Invented at New York’s Waldorf Astoria in the 1930s, red velvet cake is adored by the masses. In this interpretation, molten chocolate turns into gooey lava as it oozes from the center of this soufflé-like cake.
Red Velvet Lava Cakes
For the Ganache
4 ounces (115 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
¼ cup (60 milliliters) heavy cream
For the Cake
4 ounces (115 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
¼ cup (55 grams) unsalted butter, cubed, plus more for greasing
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
¼ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon red gel-paste food coloring
Confectioners’ sugar, optional
For the Ganache
Place the semisweet chocolate in a small heat-proof bowl. In a small saucepan, warm the cream over medium-high heat until it just begins to boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate, let stand 2 to 3 minutes for the chocolate to soften, and then whisk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, about 1 hour. Using two teaspoons, form 6 balls of ganache, spacing them out on a parchment-lined tray. (The leftover ganache can be warmed and served with the finished cakes, or kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.) Freeze the ganache balls until solid, about 1 hour, or they can be wrapped tightly and kept in the freezer for up to 3 days before using.
For the Cake
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Grease six 4-ounce (120-milliliter) ramekins or 6 cups of a standard muffin tin with butter and coat them lightly with flour, tapping out excess. Place them on a baking sheet and set aside.
In a small saucepan, stir together the bittersweet chocolate and butter over medium-low heat until just melted. Remove from the heat and whisk in the flour and salt until well combined.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a medium bowl using a handheld electric mixer, beat the eggs. Slowly add the granulated sugar and continue mixing until the eggs are foamy and pale in color, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and food coloring. Pour in the melted chocolate mixture and use a rubber spatula to stir until just combined. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared ramekins.
Place 1 ball of ganache into the center of each ramekin, taking care not to press it all the way to the bottom. The goal is to have it immersed in the center of the cake. Use a spoon to smooth the batter over the ganache.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tops are just set. Set aside to cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Loosen the edges of the cakes with a butter knife, and then turn them out onto individual plates, or onto a baking sheet if using a muffin tin. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately with more of the warmed ganache* on the side, if desired.
*To warm the leftover ganache, place it in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of gently simmering water and stir until melted.