Valentine’s Day is less than a week away. Some of you will go out to your favorite restaurant, and perhaps see an entertaining play, while others will choose to stay in. It’s the perfect occasion to sip refreshing cocktails, cuddle under warm blankets, and binge-watch Westworld for the third time this year. The two of us will be doing just that: hoping for a rainy night, cooking a simple meal together, and enjoying a quiet, candlelit dinner at home. Over the weekend, our talented mixologist friend, Prairie (who won “Best Cocktail Blog” at the 2014 Saveur Blog Awards), called to ask if we wanted to collaborate with her to create a dessert that would pair with the new cocktails she made for the upcoming holiday. Desserts? Cocktails? Clearly, this wasn’t a difficult decision to make, and on Saturday, Prairie came over to our house where we sampled and photographed her lovely creations. A splendid time was had by all, and after several rounds, the inspiration and creativity flowed like electricity. Ideas of chocolate and sweet treats were coursing through our veins. Suddenly, lighting bolts pierced the sky while a crack of thunder ripped through the atmosphere. The lights in our kitchen flickered then blacked out, as we stood there staring at each other in disbelief. We peered out the window, and could not believe our eyes: chocolate mocha lava cakes were falling from the sky, like snowflakes floating down gracefully from puffy clouds of whipped cream. This was a sign: a sacred chocolatey message sent from the heavens. These decadent mini cakes just so happened to be the perfect pairing with Prairie’s potations, and we knew it was our responsibility to take this holy treat and share it with the world. Say hello to this divine dessert: your Valentine’s Day just got a little more magical.
Any cake that erupts is our kind of cake—especially if it erupts with chocolate. And coffee. It may sound too good to be true, but this cake couldn’t be more real. And more delicious. And more romantic. Bittersweet and semisweet chocolate is simply combined with butter, sugar, flour, eggs, and coffee to make a dessert that is exploding with intense mocha flavor. You probably even have all the ingredients at home, just waiting to be turned into this chocoholic’s dream. With just the right amount of coffee, these rich and chocolatey mocha lava cakes are here to make your Valentine’s Day a little more… volcanic.
We paired our molten mocha cakes with Prairie’s two inspired cocktail creations: The Fabergé and the Amore Mio. Both drinks begin with a simple homemade coffee liqueur, and are fun and easy to prepare. The Fabergé is a light and bubbly twist on both a White Russian and a classic Egg Cream, combining vodka, coffee liqueur, rich chocolate, and a splash of sparkling soda. And the Amore Mio is an elegant cocktail made with equal parts of the liqueur, Kentucky bourbon, and vibrant Aperol, garnished with floating espresso beans. Head over to Bit By a Fox to check out both recipes and you’ll be ready to start your evening with some stylish refreshments.
These cute little cakes are perfect for a special date night at home. The simple batter takes less than 10 minutes to make, and you can prep them ahead of time. That way, you can enjoy a relaxing dinner together, then pop them in the oven once you’re ready for dessert. They bake in just 7 minutes, giving you plenty of time to dim the lights and set the mood with some quiet music, before they emerge from the oven—hot, molten, and intensely chocolatey. If you really want to impress, dust the top with a little powdered sugar and add a few fresh berries for a final romantic touch. As you both take your first bite and lock eyes across the table, just be ready because sparks are about to fly.
Chocolate Mocha Lava Cakes
2 ounces (57g) unsalted butter, cubed
1 ounce (28g) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (55% cacao)
1 ounce (28g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped (70% cacao)
1 teaspoon instant coffee crystals or powder
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 450ºF. Grease and flour two 5-ounce ramekins.
In a medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water, combine the butter, chocolate, and coffee. Stir until the mixture is smooth and evenly melted, then set aside to cool briefly. In another medium bowl, combine the egg, yolk, and sugar, and whisk vigorously until the mixture is thick and foamy, about 2 minutes. Add the chocolate mixture and the flour, and whisk to combine. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared ramekins (If desired, transferring the batter to a glass measuring cup first will make pouring easier). Place the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes, until the edges are set but the center still jiggles when you tap the baking sheet. Let the cakes cool on the sheet for 1 minute, then place a small serving plate on each ramekin. Invert the plate, and let the ramekin rest on top for 1 minute. Carefully remove the ramekin, leaving the cake behind on the plate. Garnish as desired with a dusting of powdered sugar, along with berries and mint, and serve immediately while still hot. Enjoy!
— The batter can be prepared and poured into the ramekins ahead of time. Keep them at room temperature then bake as directed. If they will be sitting for more than a few hours, keep them in the fridge, ensuring that they return to room temperature before baking.