Good Eats: Molten Lava Cake with Cherry-Brandy Reduction

I think it’s time to share with you a taste of my culinary merits. I’ve mentioned before that Nancy and I both love to cook. But as we are quite multifaceted, we’ve yet to really share our cooking until now. Again, why are men not proposing to us on a weekly basis?

I love to cook an elaborate meal, (1) because I have a natural urge to dazzle others, but more importantly (2) because I love to treat my friends and family to a good meal. Gourmet cooking takes effort, patience and finesse. Growing up with parents who liked fine dining, traveling frequently and trying new and exotic cuisine, I quickly attained a high standard to compare against. As I grew older, I wanted to make the things that I ate at restaurants with my parents. Why couldn’t I, right? In fact, why couldn’t I make these things better? Remember I’m a perpetual overachiever.

The issue with cooking restaurant quality meals at home is that very few meals can impress me anymore. Even at some of the best restaurants in NYC, I’m bored unless there’s something new and interesting or simply exceptionally well done. I told you, I’m one of the bougiest 23-year-olds that you’ll ever meet. Some of the things that my sister and I cook at Christmas rival what’s served at Jean Georges restaurants. But actually. Luckily I live in one of the culinary capitals of the world and for every sub-par, exorbitantly expensive meal there is something truly fascinating to try and rave about.

In any event, last weekend I cooked a 3 course meal with the wholehearted intention to impress. (Sidenote: Extravagant cooking is actually a family technique on how to nab a man)  I started with a Cold Zucchini Salad in an Almond Pesto, followed up with a pistachio-encrusted halibut in a blood orange reduction, finished with a Molten Lava Chocolate cake with Brandy-soaked cherries. As I’ve made this dessert 3 times in the last month, always to rave reviews, I’ll share with you the recipe.

This recipe is really great because it can be made ahead and just popped in the oven during dinner. The presentation makes people swoon and it’s also easy to make more based on your party size. Enjoy and stay posted for more Nance&Brian Goodeats.


  • 1 14-oz bag of frozen pitted dark sweet cherries, thawed and undrained
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ¼ cup of brandy
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
  • Powdered sugar


Combine cherries with juices, 1/4 cup sugar, brandy, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer until sauce thickens and is slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Remove 1/4 cup cherries from sauce; drain well. Transfer to work surface and chop coarsely; reserve chopped cherries for cakes. Set aside cherry sauce.

Butter two ramekins (Using baking cooking spray also works well here). Whisk cocoa and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in small bowl to blend. Stir chocolate and butter in heavy small saucepan over low heat until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat; whisk in cocoa mixture. Whisk in egg yolks, then whole egg and flour. Fold in reserved 1/4 cup chopped cherries. Divide batter between prepared ramekins. (Sauce and cake batter can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately; chill.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake cakes uncovered until edges are set but center is still shiny and tester inserted into center comes out with some wet batter attached, about 18-20 minutes.

Warm sauce over low heat. Cut around cakes to loosen; turn out onto plates. Spoon sauce alongside. Sift powdered sugar over; garnish with mint.

Note: I usually take glamour shots of the food I make but for this occasion serving on time was of utmost importance. You’ll have to deal with an Insta pic 😉

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2 thoughts on “Good Eats: Molten Lava Cake with Cherry-Brandy Reduction

  1. The Cougar says:

    You are definitely outcooking me lately but then I’ve been outslutting you lately.

  2. Pam says:

    Love ^ comment.

    Also, this was SO good…personally I think the next time I make it I would omit the cherries from the actual cake itself and just reserve all for the top, but that’s just my personal preference. Maybe I’ll make it Sunday and provide you with a glamor shot 🙂

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