Chocolate Fudge Cakes for 2.
A chocolate fudge cake so rich, it puts all other chocolate desserts to shame. This small batch recipe makes only 2 and is perfect when you don’t need to feed a crowd.
Let me begin with: this is a recipe where diets do not belong.
I was going to wait until closer to Valentine’s Day to post this fabulously indulgent recipe, but impatience might as well be my middle name. For me, “allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting” means putting them in the refrigerator to speed up the process. I also begin wearing flip flops in April and break out my scarves in August.
Speaking of impatience, I made a chocolate cake recipe that doesn’t require cooling before digging in. Hallelujah. And what’s more? These chocolate fudge cakes are ready in a flash.
This recipe reminds me of a chocolate molten cake. Hey, did you know that I use to waitress at Chili’s restaurant in college? Fajita rita Mondays, anyone? Chili’s dessert recipe, the molten lava cake, is one of their most popular desserts and it’s clear why. Rich, chocolate cake oozing with chocolate inside. My homemade version doesn’t really resemble a soufflé like most molten cakes; it’s more of a tiny chocolate brownie cake.
Rather than underbaking the cakes, I submerge real chocolate into the centers before they go into the oven. The piece of chocolate melts and makes the cake surrounding it nice and gooey. See? It’s a beautiful thing.
This small batch recipe yields two fudgy cakes. One for you and one for your sweetheart or best friend/kid/sibling/parent/any chocolate lover in your life. You will need two 6-ounce ramekins, which is the common size used for most custards, soufflés, creme brûlées, etc. These are the ramekins I use.
While the centers are melted chocolate, the outer edges of the cakes taste like a combination of my chocolate cupcakes and homemade brownies. In fact, those two recipes were my inspiration for today’s recipe!
About the ingredients used: I use brown sugar not only to sweeten the cakes, but to provide a little extra flavor and moisture. Vegetable oil makes the cakes extra moist while the egg provides richness. You will not use an entire egg. Rather, you will crack an egg, beat it, and use 2 Tablespoons in this chocolate batter. When testing this recipe, I found using the entire egg made the cakes taste eggy and spongey. Let’s avoid that. Flour gives the cakes structure while the leaveners lift the cakes as they bake.
Like my chocolate cupcakes, I use both baking soda and baking powder here. Why use both? In my recipe testing, I found that the amount of baking soda I was using was certainly enough to neutralize the acid (in this case, the brown sugar) but this amount was not enough to lift the cakes. Why not add more soda, then? Well, the cakes began to taste bitter. So, a little baking powder is used to give extra assurance and lift. It’s confusing, I know. It’s taken me years to understand it!!
Heavy cream and pure chocolate are melted down to create the fudgy base of the cakes. The mix of these two ingredients is how both chocolate ganache and chocolate truffle recipes begin. So, you can imagine what it does for little mini cakes!
The chocolate flavor is incredibly intense. Don’t expect a sickeningly sweet cake; semi-sweet chocolate is used and only 3 Tablespoons of extra sugar for the entire 2 cake recipe. All you’ll taste is rich chocolate. A total chocolate trance.
We had these for dessert last night and it might just be enough chocolate to last me until next Valentine’s Day. Kidding, of course. Chocolate lovers, you’ve reached heaven.
Step by step photos below the recipe!
Two Chocolate Fudge Cakes
- 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream
- 3 Tablespoons (36g) packed light brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) vegetable or canola oil (or melted coconut oil)
- 2 Tablespoons egg (crack 1 egg, beat it, use 2 Tbsp)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 Tablespoons (45g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- Spray each ramekin lightly with nonstick spray. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C) degrees.
- Coarsely chop 2 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate. Set the other ounce aside. Combine the chopped chocolate and heavy cream in a medium heatproof bowl. Microwave for about 25 seconds. Remove from the microwave and vigorously stir until melted and combined. Reheat in 5 second increments if needed, stirring after each increment. Once melted and smooth, whisk in the brown sugar until no lumps remain. Whisk in the oil, egg, and vanilla until combined. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and baking soda together. Pour into the wet ingredients and fold with a rubber spatula until all of the ingredients are mixed without any lumps. Pour evenly into the ramekins; they should be just around 3/4 of the way full. If you have too much batter (you shouldn't), make a mini cupcake in a cupcake pan. Cut the remaining 1 ounce of chocolate in half. Drop it into the centers of the cakes and use a spoon to fully submerge it.
- Bake for 15-16 minutes, rotating the pan at the 8 minute mark. If you're worried they are too underbaked, bake for another minute or two. The centers are supposed to be slightly gooey and there is melted chocolate inside. Serve warm.
Make ahead tip: I don't suggest making these cakes ahead of time. They are so quick to make- about 30 minutes start to finish. If anything, prepare in full then reheat in the oven before serving. They may not be as gooey.
More than 2 cakes: If you would like more than 2 cakes, this recipe may easily be doubled or tripled. If making 6 cakes (tripling the recipe), use two full eggs. 1 full egg is not enough for making 4 cakes (doubling the recipe). You would need to beat 2 eggs and use 4 Tablespoons of egg.
- Quality chocolate is the best for these cakes! Chocolate is the main ingredient, so using a cheaper chocolate or even chocolate chips can heavily affect the taste and texture. For all my recipes calling for pure chocolate, including this one, I like to use either Baker's or Ghirardelli baking bars- both sold in the baking aisle.
- Heavy cream is strongly recommended for best taste and texture. Half-and-half or whole milk could be used instead. I do not recommend low fat milks; you need fat to melt down with the chocolate.
- I'm unsure about the bake time for ramekins any other size than 6 ounces. These are the ramekins I use. The good news: this standard size is typical for other dessert recipes like custards, soufflés, creme brûlées, and mousse!
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Do you own an oven thermometer? Please get one! Extremely inexpensive, my oven thermometer is my #1 tool in the kitchen. When it comes to baking, it is– hands down– the most important thing you could own in your kitchen. You need an accurate 350°F (177°C) for these mini cakes.
Per the written recipe above, begin with quality chocolate. Melt it down in the microwave with heavy cream. I put mine in the microwave for 25 seconds, then stirred until the chocolate was melted and smooth. Do NOT overheat.
Whisk in brown sugar– I prefer this over white sugar. (1) for taste and (2) for some additional moisture.
Then, whisk in oil, egg, and vanilla. For the egg: you need 2 Tablespoons of egg. So, beat 1 egg. Measure 2 Tablespoons from this beaten egg. Use those 2 Tablespoons in this recipe. There will be around 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons of egg leftover. Mix it with more eggs to make some scrambled eggs for breakfast!
Fold in the dry ingredients: a mix of flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Pour evenly into your ramekins. Stick 1/2 ounce of chocolate into the center of each.
Use a spoon to get the piece of chocolate fully submerged. Bake cakes on a lined baking sheet (in case they overflow, which likely they will not) for 15 minutes.
Serve immediately while the cakes are warm. Enjoy!