Jean-Georges Vongerichten claims to have invented molten chocolate cake in New York City in 1987. However, French chocolatier Jacques Torres disputes this, arguing that such a dish already existed in France. Chocolate lava cake can be served right after baking. However, and for better handling, it is best to be rewarmed afterward. Chocolate lava cake can be served as is or topped with whipped vanilla ganache montée (Upgraded Chantilly), or vanilla ice cream (Look up at Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe).
Place a saucepan with 2''/5cm of water on a burner; on low heat. Place your chopped chocolate, and butter in a heatproof bowl. The simmering water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Do not over heat the chocolate-butter mixture. Meanwhile, beat eggs and sugar. For this recipe you can use six or twelve 3.5''/9cm Ø x 3/4''/2cm H, Exoglass tart rings, or two 6.5''/ 16.5cm fluted-nonstick brioche molds. To purchase these molds, look up at my Shop Page. Fill up greased pastry rings (3.3oz/90 grams per serving and about a pound/450g for buttered and floured brioche mold). Sprinkle each cake with a light pinch of fleur de sel if desired. Refrigerate chocolate cakes for up to 5 days prior baking.
Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Bake individual cakes for about 9 minutes. It takes longer to cook if the rings are taller and the chocolate mixture is cooler than room temp. Large cake should take 18 minutes. Cool lava cakes to room temp, and chill completely prior removing from sheet pan, or mold. If served right after baking, transfer cake on plate using a large offset spatula.
Soak gelatin in cold water to soften; drain and set aside. Slightly melt white chocolate in a narrow container. Bring to a boil the first half of the heavy cream with the vanilla. Turn off the heat and let infuse for about 30 min. Remove vanilla pod, squeeze and rinse. Let dry out in the oven for 5 minutes, and save it for garnishing. Pour hot heavy cream in the barely melted chocolate, mix and add gelatin. Add remaining chilled heavy cream and sour cream. Blend well and chill overnight. Whip ganache montée to a medium-firm peaks Chantilly.
*To make praliné from scratch, look up at Chocolate Swans Recipe. Praliné can be subbed for Nutella. Gently melt milk chocolate with butter. Mix in praliné, or Nutella. Add crushed corn flakes. For the individual lava cakes only, roll out between 2 parchment paper, or silicone mat into a 1/4''/5mm thick sheet. Refrigerate and cut into disks that should be smaller in diameter than the tart rings – keep refrigerated.
Microwave lava cake for a few seconds, or until the center of the cake juggles. Top with crunchy praliné and Chantilly rosette – Enjoy!