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Chocolate fondant or lava cake is sheer alchemy at work yet it’s easy to make. But like many classic and easy recipes, much can go wrong – the worst of all is that if you allow the puddings to cool down, the molten chocolate lava in the centre will solidify! That will rob the little cakes of their oozing glory, so serve immediately after baking and unmoulding.

Everyday Chocolate-Cinnamon Fondant


  • soft butter for greasing
  • cocoa for sprinkling
  • 100 g milk chocolate, chopped in small pieces
  • 100 g dark chocolate (Albany), chopped in pieces
  • 200 g salted butter
  • 4 whole large eggs
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 125 ml (100 g) caster sugar
  • 250 ml (125 g) cake flour
  • 20 ml ground cinnamon
  • 45 ml cocoa powder

Chef's hint: Chocolate fondants are notoriously hard to get out of their baking vessels. Follow the directions given in the method but if you can’t manage to remove them, give it up. Serve them simply in the ramekins and add a cheeky dollop of sweetened crème fraiche on top to make it look special. The taste will be the same and the chocolate lava inside will stay molten for longer in the ramekin. Cooking is so flexible! Also take note that the cooking times of chocolate fondant varies depending on your oven (fan-forced or not), the amount of batter in the baking vessel and what the vessel is made from: glass, ceramic or metal. The best is to find a perfect size and type of baking vessel (I like ceramic tea cups) and only use those for baking your chocolate fondants albeit the expensive bitter chocolate varieties or the cheap and cheerful ones like these!


Grease 6 x 180 ml (or 8 x 125-ml) -capacity ramekins generously with the soft butter then place in the fridge so that the butter can set. Meanwhile, cut circles from baking paper to fit snugly into the bottom of the ramekins (cartouche). Now repeat greasing the ramekins generously with more soft butter, the paper cartouche included. Sprinkle the insides of the ramekins with a little cocoa powder. Shake and tilt the ramekins so that the cocoa covers the butter. Tip out excess cocoa and return the ramekins to the fridge.

Over a saucepan of just-simmering water, place a glass or metal bowl. Ensure that the bottom does not touch the water. Add the chocolate and butter and allow to melt completely. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir until smooth. Leave to cool – about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile in a separate bowl and using an electric whisk, whisk together the whole eggs, yolks and sugar until thick and pale, trebled in volume and when lifted with the mixer whisks, the mixture leaves a ribbony trial. Now sift together the flour, cinnamon and cocoa and using an ordinary dinner fork, fold it lightly and not too efficiently into the egg mixture. Next, add a third of the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and fold in lightly. Repeat with the remaining two thirds. Do not over-mix the batter: your efficiency will knock the air out that took you so long time to whisk in!

Transfer the batter to a jug and pour it into the ramekins. Bake in the oven preheated to 200 º C for 10 – 12 minutes until the tops are clearly cooked and the sides are slightly pulling away from the ramekins. Remove from the oven, allow two minute’s resting before unmoulding the fondants onto individual serving plates. Serve at once with any accompaniment or garnish that you fancy.

Serves 6 or 8