These lovely Little Lemon Lava Cakes are a lemon lovers dream, with warm lemon curd spilling from a light cake. Made with an easy homemade lemon curd.
I never tire of lemon desserts and when I spied this recipe for lemon lava cakes, I couldn’t wait to try them. They were everything I imagined and more. The warm lemon curd spilling out of the light cake shell was the perfect after-dinner dessert.
Unlike some other lava cakes, that magically create their molten centres, these require a more direct approach to achieving the lava affect. Although not magical, it is not difficult to achieve. A piping bag and a plain tip makes quick work of it, but if you don’t have a piping bag, I’ve included an alternate method of getting the curd in the middle. When using the piping bag, be sure not to squeeze until the tip is in to the batter and then squeeze very gently to avoid the curd bubbling up through the top or sides. The goal is to keep the curd encased in the middle of the batter to enjoy the full lava effect.
Cook’s Notes for Little Lemon Lava Cakes
I used round-bottomed ramekins, but regular ramekins will work just as well.
Do be sure to remove the cakes from the ramekins shortly after baking. The sugar that is used to dust the ramekins bakes up to a crispy finish, but only if they are taken out of the ramekins quickly. Otherwise, the crispy bits will be lost.
Little Lemon Lava Cakes
For the lemon curd:
- 1/2 cup freshly squeeze lemon juice from about 3 lemons
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- A pinch of sea salt
- 3 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butte cold, cubed
For the cakes:
- 7 Tbsp unsalted butter soft
- 5 Tbsp white sugar plus 1 tbsp for dusting
- 2 large eggs
- 2 Tbsp whole milk
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp.)
Make the lemon curd: Place all the ingredients for the lemon curd except the butter in a medium saucepan on a medium-low heat. Heat, whisking continuously for 5-8 minutes, or until the mixture thickens. You don't want the mixture to boil.
Once the mixture has thickened, reduce heat to low and whisk in the butter, cube by cube. Take off the heat once all the butter has completely melted. Pour into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours.
Make the cakes: Preheat the oven to 400° Butter six ramekins and dust them generously with some white sugar. Set on a baking sheet and set aside.
In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Lightly beat the eggs, then gradually add them to the bowl, beating all the time. Add the milk and lemon zest. Add the flour into the mix and incorporate well.
(*Alternate filling method if you don't have a piping bag - fill each ramekin about 1/3 full. Using a spoon, make a well in the middle by pushing the batter away from the middle to the sides. Place 1 Tbsp. or so of the chilled lemon curd in the well that you made, then gently cover the curd with more batter, until ramekin is 3/4 full.)
Divide the cake batter between the ramekins until each is just over half full.
Take your refrigerated lemon curd and place in to a piping bag, fitted with a plain tip. Insert the tip into the centre of each batter-filled ramekin. Gently pipe the curd into each one until the ramekins are two-thirds full. (*Make sure you don't leave a hole in the batter after removing the piping tip. If so, use a spoon to gently cover it in.) Place filled ramekins on a baking tray.
Bake in pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and the cakes spring back when touched.
Immediately run a knife around the edges of the cakes before turning out from the ramekins on to plates. Serve straight away.
Be sure to read the "Cook's Notes" in the original post, for more tips, options, substitutions and variations for this recipe!
Recipe adapted from Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook