Molten lava cake is an individually portioned chocolate cake that breaks open to reveal a soft, fudge-like center (which is really just perfectly under-baked batter). Though it looks ordinary from the outside, once broken it reveals a deliciously tender core. It’s a lot like your heart.
The original version of the molten lava cake was created by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, whose chefs bake more than 1,000 of these legendary desserts every day at his restaurant, Jean-Georges. Ever since the dish’s creation, chefs, recipe developers and food bloggers have come up with myriad versions of this gooey cake, catering to all different tastes and skill levels.
Though it may seem like an intimidating recipe to master, it’s really not. Most recipes call for 4-ounce molds or ramekins, but in a pinch a nonstick muffin tin will do just fine. And the ingredient list for the classic recipe is short and sweet ― butter, chocolate, eggs, sugar and flour ― which gives you few excuses to pretend this dish is too complicated for you.
The biggest trick is timing: Lava cakes are best served hot, immediately after they come out of the oven. If you wait too long, the chocolate lava will turn into something more akin to lava rock.
If your heart melts for someone this Valentine’s Day ― or any day, really ― make them a dessert that shows it. Below are 13 of our favorite molten lava cake recipes. If you want to practice a few times before Feb. 14, we highly suggest doing so and eating all the results.
1 Easiest Chocolate Molten Lava Cake
Get the Easiest Chocolate Molten Lava Cake recipe from Sally's Baking Addicition
2 Vegan Chocolate Lava Cakes
Get the Vegan Chocolate Lava Cakes recipe from Minimalist Baker
3 Molten Nutella Lava Cake
Get the Molten Nutella Lava Cake recipe from Kirbie's Cravings
4 Chocolate Peanut Butter Lava Cakes
Get the Chocolate Peanut Butter Lava Cakes recipe from Lemon Tree Dwelling
5 The Best And The Easiest Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes
Get The Best And The Easiest Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes recipe from Averie Cooks
6 Raspberry Molten Lava Cake
Get the Raspberry Molten Lava Cake recipe from Texanerin
7 Black Bean Lava Cake
Get the Black Bean Lava Cake recipe from The Healthy Maven
8 Red Velvet Molten Lava Cake
Get the Red Velvet Molten Lava Cake recipe from Half Baked Harvest
9 Oreo Lava Cake
Get the Oreo Lava Cake recipe from Kirbie's Cravings
10 Mexican Chocolate Lava Cake
Get the Mexican Chocolate Lava Cake recipe from Gimme Some Oven
11 Molten Lava Brownies
Get the Molten Lava Brownies recipe from Handle The Heat
12 Perfect Molten Lava Cake
Get the Perfect Molten Lava Cake recipe from The Domestic Rebel
13 If you're not a chocolate person: Lemon Molten Lava Cake
Get the Lemon Molten Lava Cake recipe from Cooking Classy
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.