Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Lava
We love this cake because it is kind of fancy and yet homespun at the same time. It is from Classic Recipes for Modern Peopleby Max and Eli Sussman as are the Butter Scotch Pancakes (with chocolate chunks). The cake is pretty straightforward, enriched with cocoa and buttermilk. The Bundt pan is a must so that you have the hole to hold the “lava”, which is a white chocolate-strawberry creation. Make sure to pour the lava in the middle right before serving or you will have premature lava flow. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
Excerpted with permission. Classic Recipes for Modern Peopleby Max and Eli Sussman. Published by Weldon Owens, 2015. Photos by Erin Kunkel.
We were young kids in 1997 when Hollywood brought us two of the finest volcano films ever, both of which revitalized the stale volcano-film genre. Tommy Lee Jones delivered a heartbreaking performance in Volcano, and Pierce Brosnan plucked our heartstrings as a volcanologist in Dante’s Peak. We’ve seen them both hundreds, if not thousands, of times. And using those two classic films as inspiration, we’ve taken the molten lava cake of our youth and reinvented it as an actual volcano cake that erupts strawberry ganache when you slice it.
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- 9 oz (280 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup (8 oz/250 g) granulated sugar
- ¾ cup (6 fl oz/180 ml) canola oil
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups (10 oz/315 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (11/2 oz/45 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 Tbsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) buttermilk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (1 oz/30 g) confectioners’ sugar
- ½ cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) heavy cream
- 8 oz (250 g) white melting chocolate
- 1 cup (4 oz/125 g) strawberries, stemmed and chopped
- 1 tsp rose water
- Pinch of kosher salt
- To make the cake, place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350°F (180°C). Using your hand or a paper towel, rub the butter thoroughly over all of the interior surfaces of a 10-inch (25-cm) Bundt pan, then spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- In the top pan of a double boiler, melt 3 oz (90 g) of the chocolate over (but not touching) simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Scrape the chocolate into a large bowl and whisk in the granulated sugar. Add the canola oil and whisk until smooth and fully incorporated. Add the egg and whisk until smooth.
- In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add half of the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir until fully incorporated. Add half of the buttermilk and whisk until incorporated. Repeat this process with the remaining flour mixture and buttermilk. Add the vanilla and mix well.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out mostly clean (a few small crumbs are okay, but there should be no batter on the toothpick), about 45 minutes.
- Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert a plate over the pan, invert the pan and plate together, and lift off the pan. Let the cake cool completely.
- While the cake is cooling, make the ganache. In the top pan of a double boiler, melt the remaining 6 oz (185 g) chocolate over (but not touching) simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar and stir well so it melts into the chocolate. Add 1⁄4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) of the cream and stir well until smooth, then add the remaining 1⁄4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) cream and stir well. Remove from the heat and let the ganache cool for a few minutes. It should be thick but pourable. Pour the ganache over the top of the cooled cake and let it set and harden for 30—45 minutes.
- To make the lava, in the top pan of a double boiler, melt the white chocolate over (but not touching) simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Fold in the strawberries and stir well. Add the rose water and salt and stir well. Once the mixture is smooth and pourable, pour it into the center of the cake. Cut into slices—the strawberry-laced lava will erupt as you cut—and serve.