Carthouse Lava Cake

January 28, 2010
2 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

It was first introduced to me my junior year in College. My friend Adam and I were driving up and down PCH in Malibu, CA, looking at venues for our upcoming formal (we were both on the committee to host it). It was getting late and we both hadn’t had dinner… I was freezing (November in LA is cold… to me), we were both grouchy from hunger and fatigue… then we zoomed by Charthouse.

Adam: Have you ever been to Charthouse?
Me: No I haven’t, looks fancy.
Adam: Oh man, we gotta go, you gotta try to chocolate cake, I can’t believe you’ve never been there!
Me: (sparkles in my eyes, immediately energized at the sound of “chocolate”) CHOCOLATE CAKE?
Adam: (busting a U) oh yeah prepared to get your mind blown - this is my birthday present to you.

So we sat down, ordered 1 appetizer and the cake, and patiently waited. They make the cake right when you order it so it takes about 30 minutes… but you KNOW for a fact that it’ll be fresh and warm by the time it makes to your table. And Adam was right – it was the most delicious chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted in my life. It was everything I was looking for in a chocolate cake – rich chocolate flavor, gooey chocolate fudgy center… every bite is chocolate heaven. I woulda died a happy woman right then and there.

And the best part is, it’s pretty easy to make – I’ve made several happy roommates since then. Note: the recipe calls for 3 different kinds of chocolate and I find that's the perfect combination, but you can really use 6 oz. of any of your favorite chocolate to tailor it to your taste. —pinkcookies

What You'll Need
  • 2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 2 ounces bittersweet baking chocolate
  • 2 ounces semisweet baking chocolate
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, and extra for ramekins
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  1. preheat the oven to 400°F
  2. butter up 4 ramekins and set them aside
  3. melt the chocolate in a double-boiler - to make a quick double boiler, fill a sauce pan 1/2 way up with water and heat it on the stove till the water boils. Place a metal mixing bowl on top of that, and melt the choclate in the metal mixing bowl. This method ensures even melting of the chocolate and prevents burning or clumping.
  4. carefully take the mixing bowl off the sauce pan - it will be hot - and place it on a towel
  5. stir butter into the melted chocolate until evenly melted and incorporated
  6. in another bowl, beat eggs and sugar until the mixer resembles a pale yellow color. add vanilla to the sugar mixture and stir till blended.
  7. stir the chocolate mixer into the sugar mixture until evenly incorporated
  8. sift together flour and cocoa powder, and fold into the wet mixture the batter is smooth and gooey
  9. drop in the dollop of sour cream and stir enough just to mix it in
  10. pour the batter into buttered ramekins
  11. bake for about 10 minutes, until the outer layer is slightly crunchy, the inner cake is fluffy, and the center is super fudgey.
  12. wait for about 5 minutes before tipping ramekins upside down onto the plate - serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream, or go fancy and top the cake and ice cream with ganache and sprinkle with chopped nuts and toffee bits.
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2 Reviews

Jennifer R. December 26, 2021
This is simply delicious and so easy to make. This is a favorite and will become a standby for me. I had one left over we ate the next day, and it was delicous too! I can also imagine serving this with a raspberry sauce. So good!!
cindy January 29, 2010
Thanks for submitting this recipe. I tried it last night and it turned out great. It was moist and definitely delicious.