Skip to main content

Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Valentine Dessert to Make at Home

By America’s Test Kitchen

Fallen chocolate cake, also known as molten chocolate cake, is superlatively decadent, with its undercooked center that pours temptingly out of a mound of rich chocolate cake. We wanted to turn this restaurant-menu standard into a practical recipe for home cooks. Rather than beating the egg whites and yolks separately, we found that beating the eggs with sugar to a foam and then folding them into melted chocolate delivered cakes with the rich, moist texture we wanted. A mere 2 tablespoons of flour did an able job of holding the soufflé-like cakes together. Finally, we wanted to ensure that these decadent desserts would arrive at the table hot and still molten; happily, we found that we could prepare the batter ahead of time and refrigerate the filled ramekins until ready to bake. You can substitute bittersweet chocolate for the semisweet; the flavor will be slightly more intense. 

Fallen Chocolate Cakes


Eight 5- to 7-ounce ramekins

Unsweetened cocoa powder, for ramekins

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

4 large eggs plus 1 large yolk, room temperature

½ cup (3½ ounces) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon table salt

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Confectioners’ sugar

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease eight 5- to 7-ounce ramekins and dust with cocoa. Arrange ramekins on rimmed baking sheet. Microwave chocolate and butter in large bowl at 50 percent power, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth, 2 to 4 minutes; set aside.

2. Using stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip eggs, yolk, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt on

high speed until eggs are pale yellow and have nearly tripled in volume. (Egg foam will form ribbon that sits on top of mixture for 5 seconds when dribbled from whisk.) Scrape egg mixture over chocolate mixture, then sprinkle flour on top. Using rubber spatula, gently fold egg mixture and flour into chocolate until mixture is uniformly colored.

3. Divide batter evenly among prepared ramekins. (Unbaked cakes can be refrigerated for up to 8 hours. Return to room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.) Bake until cakes have puffed about ½ inch above rims of ramekins, have thin crust on top, and jiggle slightly at center when ramekins are shaken very gently, 12 to 13 minutes. Run thin knife around edges of ramekins to loosen cakes. Invert each ramekin onto plate and let sit until cakes release themselves from ramekins, about 1 minute. Lift off ramekins, dust with confectioners’ sugar, and serve.

Used, with permission, from Everything Chocolate: A Decadent Collection of Morning Pastries, Nostalgic Sweets, and Showstopping Desserts (America’s Test Kitchen, 2020),