Lava Cake Filling Doesn't Always Have To Be Chocolate

chocolate lava cake with berries and ice cream
chocolate lava cake with berries and ice cream - Arx0nt/Getty Images

The molten chocolate lava cake is the perfect indulgence. A warm, individual, souffle-adjacent chocolate cake with filling that oozes when cut into, it first emerged as a decadent dessert course favorite at Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's New York restaurant. But the cake typically baked in a ramekin is more than just a dessert — it's a truly dynamic sensory experience that challenges your tastebuds to process multiple tastes and textures simultaneously. And while traditional molten lava cakes are known for their luxurious chocolatey center, professional and amateur dessert chefs have taken to experimenting with variations of unique, unexpected fillings that take the dessert to the next level.

The deep flavor of chocolate sponge cake, in partnership with its light, airy texture, enables it to serve as a versatile base for ingredients from caramel to marshmallows, fruit fillings to nut butters. But the key to a successful filling is to be mindful of texture — you want a thick filling that won't become absorbed into the sponge cake, but that isn't so thick it won't run. After all, what's a lava cake without lava?

Read more: Cake Hacks Every Baker Will Wish They Knew Sooner

Delicious Fillings For Your Lava Cake

jar of peanut butter with spoon
jar of peanut butter with spoon - Sanny11/Getty Images

Chocolate sponge cake is an ideal base for a range of fillings. Take the decadent satisfaction of a peanut butter-chocolate combination, for example. Peanut butter makes a great filling for your lava cake, as its salty, nutty flavor is the perfect complement to the rich sweetness of the chocolate cake. But it's important that you don't use natural-style peanut butter in your filling, as it's typically less sweet and thinner in texture. Instead, opt for quality regular peanut butter (smooth, not crunchy). Mix 1 ½ tablespoons of it with one tablespoon of softened butter and one tablespoon of powdered sugar for a delicious, gooey center.

Not a peanut butter lover? Revamping your lava cake with a fruit-based filling is an equally decadent variation, and only requires one simple pantry ingredient: Jam. Simply spoon ½ teaspoon of your favorite strawberry, raspberry, or mixed berry jam into the center of each lava cake and top with batter before baking and the slight tartness of the berries will balance out the richness of the chocolate to deliver an undeniably romantic flavor pairing. Alternatively, you can use fruit preserves as your filling successfully, but note that your filling will be slightly thicker. And if you're feeling adventurous, try a matcha green tea filling by adding one teaspoon of sifted matcha powder to 4 1/2 ounces of melted white chocolate to create a light, unique flavor with a stunning visual impact.

Other Delicious Flavor Pairings For Your Lava Cake Filling

espresso powder in jar with wooden spoon
espresso powder in jar with wooden spoon - Aegeanblue/Getty Images

There are a myriad of delicious pairings that will enhance the flavors of your lava cake fillings. If you'd like to add some pep to your batter, you can add 1-1/2 teaspoon of espresso powder to your chocolate to give your sponge cake an even richer, more robust feel — this flavor will pair well with your peanut butter (or even matcha) filling and add an earthy vibe to your dessert. Alternatively, 1/4 teaspoon of mint extract added to your batter will balance out the sweetness of the chocolate with a hint of sharpness, a pairing that will also work well with the nuttiness of the peanut butter filling. Surprised? Don't be — peanut butter, mint, and chocolate is an unexpected flavor combination that works well in cookies, pies, and even fudge, too. But be sure not to overdo it on the mint though. You want it light and complementary to your other flavors, but not overpowering.

If you're looking for a flavor pairing for your mixed berry filling, look no further than raspberry extract. Add four teaspoons of extract to your lava cake batter to enhance the flavor of your sponge cake and complement that fruity filling. Get creative and enjoy.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.