Extra Chocolaty Fondant

Chocolate fondants, or the more descriptive lava cakes, are certainly one of the more impressive and delicious deserts you can make. Contestants in cooking shows often stumble on them but this is not due to their difficulty, they are quite easy and quick to make. The only thing that can trip these up is figuring out the perfect time for them to spend in the oven. Bake them for too long and there won't be an oozy center, too short and they will simply collapse. Part of getting it right is knowing your oven, which is why it doesn't hurt to do a trial run to get them just right.

The main recipe is based on one of Felicity Cloake's recipe tests in the Guardian. Which is my favourite column there by the way. But adding a little espresso powder and a big pinch of salt enhance the chocolate flavour to dizzy heights. Serving them with lightly salted pistachios, double cream and blackberries gives the cakes the perfect foils. The nuts add crunch and another hint of salt while the acidity of the blackberries and the relative blandness of the unsweetened cream cut through the chocolate. This recipe makes 2 cakes but can easily be doubled or tripled.


  • 60 g sugar
  • 60 g dark chocolate
  • 60 g butter
  • 1 egg and an extra yoke
  • 1 tblsp flour
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 big pinch of salt
  • 1 stick of instant espresso
  • handful pistachios
  • handful blackberries
  • double cream
  • icing sugar

Step 1

Preheat your oven to 200 c. Melt the chocolate together with the butter au bain Marie. Make sure you use a chocolate you enjoy eating. It doesn't have to be Valrhona but it helps if it is a nice chocolate to begin with. Once the chocolate has melted take it off the heat and let it cool down for 5 minutes. 

Step 2

Cream the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy. At the end you can add the salt and the espresso powder. 

Step 3

First fold in the chocolate and once incorporated sieve the flour and fold that in as well. 

Step 4

Generously butter your ramekins and dust with cocoa powder. Then pour in the mix. The air in the eggs will make them rise slightly so don't overfill. 

Step 5

And now for the tricky part. Easiest solution is to simply serve them in the ramekins. The structural integrity needed to turn them out means less deliciously liquid middle. Cloak's 12 minutes is woefully insufficient in my oven if I want them out of the ramekins so I had to go with 14 and even that is cutting it close. You can partially go by sight. The top should be dry with no saucy bits showing but the cake should have a bit of a wobble when you give it a gentle shake. Let the cakes stand for a minute before you try to turn them out and a knife round the side won't hurt either. Once turned out dust with icing sugar and serve with shelled pistachios, blackberries and cream, eat immediately. 

The batter can be made in advance and refrigerated or even frozen, but be sure to add extra oven time if you do. Two extra minutes for cold and four for frozen.

PS.  I finally made a seperate twitter handle for this blog. You can find the link to your left. @cookingwithgifs

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