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French molten chocolate cake {Moelleux au chocolat}

Easy recipe for a delicious and decadent French style moelleux au chocolat or molten chocolate cake. This molten chocolate cake is very easy to make and  is prepared with dark chocolate, salted butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. It is served with fresh basil (or mint) and your choice of berries, ice cream, or sorbet. This recipe is contributed by Lucas Delmas.

Molten chocolate cake

What makes a chocolate cake a hit is its simplicity… and a touch of audacity. As far as cooking goes, my mother and grandmother will forever remain my role models. They inspired me and taught me patiently their recipes, whose flavors and scents used to expand across the entire house when they were cooking. And if there is one dessert which I recall vividly from my mother, it is this molten chocolate cake. It is surprisingly easy to make (imagine a cake with butter, sugar, flour and eggs as the main ingredients), but there is a special twist: salted butter.

Moelleux chocolate cake recipe

This dish made me realize that in so many sweet dishes and desserts, adding a touch of salt to a sweet recipe gives the dish a new dimension. Over the years I became a fan of this cooking method, but you need to know how to dose. To me, the salt counterbalances the lightness and sweetness of sugar. Using a small amount of salt makes a dessert you may not remember otherwise, unforgettable. At the first bite you are surprised. At the second bite you want more, until the last bite.

Moelleux au chocolat recipe

In terms of flavors, you can also make variations by using different types of chocolate. I do not get too excited by super bitter chocolates with high percentages, though I recognize that for some people, higher percentages represent the best. In this recipe I used 52% cacao chocolate. Also, to melt it you do not need to use the conventional method of bain marie (however you can if you prefer or do not want to take any risks). While this technique works to slowly melt and obtain a uniform liquid, I put the chocolate in pan directly exposed to heat. Naturally, we need to pay close attention not to burn it in the process, and to move it rapidly into a bowl at room temperature once ready. As the ingredients come together, the mix quickly becomes delicious even before it is cooked. It is almost torture to resist eating it right away. But force yourself to place it in the oven, it will be worth it!

French molten chocolate cake

For serving, a delightful combination is the chocolate cake and fresh basil. You can use scissors to slice a few basil leaves on top of the chocolate fondant. For presentation and for taste, it will not be in excess. You can also serve this French molten chocolate cake with a side of strawberry or raspberry sorbet or ice cream, or fresh fruits. This will add some lightness to the dessert and help us forget that it is rich in calories… but that it is so good!

French moelleux molten chocolate cake

Laylita’s editor notes: I love this molten chocolate cake, we’ve made 3 times already and it’s becoming a family favorite. For the dark chocolate I used a mix of half bittersweet chocolate and half 72% Ecuadorian dark chocolate from Hoja Verde. Since chocolate is the main ingredient there is a correlation between the quality of the chocolate and the flavor of the cake. I also tried both methods of melting the chocolate and salted butter directly in the pan vs using a double broiler/Baine Marie method. Both methods work fine, but using a heatproof glass mixing bowl is my favorite since I can use the same bowl (which means one less thing to wash) to mix in the sugar, eggs, and flour.

En français

Moelleux chocolate cake recipe

French molten chocolate cake {Moelleux au chocolat}

Easy recipe for a delicious and decadent French style moelleux au chocolat or molten chocolate cake. This  cake is very easy to make and is prepared with dark chocolate, salted butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. It is served with fresh basil (or mint) and your choice of berries, ice cream, or sorbet.
4.95 from 40 votes
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Moelleux au chocolate, Molten chocolate cake
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Author: Lucas Delmas


  • 200 g dark chocolate for baking (200 grams = 7 ounces)
  • 100 g salted butter (100 grams of butter=3.5 ounces)
  • 100 g sugar (100 grams of sugar=3.5 ounces)
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 3 eggs

To serve:

  • A few basil leaves – you can also use mint leaves
  • Fresh berries
  • Ice cream or sorbet


  • In a thick bottom pan, melt the chocolate and the butter on medium heat. Mix constantly to avoid the ingredients from sticking and burning. Remove from heat as soon as the chocolate is liquid and place it in a bowl at room temperature. 
    Chocolate and salted butter melting in a pot
  • You can also melt the chocolate and salted butter using the double broiler method, use a heatproof mixing bowl and place it over a sauce pan with a small amount of simmering hot water.
    Melting the chocolate and butter using a double broiler method
  • Preheat the oven at 210c (410F) – or 400F if your oven doesn’t have the option to heat to 410F.
  • Add the eggs to the melted chocolate and butter, mix well, for best results use a handheld whisk.
    Use a whisk to mix in the eggs
  • Next use a spoon to add mix in the sugar, mix well and add the flour. Stir until you obtain a smooth mix.
  • Lightly grease a rectangular bread baking mold by coating it with butter on all inner sides. This cake can also be baked in ramekins if you want molten lava chocolate cakes.
    Pour the cake batter into a lightly greased baking mold
  • Pour the mix in the bake mold and bake for ~15- 20 minutes at 400F (or 13-15 minutes at 210c/410F). The cake will be done when the edges start to get golden and separate from the baking mold. The center might still be soft.
  • If baking in individual ramekins, they will be done after baking for 10-12 minutes at 400F.
    Baking molten lava cakes in ramekins
  • Let the cake cool down for 5 minutes for the rectangle mold or 3 minutes for the ramekins, then gently remove it from the mold.
    Molten chocolate cake baked in a rectangular mold
  • Serve the cake immediately with fresh berries and basil or mint. You can also serve it with ice cream, whipped cream, berry sauce, etc.


The cake can be kept in the fridge and consumed cold later on. You can also give it 20-30 seconds in the microwave if you prefer it warm and soft.
Ingredients for molten chocolate cake or moelleux au chocolat

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  1. I made this recipe today and it was great hit. Nothing left… Can you believe it was all gone before was completely cooled down! Everyone in my family loved it and are demanding I make more for New Year Eve. THANK YOU for a great recipe!

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