Seasonally perfect confections

Dust these cupcakes with a generous layer of powdered sugar to best enjoy this sweet chocolatey treat. (credit: Abhinav Gautam/Photo Editor) Dust these cupcakes with a generous layer of powdered sugar to best enjoy this sweet chocolatey treat. (credit: Abhinav Gautam/Photo Editor)

As if I had to restate the obvious, it is winter and it is miserable — especially around Valentine’s Day. I love to fight off the cold first with a warm bubble bath and then with something rich, hot, smooth, and mouthwatering: chocolate lava cakes. Nothing could be more satisfying than cutting open the mini cake with the side of a fork, then watching the molten middle spill out on to your plate. With every mouthful, you can feel your body getting warmer, starting in your stomach and radiating out to your fingers and toes. It’s delicious, it’s warm, and it’s perfect for this time of year.

Whether you’re making dinner for your sweetheart or celebrating Galentine’s Day (or the male equivalent) with your single friends, these fantastic little chocolate volcanoes are sure to impress, and with minimal effort! The process of making these is so simple you’ll be surprised by how quickly they’re done.

Chocolate Lava Cakes
6 ounces of semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped
1 stick plus 2 additional tablespoons of unsalted butter, cubed
3 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, plus some extra for dusting
1/2 cup of flour
Cocoa powder for dusting

Real-life people with real-life kitchen equipment would make these cakes in these fancy things called ramekins, but since this is college and the standard is slightly lower, as long as you have a cupcake tin you’ll be just fine! This recipe makes about 9 cakes in the cupcake tin, depending on how you distribute the batter (or 6 cakes in 6 oz ramekins for real people). These are meant to be free-standing, so instead of cupcake liners, butter the walls of each cupcake well and sprinkle some cocoa powder around so the cake doesn’t stick. Also, don’t forget to preheat the oven to 450 degrees!

Place all the chocolate and butter in a pot over fairly low heat. Stir it until it all melts and turns into this velvety, shiny chocolate sauce. Then pull it off the heat and let it cool for a little bit. Meanwhile, whisk together all of the eggs and powdered sugar. If you have access to a strainer, it would be a really great idea to push the powdered sugar through it. Powdered sugar tends to be a little lumpy, especially when it’s stored in more humid environments, and if you put it in the eggs without straining it, the lumps may never go away! After the sugar and eggs are incorporated, pour in the chocolate mixture and flour all at once. Stir this all up, and that’s the batter!

Divide it equally between the 9-ish greased up cupcake wells and bake them for 12 minutes. After they come out, let them sit for around 3 minutes, then take them out of the tins. If they’re a little bit stuck to the pan, run a knife along the sides to loosen them up and flip them out. These taste the best when you serve them fresh out of the oven, but it’s not the end of the world if they hang out over night. Just pop them in the microwave for about 30 seconds right before it’s time to serve. Garnish them with a sprinkle of powdered sugar, or even some caramel sauce or ice cream if you’re feeling adventurous! Finally, sit down, take a bite, and drift off into warm, chocolatey bliss.