A traditional molten chocolate cake made with conventional ingredients is baked so that the center of the cake is cooked enough to be safe (because most include raw eggs) but underdone enough to ooze out of the cake like lava when it’s cut into.
To create a similar effect but with gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free ingredients, you can make a simple ganache to nestle in between two layers of batter. It’ll melt and ooze out just like a traditional molten cake, but with no tricky pastry chef skills or perfect timing required. For this version, which was slightly adapted from a Make it Dairy Free recipe, cinnamon and a hint of cayenne heat things up a bit for your Valentine’s Day. Add some vegan, soy-free vanilla ice cream, sprinkle with powdered sugar, cinnamon and cocoa powder and watch your Valentine’s eyes light up when dessert is served.
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- Medium-sized mixing bowl
- Large mixing bowl
- 1.5 inch melon baller or spoon
For the ganache:
- 8 ounces dairy-free, soy-free dark chocolate, at least 70% (this can be a bar, chocolate chips or baking chocolate)
- ½ tbsp coconut oil, plus more for greasing ramekins
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut cream
- ¼ cup agave nectar (you can sub maple syrup or honey if you don't have agave)
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
For the batter:
- 1 cup dairy-free, soy-free plain yogurt (I used Harmless Harvest plain coconut yogurt)
- 2 cups gluten-free flour (I use Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder or cacao powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
For the topping:
- vegan, soy-free vanilla ice cream (I used Oatly)
- sprinkle of powdered sugar, cocoa powder or cinnamon
Prepare the ganache:
- Place chocolate (if using a bar, break it up into pieces) and ½ tbsp coconut oil into a microwave-safe bowl.
- Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring at the end of each interval, until chocolate is completely smooth.
- Add coconut cream, stirring as you do so.
- Add agave nectar, cinnamon and cayenne pepper and stir to combine.
- Cover the bowl and place it in the freezer for one hour or until cool and firm.
Prepare the batter:
- Liberally grease six 8-ounce, oven-safe ramekins with coconut oil.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine gluten-free flour, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda and whisk until combined.
- Add applesauce and vanilla extract, then yogurt, and whisk until everything is incorporated and there are no flour lumps (you may have to whisk for a good while; because there’s no gluten, you don’t have to worry about toughening up the batter by over-mixing. The most important thing is that the batter is smooth).
- Remove the ganache from the freezer.
- Spoon an approximately 1/2-inch thick layer of batter into the bottom of each greased ramekin.
- Using a 1.5 inch wide melon baller (or any spoon will do), scoop out about a heaping tablespoon of ganache and drop into the center of each ramekin on top of the batter.
- Spoon the remainder of the batter over top of the ganache, so that each ramekin is about ¾ of the way full.
- Place the ramekins onto a cookie sheet and place in the oven for 25 minutes. You will know they’re done when the top of the cakes spring back when pressed gently and are very slightly cracked.
- Carefully remove the cakes from the oven and place on a heat-safe, flat surface.
- Allow to cool for about 15 minutes, then very carefully, one by one, place a plate on top of each ramekin, turn the ramekin upside down and gently pull up on the ramekin so that the cake slides out onto the plate.
- Garnish with vegan, soy-free vanilla ice cream and sprinkle with powdered sugar, cocoa powder or cinnamon.
- Serve immediately.