Rich, nutty, creamy tahini and chocolate come together in these gloriously elegant lava cakes.
I’ve been sitting on this recipe for weeks now.
Probably as many weeks as I spent getting it perfect in small batches for Jason and Theo and I. Over and over. And then for a few guests. And then just for the three of us again. And then finally, when I felt like it was ready to share here I went ahead and made it for my whole family and it turned out less like molten cake and more like shards of cake swimming in delicious tahini and chocolate and I lost all confidence again.
Baking will do that to you. But I’ve recovered after a few weeks of hindsight, so I decided that it’s time to get it down on my version of paper–because let’s be honest, writing it by hand would make my hand cramp up. Anything more than signing my name makes my hand cramp up these days.
Let’s start with what got me completely obsessed: tahini in dessert. It’s rich, nutty, creamy, and so so perfect when paired with brown sugar. I’ve been on a tahini dessert rampage, if there is such a thing. I’ve made tahini tea cake and tahini cookies and dreamt about all the ways that Ottelenghi uses tahini in his sweets that I get to experience when we’re in London in a few months. Basically, if you’ve invested in sesame seeds recently and seen off the chart returns, I take 100 percent credit.
Anyways. Back to the molten cake. The good news is that the preparation is surprisingly simple, but the trick comes when you bake. Knowing just when your cakes are perfect molten levels is tough, considering you can’t poke lest you let out all the good stuff and if you flip too early you end up with a real messy albeit delicious pile of cake goo.
So I’ll leave you with my one piece of advice. Watch it carefully. Look for the browning color. Where you choose to err is up to you: too early leads to aforementioned pile of cake goo (delicious). Too late leads to fully set tiny cake (also delicious but far less dramatic, especially when you’re expecting some ooze). Get it right, and you’ll find a perfectly set outside with a combination of warm tahini and chocolate in the center that runs out in the most elegant of ways. So the thing is, you can’t go wrong.
Vicky Cassidy can usually be found in her Madison, WI kitchen with cumin or paprika in her hair and olive oil smudges on her camera. She is a self-taught cook and the occasional baker, and she loves oversharing stories about her kitchen and life on Things I Made Today.