Spiced Caramel Chocolate Lava Cakes

6 lava cakes
40 min
These rich and decadent molten chocolate cakes are filled with a homemade spiced caramel sauce, infused with fennel seeds, cardamom pods, and black peppercorns. The resulting cake oozes thick, spiced caramel and molten chocolate fudge, a perfect chocolate treat. Made with pantry ingredients you probably already have on hand, the cakes are mixed up quickly. They get baked in muffin tins and the batter can be actually be chilled and baked off later if you want to make them ahead. You can even freeze and wrap baked cakes individually and heat them in the microwave, making these molten chocolate lava cakes a great dessert to have on hand.
Rich, decadent molten chocolate lava cakes filled with homemade caramel, spiced with cardamom, fennel, and black peppercorns.

Spiced Caramel Chocolate Lava Cakes

Recipe details

  • 6  lava cakes
  • Prep time: 20 Minutes Cook time: 20 Minutes Total time: 40 min

Ingredients

for the spiced caramel

  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds, roughly chopped
  • 8 whole cardamom pods
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt

for the lava cakes

  • 3 oz + 2 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 6 oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp cocoa powder, divided
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • spiced caramel, chilled, recipe included

Instructions

to make the spiced caramel

Place heavy cream, fennel seeds, cardamom pods, and black peppercorns in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and then immediately remove from heat. Cover and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain out the spices and set cream aside.
In a medium pot, stir together sugar, water, and lemon juice. Set over medium heat and cook without stirring until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture begins to take on a light brown color. At this point, you can gently stir the caramel. Continue to cook until the caramel reaches a deep amber color.
Remove the caramel from the heat and whisk in the reserved heavy cream. (The mixture will bubble up, this is okay, just keep stirring). When all the cream has been added, return it to the heat and cook for one more minute.
Remove from the heat again, stir in butter and a pinch of salt and then transfer to a clean bowl to cool.
Store caramel in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week.

to make the lava cakes

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Melt 2 tbsp of butter and divide between six muffin tins. Sprinkle 1 ½ tsp of the cocoa among the six muffin tins and use your fingers to mix the butter and cocoa powder and rub the mixture thoroughly up the sides of the tins to prevent sticking.
In a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt the chocolate. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add 3 oz of butter, sugar, and granulated sugar. Cream for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides as needed.
With the mixer on low speed, add eggs and egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract.
Add the flour, remaining 1 tsp of cocoa powder, and salt and mix on low speed until just combined. Stream in the melted chocolate and continue to mix for 1-2 minutes until homogenous. Remove the bowl from the mixer, scrape down the sides, and fold with a rubber spatula to ensure that the batter is evenly mixed.
Use a 2 ½ tbsp cookie scoop and place one scoop of batter in each of the prepared muffin tins. Place one teaspoon of cold caramel in the center of the batter, and then top each with another 2 ½ tbsp scoop of batter. Tap the pan gently once or twice to settle the batter.
Bake for 8-9 minutes and then let cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Invert and serve immediately with ice cream and more caramel sauce.
Leftover lava cakes can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and frozen. To reheat, remove from the plastic and microwave from frozen for 30-45 seconds, until warmed through.
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