Campus is Cookin’: Chocolate Lava Cake

At my friend’s ninth birthday party, I saw a chocolate lava cake for the very first time in my life.

We went to Applebee’s for dinner, the height of haute cuisine for nine year olds, and sat in one of the wide, circular booths, splitting all of our dishes family-style.

The vegetables went to the adults, while the fries went in a giant pile in the middle for the kids.

Then came a miniature cake in a puddle of chocolate sauce and whipped cream with a candle sitting in the middle.

We sang the birthday song, and then my friend made the requisite wish and blew out the candles.

She tentatively cut into the cake, and it was as if the entire cake had been held together by sheer force of will.

It collapsed under the pressure of the tines, and the crumbs scattered everywhere, dotting the whipped cream with speckles of chocolate.

But this wasn’t the astonishing part. No, it was the rush of chocolate that came spilling out of the cake, heavy, gooey and smooth enough to stay glued to her fork, gathering crumbs along the way.

While it may not seem like it at first, Commons has everything you need to make a chocolate lava cake. Start with the same chocolate sauce base used for the mousse. Melt a couple scoops of chocolate chips, a little butter, sugar and half-and-half in a soup bowl. Stir periodically until the chocolate is glossy and smooth.

In another soup bowl, pour in a little bit of the waffle batter, about half the cup. Stir the chocolate sauce into the waffle batter until it becomes a light coffee color similar to that of hot chocolate.

Make sure the soup bowl is only half full with the chocolate-mixed waffle batter, otherwise the cake will overflow. If needed, fill two bowls.

Now take some chocolate chips and heat them until they are just barely melted. The chocolate chips should clump together easily.

Scoop the mixture into balls and drop them into the batter. Then microwave the cake mixture for two to three minutes. The cake is done when the top is solidified.

When you stick a coffee stick into the cake it should bring out chocolate, not batter.

Before the cake cools too much, dollop a small scoop of whipped cream on top, or add a sprinkling of granulated sugar from the coffee station. For a firmer texture, omit the spoonful of chocolate added into the batter.

Make a frosting with some butter, sugar and a little cream cheese, and spread it evenly onto the still warm cake. Either way, this cake is delicious and easy to make. Good luck and bon appétit!