Friday, February 4, 2011

Chocolate Lava Cakes And A TV Makeover

February 2011 040 I know, it’s not fair posting this sinfully decadent chocolate dessert first thing in the morning.  But hey, oatmeal can only take you so far. I’m not suggesting you make this for breakfast, but it does have eggs, after all – standard breakfast fare right?  And as far as I’m concerned, chocolate - dark chocolate in particular - should be declared one of the basic food groups – you know all those antioxidants and such.

Aside from the intense chocolate flavor, another great thing about this dessert is its ease of preparation. Fifteen minutes of work and you’ve got dessert that would impress any guest and wow any suitor (Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.) Plus you can make it up to three days ahead of time and keep it in the fridge before baking. Just for kicks, I thought I’d try freezing it unbaked to see how that might work out too. Guess what? It worked like a charm. Just make sure you prepare it in pyrex containers that are freezer and oven-proof (or throw-away aluminum containers) and you’re good to go.

February 2011 030 From whence does this fabulous recipe come, you ask? That’s where the fun part begins. The recipe is from a cookbook called “Alice’s Tea Cup,” named after  the eponymous cafe in New York City.

9780061964923_259_general I had tea and cake at this charming shop in New York City (one of four locations in the city) with my daughter and Genevieve Gorder, host of the HGTV decorating show “Dear Genevieve.”  It was in this tea shop where Genevieve was discussing possible ideas for the makeover of my daughter’s living room in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Yes, it’s true, true, true. Those are real people whose rooms get redone on that show!

Oct-Nov. 2010 289 My daughter simply sent an email to the show and they liked her letter well enough to follow up with interviews and then transform her living room from so-so to sensational. The show airs this Saturday at 9 p.m. EST on HGTV, so be sure to tune in and watch the metamorphosis. There are repeats too, and you can read more about it here. During the show, you’ll see scenes at Alice’s Tea Cup with Genevieve (in the center) my daughter (on the right) and yours truly, as well as shots of the living room before and our honest-to-goodness surprise reaction after the reveal.

I’ll give you a sneak preview. Here’s what her living room looked before. Not awful, but bland – no pizzazz. And if you know my daughter, you know she definitely has pizzazz.

Christina's living room before And ta-da ……………. here’s the “after.”  Pretty snazzy right? Can you believe it’s the same space?

December 2010 054 OK, so tune in Saturday night if you can, to see how the whole process evolved. In the meantime, here’s the low-down on making these chocolate lava cakes (they’re actually called “warm soft chocolate cakes” in the cookbook.)

When you bake them immediately after preparation, give them only 11 minutes in the oven and you’ll get that waterfall of chocolate oozing from the first photo. It’s really like eating warm chocolate pudding with only a little bit of cake holding it together. If you fill the baking cups and refrigerate them (for up to 3 days), then you need to bake the chilled cups for 13 minutes.

But if you freeze them first, then put them in the oven frozen, they will take longer.  Here’s what one looked like when I pulled it from the oven after 19 minutes. That little dip in the center had me worried.

February 2011 056 But when I flipped it over, it held firm and didn’t cave in.

February 2011 058 But it needed something else – maybe some powdered sugar.

February 2011 059 Oh yes, that’s better. This is the frozen one after baking for 19 minutes. It’s still oozing, but I think next time I’ll give it only 17 minutes, so it can be closer in “oozement” to the one that is baked unfrozen for only 11 minutes. (Actually I think I’d bake the unfrozen one for 12 minutes because maybe there was a little too much “lava” and not enough cake.) Have I totally confused you here?

The confectioner’s sugar was nice, but there was still something missing. Maybe a little whipped cream?

February 2011 061

Now you’re talkin’!

February 2011 064

Oh no, it’s melting, it’s melting!!!!!!!!!!!

February 2011 076

That’s easy enough to fix – just keep the whipped cream nearby and add another dollop. Dig in!

February 2011 077

A big, big thanks to gracious Genevieve and her friendly, helpful crew who couldn’t have been nicer to us, at a time when we really needed something to smile about.  And thank you to Alice’s Tea Cup for putting up with the interruption during filming and providing us with great food. We’ll be back!

Warm Soft Chocolate Cake (Lava Cakes)

From “Alice’s Tea Cup”

printable recipe here

makes four servings

  • 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray four individual 4-ounce pyrex cups (or aluminum baking cups) with cooking spray or coat with butter. Dust with flour.
  2. In a medium glass bowl, melt the butter and chocolate in a microwave oven or in a water bath or double boiler. Mix thoroughly until you have a shiny chocolate sauce.
  3. In a large bowl, use a mixer to beat the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar until thick. Add the chocolate/butter mixture and beat until thick. With the mixer running, add the 1 tablespoon flour.
  4. Divide the mixture evenly among the prepared baking cups and bake for 11 minutes. Watch the time carefully.
  5. Turn each container upside down onto the center of a serving plate and slowly lift to reveal the cake.

You can prepare these ahead of time and bake later. Cover the filled baking cups and refrigerate up to three days. Then bake the chilled cups for 13 minutes.

Or, cover the filled baking cups and freeze. Take them from the freezer and bake for 19 minutes if you want it to look like the one in the lower photos, or for only 17 minutes, if you want it to have more “ooze.”



  1. That is one sinfully delicious treat! Omg, I want some now....

    What a great transformation!



  2. how cool is that! it looks like your daughters book collection doubled - LOL more space to store I guess generates more things to store...

  3. That is so cool and her room looks beautiful. What a wonderful picture of three pretty ladies! My son loves chocolate so I am bookmarking these to make for him.

  4. I love Genevieve from her days with Ty Pennington an his makeover show. She has such good taste. Lucky daughter,lucky you. Funnilu enough I was going to make a version of this classic dessert with nutella fro World Nutella Day today, but simply ran out of time...sigh.

  5. What an awesome post to wake up to in more ways than one! First of all I love the photo of the 3 of you and your daughters apartment looks gorgeous just like her, it even looks bigger to me with all that height. I always liked Genevieve when I first saw her on Trading Spaces, I'm putting a note now on my fridge so I won't miss it on Saturday. Now to the lava cake, I've been searching around for a easy but decadent chocolate recipe to use for this special chocolate I won off of Pat's blog, it's a Jack Torres Big Daddy Bar. I'm making this, powdered sugar, whip cream and all! The bar is so big I might make it twice! Thank you for your detailed instructions.

  6. Well I'm smitten by your dessert and only wish I was having it for breakfast. As for the room transformation-wow! I want to be on the show! Your daughter is adorable.

    Wow to the dessert, but wow to the apartment and the 3 gorgeous women!

  8. You and your dayghter look absolutely and utterly adorable.
    Her apartment received a nice makeover and those chocolate lava cakes are TO DIE FOR (I make them quite often in fact as they are my son's favourite)

  9. Looks gorgeous Linda...
    I love freezing the little cakes and pulling them out when "needed"...

    How luck your daughter is...her apartment is gorgeous!As are both of you!

  10. How exciting this must have been, Linda! You and your daughter look so beautiful. Your daughter's apartment very elegant ...I love those built in shelves! I may not be able to watch the show on Saturday evening, but I'll definitely catch a re-run.

    I first had a lava cake on a Todd English restaurant on a cruise ship. It's a wonderful chocolate lover's dessert!

  11. I am a lucky girl - not only do I have a new living room to relax in, but a fabulous mom who makes chocolate cakes!!!! Color me Pink :)

  12. "Oh what a world, what a world." Now I have two melty Cupid desserts for the 14th and as two is better than one, it works. Must make note to turn on TV on Saturday. The apt makeover is astonishing - she must be relishing it. But nothing matches the beauty of the 3 femme fatale photo!

  13. Oh how cool for your daughter...what a great opportunity!

  14. How exciting! I will need to make sure and catch the show - the apartment looks fantastic, as does that dessert! Your daughter is just beautiful - she sure takes after her Mom.

  15. I've never made those luscious little lava cakes and your great photos of how they should look makes it seem doable. Your daughter's apartment went from very nice to fantastic. What a fun makeover.

    Lovely photo of 3 very pretty ladies.

  16. Linda, a good news story for you and your daughter and besides...a trip to New York is a good distraction.

    I hope you had two Molten chocolate cakes (that's what I call them)!

  17. Just watched the show tonight and can't believe what a wonderful transformation of your daughters home. Your daughter is so pretty and you look wonderful. Glad you girls had fun.

  18. What a fab story, fab ladies, fab, fab fab makeover and molten chocolate cakes to boot. Fab!

  19. I think that only TNT would give my living room the makeover that it needs. What a lucky daughter!I've never had a lava cake. Ever. I'm scared I'd like it too much.
    Yay, on the whipped cream. Definitely.

  20. WOW the makeover of the room is stunning, and you're right it doesn't even seem the same room! You daughter must be thirilled!

  21. I absolutely love seeing the transformation of your daughter's living room. What a gorgeous picture of the three of you as well. Three stunning ladies.
    Your lava cake looks like it would make any problem in life go away with the first bite. Love it!

  22. Oh dear! I don't know which to comment on first. Chocolate or Genevieve. Genevieve/Chocolate!:)

    Linda, I love Lava Cakes, and yours seem ultra-rich and full of lava, which is what makes these little cakes so spectacular.

    But I also love Genevieve. I try to catch your shows whenever possible.
    I'll be keeping an eye out for the next time the show airs, to view the process, and incredible transformation of your daughter's space.
    The designer's work always seems effortless, but in this case, your daughter's own sense of style, made Genevieve's job a lot easier.
    Congratulations to you both!

  23. Wow! How exciting this whole process must have been. The new room looks wonderful. Your lava cakes look like diet breakers. They are gorgeous. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  24. Wow, what a wonderful opportunity for your lovely daughter, Linda! I love the transformation. And those lava cakes - look out, Valentine, here I come! I will have to catch one of the reruns of the show. You all look so fabulous!

  25. I will be watching the show with my daughter who is a loyal spectator of the show. I love the transformation!
    It makes the room look so exotic, like some Moroccan palace.
    Your lava cakes came out perfectly! I will be using your recipe from now on!

  26. One of my favorite desserts! Very cool about your daughter too Linda... can't wait to watch.

  27. Linda, lava cakes with that sinful, ooey, gooey chocolate pouring out are perfect for Valentine's Day and really any day. I'd like them for breakfast too! Ciao, Roz

  28. Hi Linda- your lava cakes look great but I'm really crazy over the makeover. The room looks stunning, YAY for your daughter.

  29. OMG the transformation of your daughter's living room is SENSATIONAL. I love it!!! I think I've missed the show but maybe I'll catch it in syndication. ...and yummmm to those lava cakes!

  30. Yum! These look so good. One of my husband's favorites. I'll have to give them a try.

  31. You've shared two of my favourite passions...Chocolate and Interior design.
    The coincidance here is two part:
    I just finished reading your comment on Claudia's blog requesting assistance on Italian travel...and completely was attracted to your suggestions.
    Secondly, I so rarely have a chance to watch TV...and wouldn't you know it...I actually did get to see part of Genevieve's show when you and your daughter walked into the living room at the very end. The room looks like it was a real success ;o) What an experience.

    Nice to get to know your blog...very inviting.

    Flavourful wishes,