Just like the word â€œcool,â€ a slang word from the 1960s thatâ€™s shown incredible staying power and become part of our lexicon, so has this particular under-cooked chocolate cake thatâ€™s also going the way of cool.
Known by myriad names: fallen chocolate cake, chocolate volcano, molten chocolate cake, chocolate lava, pudding cake, etc., to me theyâ€™re just lava cakes. I like these little things because they donâ€™t require a brain to bake up plus the batter can be made ahead of time, refrigerated, and then baked at the last minute. Straight from the oven, itâ€™s a thrill to stab one with a spoon and watch gleefully as the soft â€“ dare I say it? â€“ molten! center seeps out like sludge.
Heeding the siren call of making something warm and chocolate-y and peanut buttery, Iâ€™m trying out a recipe from a food magazine that I read occasionally. My mind is on what Iâ€™m doing but also on trying to keep up a conversation with my Bin who himself is tinkering with the toys in his toolbox. And of course the radio is blasting as it always is when Iâ€™m in the kitchen.
Here I am greasing the ramekins, cutting up chocolate, and weighing out the ingredients on my digital scale. â€œWhatâ€™re you making, Mom?â€ I suddenly hear Booâ€™s voice behind me. â€œOh, just some lava cakes, hon,â€ I reply absent-mindedly. How many grams are in an ounce again? The question echoes in my head. â€œChocolate?â€ Boo asks again, after surveying the ingredients laid out on the counter. Oh right, 28, I remember. â€œMm-hmm,â€ I answer her distractedly.
I hear Boo skipping to where her dad is, and then she shouts, â€œMamaâ€™s making larva cakes!â€ My head jerks up, disbelieving what I hear, and then a chuckle escapes from my lips. â€œBoo Boo, itâ€™s lava cakes not larva!â€ I yell. â€œYeah, larva,â€ my daughter replies, already busy with a toy. Aw heck, who am I to tell my 6-year-old that thereâ€™s a difference between lava and larva?
Later at the table, Booâ€™s eyes widen in wonder as she watches me run a knife around the edges of the little cakes and then flipping them over onto dessert plates. I hand her a teaspoon and, following her dadâ€™s lead, she pokes the cake. Seeing the resultant khaki-colored ooze sheâ€™s rewarded with, she giggles. Itâ€™s terrific, this melding of hot pudding and cold ice cream, chocolate and peanut butter, lava and larva (!) â€¦
â€¦ and delighting in my daughterâ€™s renaming of a favorite dessert. Now thatâ€™s cool.