David Lebovitz's Individual Chocolate Cakes

May  1, 2014

All week long David Lebovitz -- professional cook, baker, and blogger -- will be sharing recipes from his new book, My Paris Kitchen. Follow along to win one of six copies we're giving away -- and find out why Paris really is always a good idea.

Today: Dessert, just the way we like it -- personalized, with a molten surprise inside.

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Because of the sticky dulce de leche in the bottom of these cakes, I use standard 4-ounce porcelain ramekins and serve them right in the ramekins. But you can use any kind of ovenproof custard cup for this recipe; the mixture will rise a bit in the oven, but not enough to overflow. 

Do be sure to let the cakes cool for at least 5 minutes before serving, and let guests know the little molds are still hot. To cool things down, serve these with a scoop of vanilla or coffee ice cream, or pass a pitcher of cold, heavy cream for guests to help themselves. 

You can find dulce de leche at well-stocked supermarkets or stores that specialize in Mexican and South American products, or try making your own.

Individual Chocolate Cakes with Dulce de Leche and Fleur de Sel 

Serves 6

8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for the ramekins
6 generous tablespoons dulce de leche (see note)
1 scant teaspoon flaky sea salt, preferably fleur de sel
8 ounces (225 grams) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons (90 grams) packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs 

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

We're giving away a little piece of Paris every day this week! To enter to win today's copy of My Paris Kitchen, tell us in the comments: What's your favorite chocolate indulgence? We'll pick six winners at random this Friday, May 2nd!

Photos excerpted from the book My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz. © 2014 by David Lebovitz. Reprinted by permission of Ten Speed Press. All rights reserved.


Susana O. November 7, 2014
too too sweet, won't do them again
Katelinlee May 7, 2014
I might be too late for the contest, but my favorite discovery lately is David's "Chocolate Idiot Cake."
Ren May 3, 2014
chocolate gelato
Melissa May 2, 2014
dark chocolate bars. I recently had a coconut toffee one - amazing.
Megan May 2, 2014
I love my chocolate salted cookies!
Jen May 2, 2014
dark chocolate and roasted unsalted almonds
SallyM May 2, 2014
choclate ice cream!
Merrill S. May 2, 2014
These sound divine.
Melissa May 2, 2014
anything chocolate! chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies, a bar of dark chocolate!
Jen May 2, 2014
Fave indulgence is always the piece or two that somehow goes missing whenever I'm making a chocolate dessert...
Cristina S. May 2, 2014
I am pretty into Madecasse's Citrus & Pink Pepper dark chocolate at the moment.
Anders G. May 2, 2014
Insanely gooey chocolate chip cookies. All day.
minibakersupreme May 2, 2014
I love chocolate mousse, preferably Julia Child's recipe, with a little salt and vanilla added in for extra flavor!
mariana May 2, 2014
Anything made of chocolate, really.
Deb May 2, 2014
My husband's homemade chocolate chip cookies!
Valerie May 2, 2014
Double chocolate brownies.
deb O. May 2, 2014
DARK CHOCOLATE of the best quality. I really love the bars that come with some sea salt mixed in. DIVINE
Emma May 2, 2014
Chocolate chip cookies! Nothing exciting, but they always hit the spot!
DT May 2, 2014
David, please enlighten us about the great divide between French versus American food photography. As a Top Chef France enthusiast and recent subscriber to your feed, I now find the literal mutilation of these fondants au chocolat a bit jarring. Ghislaine Arabian would not be pleased. I hear her saying, “ C’est pas elegant, ça donne pas envie.”… I recently showed my French office mate at food blog of a North American friend. She was not impressed by the whole rustic look. She said, “non, c’est pas assez fin pour moi.” I am convinced that the American –French divide in food photography aesthetics is massive. Is it about accessibility? I admit my Pierre Hermé tome has yet to be cooked from.
masapas May 2, 2014
Eliza L. May 2, 2014
My new favorite chocolate indulgence is the recipe I got here for Chocolate Guinness cheesecake! Had it for my birthday this year; it was so good!
adriana May 2, 2014
chocolate soufflé.
elanac May 2, 2014
Chocolate pudding!
Nancy G. May 2, 2014
I love the quick easy "fix" of rich Belgian chocolate from my favortie chocolatier. When there's time to create something, though, nothing beats warm gooey chocolate cake, much like these molten cakes.
XenaB May 2, 2014
Rich, dark truffles.
Kristina F. May 2, 2014
Monsieur Truffe's dark chocolate bar with caramel flecks. I'd fly all the way back to Australia to have another bar.
Harmony May 2, 2014
Chocolate bread pudding with freshly whipped cream.
Jean B. May 2, 2014
A cup, or perhaps a bit more, of great European hot chocolate has been a great comfort many times.
Kelly May 2, 2014
Poco Dulce toffee chocolate
HalfPint May 2, 2014
A bar of Cadbury milk chocolate
Melissa May 2, 2014
three twins chocolate ice cream
Monique May 2, 2014
caracao confections raw vegan chocolate with kaffir lime caramal
HomeKuchen May 1, 2014
Favorite chocolate indulgence is Richard Sax's Fallen Chocolate Cake!
Catherine May 1, 2014
I think my favorite chocolate indulgence is Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipe for chocolate semifreddo. The small ramekin is almost too chocolaty!
Cait May 1, 2014
This super retro death by chocolate desert my mother made for us on special occasions. It isn't so much the desert but the memory.
EmFraiche May 1, 2014
Drinking chocolate!
Monica May 1, 2014
Chocolate indulgence for me would be the homemade mole that my mom makes. It is a savory use of chocolate that perfectly marries 30-some-odd ingredients into this lushes, earthy sauce to be scooped up by tortillas or blanketed over Mexican rice. Chocolate makes earthy the spice of chile, while there's a touch of sweetness from the platanos maduros and pineapple. In the mole that my mother makes, four different chiles vie for attention, and behave nicely after hours of simmering together. Aromatics such as cumin, cloves and white pepper dance around as you stir the wooden spoon and blend together all of the ingredients. This is a dish to be savored with family, an indulgence for celebrations.
Monika May 1, 2014
chocolate mousse with a hint of black cardamom and black pepper!!
arcane54 May 1, 2014
Reine de Saba from Julia Child.
The O. May 1, 2014
Salted chocolate torte!
Kendra A. May 1, 2014
My dad used to make a triple layer chocolate cake, with whipped cream between the layers and and really thick fudge frosting. It was a birthday tradition in our house!
erin M. May 1, 2014
just one chocolate indulgence ?! chocolate blackout cake!
Susan M. May 1, 2014
My chocolate fix is a flourless fallen chocolate cake with a marscapone cream and reduced raspberry wine topped with fresh raspberries.
TheBakingHermit May 1, 2014
David Lebovitz's Devil Food Cake - it's the best!
caroliiine May 1, 2014
ritter sport - dark chocolate with hazelnuts
nancy May 1, 2014
Amadei Italian porcelana chocolate. Plain...smooth, amazing dark chocolate
Mulzee May 1, 2014
My mother's walnut torte with the most decadent chocolate frosting. I could eat that for days.....mmmm
Hannah R. May 1, 2014
Tartine's salted chocolate rye cookies are tied with David's amazing Chicolate sorbet.
Fairmount_market May 1, 2014
A square of Ritter Sport dark chocolate with hazelnuts
suzgab May 1, 2014
Pain au chocolat is good any time of the day!
suli May 1, 2014
Salted caramel chocolate tart. Hmmmm.
Trice A. May 1, 2014
Belgian hot chocolate
erica May 1, 2014
Homemade dark chocolate ice cream or chocolate cream pie.
theworldsaplate May 1, 2014
Brazilian brigadeiros!
slothrop May 1, 2014
Homemade Gianduja Stracciatella gelato
DianaL May 1, 2014
If it ever gets warm again I'll be getting a Dairy Queen French Silk Pie Blizzard!
Maggie May 1, 2014
My mom's homemade French Silk Pie
IrishJenn May 1, 2014
I am addicted to Trader Joe's Sea Salt & Turbinado Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds.
Josie M. May 1, 2014
Good old rich, chewy, homemade brownies.
Kathy T. May 1, 2014
For chocolate, I'm a big fan of Alice Medrich's Bittersweet Decadence Cookies from "Bittersweet". Otherwise, a bar of 70% Theo Chocolate will do nicely.
Meghan May 1, 2014
A chocolate souffle-especially the first one I ever made that turned out beautifully despite being cooked in a windowless studio-sized tiny stove! Not bad for guessing on the time!
Jessica A. May 1, 2014
I love chocolate madeleines with a hint of coffee.. yum!
Vickitabanana May 1, 2014
Any warm chocolate dessert, just like this one!
deidre May 1, 2014
My favorite treat takes three minutes to make and it is divine... in a microwave proof bowl- microwave maple syrup, a few hunks of butter and some sea salt... let it boil a few minutes until very thick. Eat. I dare you.
cristen May 1, 2014
Ah- My favorite chocolate indulgence is a recipe much like this one that my dearest friend makes for us on New Years. But also, brownies!
Lauren May 1, 2014
Chocolate mousse for sure.
The M. May 1, 2014
Hot fudge sauce! On vanilla or peppermint stick ice cream. Or just on a spoon.
Wanda May 1, 2014
A Nutella crepe.
bekahlayne May 1, 2014
Marian May 1, 2014
A small square of 61% Valrhona chocolate with an espresso
elle May 1, 2014
Ultra rich dark chocolate brownies or any concoction of chocolate and peanut butter :)
Kathryn C. May 1, 2014
Ici's (in Berkeley) Chocolate ice cream on one of their hand-made cones (with the little bite of chocolate in the bottom of the cone).
Keely B. May 1, 2014
Dark chocolate and caramel anything!
Hgranger May 1, 2014
Dark chocolate-covered marshmallows!
Jessie May 1, 2014
My favorite super indulgence is still slightly warm fresh ganache. Just a spoonful :-)
Lynna May 1, 2014
Favorite chocolate indulgence? How can I even pick?! Chocolate candies, like Snickers or Milky Ways. And, if I have chocolate cake, definitely the cake.
Louisa I. May 1, 2014
chocolate cupcakes with a hint of espresso (I think it's a nigella recipe)
SophieB May 1, 2014
A scoop of mexican chocolate ice cream in a cone, on a hot day, shared with a friend who you are not afraid has the cooties.
deletedspace May 1, 2014
I love a square of some single origin, very, very dark chocolate like Mast Brothers or Askinosie! Nothing like the taste of REAL, undiluted, bean-to-bar chocolate.
Agneta May 1, 2014
David's Simple Chocolate Sauce is my favorite indulgence! It is divine. We always have some in the fridge. Sometimes just a teaspoon full will do
Agneta May 1, 2014
David's Simple Chocolate Sauce! It is divine... I always have some in the fridge!
hagarita May 1, 2014
i love a good chocolate mousse, with some crunchy nuts, preferably almonds!
Sophia H. May 1, 2014
I pretty much love anything chocolate, even savory items, I make a dark rye bread with cocoa and Mexican chocolate, espresso, molasses with a bunch of other grains added in.
Ebonye E. May 1, 2014
My favorite is chocolate soufflé made with Grand Marnier.
Madhuja May 1, 2014
I think it is a tie between chocolate mousse and chocolate tart!
Liza's K. May 1, 2014
I make a wonderful flourless chocolate tart that I coat in homemade caramel sauce with fleur de sel the cover with chocolate ganache.
Amanda S. May 1, 2014
Chocolate mousse made with a recipe I got at an "Art of Chocolate" workshop put on by Ghyslain Maurais. Wow!
Stephanie May 1, 2014
Racine's cake from David Lebovitz's with raspberry whipped cream made by my daughters for Mother's Day last year
Anna May 1, 2014
chocolate fudge and truffles
Dean K. May 1, 2014
mmmm. and old-fashioned chocolate self-saucing pudding... a kiwi treat!
Dina May 1, 2014
Just regular old chocolate!
Michael V. May 1, 2014
It's not very foodie of me to say, but those chocolate pomegranates that they sell in a bag. I try to buy 'em only once a year cause that bag is going down as soon as it's purchased.
Maris May 1, 2014
chocolate eclairs
Martha May 1, 2014
Chocolate mousse with chocolate nibs!
Melissa May 1, 2014
Maida Heatter's chocolate shortbread cookies...
red135 May 1, 2014
Too many to choose just one! But a square of really great very dark chocolate will brighten my day!
Jen I. May 1, 2014
Definitely molten chocolate lava cake however with a little dollop of vanilla bean whip cream and strawberries to accompany it. DEE-LISH! (or the "I NEED IT NOW" version: brownie mix in a mug zapped in the microwave for a minute or so... which cool whip and strawberries!) :)
Florie May 1, 2014
Dark chocolate cake loaf with salty butter, still melting inside, with "crème anglaise" and fresh rapsberries!
Natalie May 1, 2014
Chocolate ganache frosted cupcakes
qktiles May 1, 2014
The peanut butter meltaways you can only get in PA Dutch country.
Author Comment
David L. May 1, 2014
Ha! I like the picture from the book that you used - the goofs! (Which, not to eaten!)
Rob H. May 1, 2014
Is this a rift on the Chocolate Idiot Cake recipe that I love so much? The picture makes it look like it's drier, but the ingredients are the same, right?
Rob H. May 1, 2014
Is this a rift on the Chocolate Idiot Cake recipe that I love so much? The picture makes it look like it's drier, but the ingredients are the same, right?
Ellen L. May 1, 2014
Rich chocolate cake with chocolate frosting
Gaby May 1, 2014
A dark, gooey, possibly nutty brownie is absolutely perfect in my opinion!
Garnetgirl May 1, 2014
Chocolate cake, chocolate buttercream frosting, vanilla ice cream. Perfection.
guy E. May 1, 2014

Give me creamy milk chocolate malt balls with crispy, airy interior.
Rachael S. May 1, 2014
I don't consider it an indulgence. It is necessary - a small bite of dark chocolate, hidden from my fiance so he doesn't eat it all!
karen May 1, 2014
ice cream!
sticksnscones May 1, 2014
My favorite chocolate indulgence must have coconut along with dark chocolate. A good ol' chocolate macaroon will do!
dieubert May 1, 2014
chocolate mousse cake
laughing May 1, 2014
Another vote for plain good dark chocolate :)
My ultimate indulgence: dark chocolate tart with chocolate shortbread crust.
akay2 May 1, 2014
just good quality dark chocolate
BananaBoat May 1, 2014
I always go for really fudge-y brownies.
ATG117 May 1, 2014
Nothing beats a good piece of chocolate, but second to that would be a decadent chocolate mousse.
pearlyriver May 1, 2014
My chocolate indulgence, if we're talking about indulgence in its true sense is chocolate fondue.
deedee1200 May 1, 2014
Just give me a bar of really dark chocolate.
Lgh May 1, 2014
Chocolate orbit cake or "Idiot Cake" depending on which version of David's recipe you use.... Yummy.
WHB May 1, 2014
The most recent indulgence (since we're just post-Passover) is chocolate-caramel matzah...what Deb Perelman calls "crack" for good reason!
Sj D. May 1, 2014
Nothing comforts me more than a luxurious hot chocolate topped with condensed milk!
NosyFoodDude May 1, 2014
Dark chocolate cake with dark chocolate buttercream.
K_Squared May 1, 2014
I'm a fan of chocolate-covered snacks - raisins, espresso beans, almonds to name a few. But I'm a much bigger fan of David Lebovitz!
heyjude May 1, 2014
Hot fudge on coffee Ice cream
tanager May 1, 2014
I was going to say chocolate caramels with sea salt, but after reading this recipe, those may get displaced :)
sexyLAMBCHOPx May 1, 2014
A great quality chocolate bar all for myself.
LindaB May 1, 2014
dark chocolate covered praline almonds
AntoniaJames May 1, 2014
Well, if we're limiting it to indulgences, I'd have to say dark-chocolate dipped ganache truffles. I made them for the first time last December; they involved a lot more work than I typically have time for during the holiday season, but they proved so worth it. I'm going to try "Alice's House Truffles," posted here on Food52, next time I make truffles. The hard coating of the dipped ones though makes them rather special . . . . . . ;o)
Julie K. May 1, 2014
Chocolate straight up!
t May 1, 2014
Do I have to pick one? I'll happily eat anything made with a good dark chocolate (although I'm just as happy to savor a bar of the good stuff).