An accidental success : Chocolate Lava Cupcakes

chocolate lava cupcakes

chocolate lava cupcakes

For the longest time I’ve wanted to try making chocolate “lava” cakes…rich and moist chocolate cake with a decadent chocolate sauce hiding in the middle that literally flows out as soon as you cut into it, what’s not to love?!?  The ingredient list is short, but don’t let that fool you.  I’ve often thought that some of the BEST tasting dishes and desserts are the ones with very few ingredients, it’s all in how you master and manipulate them.

I’m a bit embarrassed to say though, that for as much as I love to bake and make candy, I have never tried Chocolate Lava cakes because of one main reason….I don’t own any ramekins! But a couple weeks ago I was DETERMINED to try out a vegan version, as I really wanted to send them in the mail as part of a Valentine’s Day gift package to my daughter.  So my next best option….a muffin tin. Which coincidentally turned out to be a FANTASTIC way to make these little cakes, maybe even better then using ramekins, for 3 reasons:

  1. portion control – I was able to turn a recipe for 4 “cakes” into 10 satisfying cupcakes
  2. cupcakes are much easier to ship, their compact size makes them sturdier
  3. the crust!! Oh-my-goodness-the-crust on these were the highlight for me, let me explain…

I know what you’re thinking….cupcake crust? what?!?  And I have to interject here, while my daughter is vegan, I most certainly am NOT, so I test out recipes using non-vegan ingredients sometimes…like BUTTER. And let me clarify, I mean SALTED BUTTER.  I used a metal muffin tin with NO muffin papers, just simply melted some butter at the bottom of each muffin tin (GENIUS!) before I poured in the cake batter, and what comes out is this : a decadent cupcake with a thin outer layer that is crisp, buttery, slightly salty, and chocolatey….all that in one bite, sheer heaven!!

And what about the flowing chocolate “lava” center, how does that not become a hot mess in shipment?  Well I thought of that too and ended up making a chocolate center that becomes solid at room temp, but can also liquefy once heated up. Everyone in the family loved these and while the vegan version is tasty, you don’t get the same taste and texture in the crust by using a butter substitute, sorry. So if butter is on your “can eat” list, definitely use it!

And how to package these up?? Since these were made as a gift, I wanted to dress them up a little 🙂  So I individually packed them in these 3x3x3 kraft gift boxes (yes, they are food safe!), then used some washi tape and bakers twine to seal them up and secure them.  so pretty!  Or, if you prefer, the 1/2lb tin-tie bags would be great for packaging 2 at a time, and these cute lunch bags could hold a few at a time! These would also be perfect as teacher or co-worker gifts 🙂

Chocolate Lava Cupcakes – adapted from this recipe

cake batter:

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 cup self-rising flour (or 2 tsp baking powder + enough flour to fill 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk

“lava” center:

  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons milk

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Cut up the 2 TBLS of butter into 10 pieces, placing 1 piece into the bottom of each individual muffin cup of a METAL muffin tin.  Place the muffin tin into the oven for 1-2 minutes, or just until the butter is melted, then take it out and set aside.

3. Combine chocolate chips, 1 tablespoon of butter, and 2 tablespoons of milk in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave at 50% power in 30 second increments, stirring each time, until the mixture is completely melted and smooth. Set aside.

4. Combine flour, cocoa powder, and sugar in a medium mixing bowl and stir.  Add in 1 cup of milk and mix until just blended, it will be a little thick.

5. Divide the cake batter evenly into the 10 muffin cups, just spoon it right on top of the melted butter.

6. Using a small spoon, gently dollop the chocolate “lava” mixture right on top of the cake batter, in the center, creating a small “mound”. Make sure not to touch the sides of the muffin tin. The batter should be stiff enough where the “lava” sits on TOP of the cake batter, don’t worry, it will sink in while they bake. Distribute all of the “lava” evenly between the 10 muffin cups,

7. Bake at 425 degrees for 12-14 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing them from the muffin tin!  If you take them out too early the cake at the bottom may crack/break, causing the chocolate center to leak out.

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