Food

A 15-Minute Lava Cake for One

Clementine Chocolate Lava Cake

One of my favorite places to find solo recipes is Table for One, the Food52 column by Eric Kim. So, to conclude our month of cooking for one, we’re thrilled to share Eric’s five-ingredient lava cake. “This recipe couldn’t be simpler to bake,” says Eric. “And by ‘bake,’ I mean: five minutes of stirring together a handful of ingredients, 10 minutes of sitting by the oven (and salivating) and 15 seconds of eating (with a spoon, in bed).” Here’s how to do it…

Clementine Chocolate Lava Cake
By Eric Kim of Food52

I like to serve these individual chocolate cakes for dessert at the end of long dinner parties (everyone loves chocolate). But, more often than not, I end up making a batch, baking one ramekin off for myself right there, and stashing the rest, covered, in the fridge for the next three nights. We spend so much time talking about meal prep, but dessert prep can get you a long way.

Recipe: Clementine Chocolate Lava Cake
Serves 1 (4 times)

You’ll need:

4 oz. dark, bittersweet chocolate (60% or more cacao)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 clementine, zested
1/2 cup olive oil
Powdered sugar, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease four 6-oz. ramekins and place them on a sheet pan. Melt chocolate in the microwave and set aside to cool slightly. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, clementine zest and olive oil until light and fluffy. Fold in the chocolate. Pour batter into the ramekins and bake for 10 minutes, or until just cooked. The tops should be slightly cracked, the insides hot and gooey. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Eric Kim

Thank you, Eric! We love your column.

P.S. More recipes, including salted caramel brownies and double vanilla butter cake.

(Recipe syndicated with permission of Food52. Photo by Bobbi Lin for Food52. This series is edited by Franny Eremin.)

  1. Jessica says...

    oh my goodness, and it’s gluten-free…I’m going to get in trouble making this! (and by trouble, I mean none of my pants are going to fit because I’m not sharing!)

  2. Sweet tooth says...

    My first thought was this looks amazing but it’s not a recipe for one, and despite my major sweet tooth I agree with those who say this is too much for 4 nights in a row!

    I made half the recipe last night with the intention of eating both, and could easily have done so. Luckily my husband saved me from myself and stole the second one. I later calculated there are 520 calories in each one, don’t know why but I was so sure it would be lower as there are so few ingredients and no flour!

    Anyway verdict is these are delicious, REALLY easy to make and I almost always have all the ingredients on hand. No comparison with a mug cake, these are a proper pudding and I would (and will) serve them at a dinner party.

    Final point, I left them in a bit longer than 10 mins as I was waiting for the tops to crack. They never did so I trusted my gut and whipped them out after 12 mins. They were perfect. I would say def don’t leave in longer than 10 mins even if tops not cracked.

    • Sweet tooth says...

      Oh also, I left out the clementine!

  3. sara says...

    i’m sure this recipe is simple – if you happen to have a clementine just lying around, ready to zest! ;)

    • Marissa says...

      If you have children, this is no issue :)

  4. Lara says...

    This is the type of recipe that seems like it should be possible to make spontaneously but I’ve come to realize that chocolate is just not a pantry item for me. If there is chocolate in the house, I have eaten it. Yesterday. While unpacking the groceries. If I’m in the mood for something chocolatey but I don’t want to go to the store to get chocolate, I always make Smitten Kitchen’s best cocoa brownies. I almost always have all of the ingredients (no chocolate required! Just cocoa), I underbake it so they are super fudgy, and I just take whatever I don’t eat to work the next day. Or not :)

  5. Lynnette says...

    A cup is 8 fluid ounces (1/2 cup is 4 ounces) if that helps.

    • Jade McDonald says...

      That does help! Thanks so much 👍🏻

  6. Jade says...

    I would really love ingredients converted to UK measures! I have no idea how much 1/2 a cup of sugar/oil is! How big is the cup?!

  7. Jenny says...

    This looks lovely, but it’s not a dessert for one which is a shame because I thought that was the whole point of the series. I would find a genuine recipe for single portions quite helpful. In this case, anything is a recipe for one with lots of leftovers…

  8. Wendy says...

    Looks like it would be easy enough to halve, so one for today and one for tomorrow.

  9. omg yum yum yummmmm and i think I might have all these ingredients at home hehe

    Xoxo <3

  10. H. says...

    Not to be rude, but I feel like COJ has kinda missed the mark with a lot of these recent solo dining posts. It’s super misleading to say you have a recipe for a lava cake for ONE that actually has FOUR servings. What if I don’t want lava cake (super indulgent and rich) four nights in a row? (Or like, when you had the roundup of solo meals and it included things like popcorn and cereal — cool if you just want a break from cooking, but not ideal for single people who honestly sometimes are at a loss for what to cook themselves because every recipe is 4+ servings.)

    To be clear, the recipe looks delicious. My issue is just 100% with the misleading serving size.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much, H! we had talked about this beforehand on our team, and thought that eric’s approach seemed fun for pre-prepping desserts. (so nice to have multiple for the week.) but i hear you that it’s great to have a recipe that cooks just one serving. we’ll definitely keep this in mind for the future. here are a few others that would fit the bill:

      https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/chocolate-chunk-cookie-one
      http://www.wellfloured.com/apple-crisp-one/?/2014/10/apple-crisp-one.html#_a5y_p=2677965
      http://lacreativitedelafille.blogspot.com/2013/10/xxl-dark-chocolate-sea-salt-brownie.html

      thank you!!!

    • K says...

      100% agree. As someone who actually cooks for one, I have found this column to be totally absurd! They have all been standard-sized recipes and some of them (like risotto) don’t even reheat particularly well. This recipe looks great but there’s no way I’d eat it four nights in a row.

    • Genevieve says...

      Personally I agree, as 2 of the recipes were given as “serves 4” despite the titles it’s not really a column on eating for 1. I would have thought anyone who regularly cooks for 1 has already twigged the concept of dividing a recipe by 4, or of meal/dessert planning and eating leftovers. (but then again, maybe not, given all the previous comments about people just eating cereal haha) Would have been more useful to showcase recipes that are actually innovative single-serving recipes that don’t leave you with half an egg etc. Oh well.
      Thanks for the links Joanna will check them out :)

    • H. says...

      Joanna, thank you so much for the links! I really do love your blog, and I appreciate how nice you are even when criticized.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you for the MS link, jess!

    • Sasha L says...

      Here’s another link for an actual one serving (albeit a *large* one serving)
      https://cleobuttera.com/cakes/molten-chocolate-mug-cake/

      Am I alone in having absolutely no problem eating chocolate cake every night for four nights running? Feeling a bit piggy pie over here, which is pretty usual for me actually. I just love dessert way too much.

    • J says...

      They censor comments… that’s how they can seem so “nice.”

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thanks for your note! we put through 99% of comments and always welcome debate and feedback. we only delete comments that are attacking, offensive or overly harsh. thank you!

  11. Erin G says...

    And it’s gluten-free!! Hooray!

  12. Carol says...

    Heating up the whole oven for one little cake? I hope folks are using toaster ovens.

    • Carol says...

      oops, just saw author’s reply: serves 4

  13. Kathy says...

    Or do a microwave mug brownie.

    1/2 Cup flour, 1/2 Cup sugar (don’t you dare judge me), 2T coco, 2 T milk, 2T oil, dash of salt, drop or two of vanilla. Stir (a fork works great for this) and microwave for about 1 minute (1 minute and 10 seconds is perfect for me, but some people like it gooey).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      YUM.

    • Allison says...

      I just made the lava cake and it’s so SO much better than any of the mug brownies I’ve ever tried. More dishes but still quick and easy to satisfy a chocolate craving.

  14. t says...

    Trader joes makes the best lava cakes, cannot justify making for one.

    • not a problem, this recipe serves four.

  15. Laura G. says...

    I am falling down the rabbit hole of “Table for One”! Love his writing, and his attitude about happily cooking for one! (Also, the recipes.)

    • Danielle says...

      Thank you for linking to that one! It was lovely!

    • Sarah says...

      I read them all – so good!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      he’s amazing. here’s his portfolio site if you want to see more writing:
      http://erickim.net/

    • Sarah says...

      Such beautiful writing!! Thanks for linking to it!

  16. Sasha L says...

    Serves 1, 4 times!!! 😂 It’s like he knows me or something.

    • Anna says...

      Here, here!

  17. Cynthia says...

    I can taste it now! I like the idea of the individual servings.

  18. Adele says...

    I would love to try this, but I don’t have any ramekins! Any way of making this in something else (maybe a muffin tin?)

    • Lynn says...

      I would try a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Or if you have any Pyrex custard cups or even Pyrex liquid measuring cup. As long as it is oven safe..

    • Mary W says...

      I was going to use a little Pyrex dish. It doesn’t have the straight sides, but you eat it out of the dish so you don’t need it to stand up. I think you could also use a coffee mug or tea cup.

    • awads says...

      i’ve made lava cakes in tea cups. works great!

    • Louisa says...

      The ramekin is seriously the most used dish in my house – melting butter, prepping for cooking, small dish of ice cream, kid snacks, etc. – and they’re usually $2. AND: when I make a cake, I put a tiny bit of batter in a ramekin (take out after 15 minutes or so) so I can taste the finished product without anyone noticing :)
      So my advice is to buy a few ramekins. But mugs work, too.

  19. Christina says...

    “Serves 1 (4 times)” = PERFECTION. Swoon!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahaha

  20. Katie says...

    Where has this column been all my single life!?!

    Lava cake is my fav! Love this easy peasy recipe.

  21. Olivia says...

    Olive oil?! The Greek olive oil I use has a pretty strong taste…might it be better to use canola/veg oil or is this ok?

    This seems SO GOOD. Can’t wait to try

  22. grace says...

    eric kim is CUTE! thanks for the 15 minute deep dive into his column, and now i can’t wait to make his pb&j mug cake when i get home today. as a newlywed doing the long-distance thing for the past year, this series has been spot-on for me. thanks for the great content, as always!

  23. Gabriela says...

    So “Table for one” – can we assume that he’s single? Because, swoooon!

    • Jeanne says...

      Jen: Holy Moly, that article! I’m totally choked up after reading it. It’s so raw and beautiful and painful and loving….and delicious, lol. I feel for both Eric and his parents (I have immigrant parents too). Thank you for that wonderful read!!

    • Jen says...

      @jeanne: right??!!