs and Brown Sugar for about a minute.
- Photo 4: Pour in the melted Chocolate and Butter (make sure it isn't too hot anymore or you risk cooking the eggs). Whisk until combined.
- Photo 5: Add the sifted Flour.
- Photo 6: Whisk until just combined. You don't want to overmix the mixture here or you will get a denser, tougher lava cake.
- Photo 7: Pour the cake batter into two ramekins. No need to grease or flour them here since we are serving them in the ramekins (see FAQs section below if you want to serve them on a plate).
I used two ramekins that were about 8 cm (3 inch) wide. If you use a much smaller or larger ramekin, you will need to adjust the baking time.
- Photo 8: Place a large chunk of Dark Cooking Chocolate in the centre of each cake. Press it in and make sure it is covered by the batter.
- Bake the chocolate fondant cakes for 12 minutes.
Note that the baking time could vary depending on your oven and the size of your ramekins. Start checking your oven at around 10 minutes; you don't want to over-bake them!
- Take out of the oven, leave to cool down slightly for 5 minutes then serve straight away while still warm.
I personally place the hot ramekins on small plates since they will still be very hot when you serve them.
Both are individual French Chocolate Cakes that are served warm in ramekins- but their texture, flavour and techniques used are different. Fondants are dense and fudgy with a recognisable gooey centre. A soufflé is much lighter and airy because it is made with whipped egg whites that make the cake rise in the oven.
A good quality chocolate is essential for the best flavours here. I highly recommend using a 70% cocoa solids Chocolate that will give you an intense chocolate taste. You could use a less dark chocolate as well, but I do not recommend using milk or white chocolate as a substitute.
If you want to serve these chocolate lava cakes on a plate instead of in ramequins, you can bake them in small pastry rings that are greased then lined with baking paper and placed over a flat baking tray. You will need to be very careful when transferring the cakes over the plate before removing the rings as they are very delicate.
These chocolate fondant cakes are best served straight away.
Tips for Success
- Depending on the size of your ramequins, the baking time could vary. I have found that 12 minutes was the perfect baking time in my oven, but I recommend checking them at 10 minutes.
- To know that the molten chocolate cakes are ready: the edges should be baked but the centre should still be slightly jiggly. You will also notice a light colour difference between the edges and the centre.
- The dark chocolate chunk placed in the centre of each cake before baking could be replaced by milk or even white chocolate for a different flavour (or a sweeter dessert)!
- These date night mini chocolate cakes are so rich and decadent, they do not really need any extra topping. If you want an even fancier dessert, you could top them with ice cream, some pouring custard (Crème Anglaise) or a berry sauce like Strawberry Coulis or Raspberry Coulis.
Storing & Freezing
These cakes are best served straight away. Storing them in the fridge will make the cake drier and not as fudgy as the centre will harden again.
I do not recommend freezing these cakes.
More Chocolate Desserts
- Mini Chocolate Tarts
- Chocolate Brownie Bites
- French Chocolate Truffles
- Chocolate Cornflake Cakes
- Triple Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls
- Chocolate Loaf Cake
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Chocolate Fondant Cakes for Two
- 75 gr (2,5 oz) Dark Cooking Chocolate
- 50 gr (3 1/3 tablespoons) Unsalted Butter
- 2 Eggs - medium, at room temperature
- 25 gr (2 tablespoons) Brown Sugar
- 25 gr (3 tablespoons) Plain / All-Purpose Flour
- 2 chunks Dark Cooking Chocolate
I highly recommend using the measurements in grams & ml (instead of cups & spoons) for more accuracy and better results.
- Preheat your oven on 180'C / 350'F.
- Finely chop the Dark Cooking Chocolate and place it in a heat proof bowl along with the Butter. Melt until smooth, either in 30 seconds increments in the microwave or over a double boiler. Set aside to cool down.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the Eggs and Brown Sugar for about a minute. Mix in the Melted Chocolate and Butter (see note 1).
- Add the sifted Flour and whisk until just combined.
- Pour the cake batter into two ramekins, about 8 cm / 3 inch wide (see note 2).
- Press the chunk of Dark Cooking Chocolate in the centre of each cake, making sure it is covered by the batter.
- Bake the chocolate fondant cakes for 12 minutes (see note 3). Take out of the oven, leave to cool down slightly for 5 minutes then serve straight away while still warm.
- Make sure the melted chocolate & butter isn't too hot anymore or you risk cooking the eggs with the residual heat.
- If you use a much smaller or larger ramekin, you will need to adjust the baking time. Since we are serving the cakes in the ramekins, there is no need to grease or flour them. If you want to serve these cakes on a plate instead of in ramekins, you can bake them in small pastry rings that are lined with baking paper and placed over a flat baking tray. You will need to be very careful when transferring the cakes over the plate before removing the rings as they are very delicate.
- Note that the baking time could vary depending on your oven and the size of your ramekins. Start checking your oven at around 10 minutes; you don't want to over-bake them!