Recipe Showdown: Chocolate Lava Cake

Our new series sets two famous recipes up against one other: a classic vs. an offshoot. This week, we're comparing two versions of molten chocolate cake. It's Jean-Georges' famous recipe vs. Martha Stewart's version. Who'll win? Find out below.

By now, everyone knows what molten chocolate cake is (right???). It's also known as chocolate lava cake or warm chocolate cake. Practically every restaurant has a version of the recipe on its dessert menu. It's basically the richest chocolate cake you can think of, in miniature form. The key is that it's purposely under-baked to reveal a thick, hot fudge-like center that oozes out when you dig your spoon in.

Supposedly, it was invented by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten in 1987 when he accidentally undercooked a batch of mini chocolate cakes. (You can find his famous cake on the dessert menu at his namesake restaurant.) But his recipe has been contested by others, namely Jacques Torres, who claim French chefs have been making the cake a lot longer.

But now every chef has their version of the recipe -- even Paula Deen. For this showdown we decided to set Jean-Georges' recipe against Martha Stewart's, since her recipe is the most popular in Google's search results. (There are several different versions of Jean-Georges' recipe out there, but we decided to use the one from Food & Wine because it was the most popular searched version.) So, it's ...

Jean-Georges (Get the recipe): Key difference -- this recipe uses melted butter, and the oven temp is 450 degrees F with a cooking time of 12 minutes.
Martha Stewart (Get the recipe): Key difference -- this recipe uses creamed butter, and the oven temp is only 400 degrees F with a cooking time of just 8 to 10 minutes.

Want to know the winner? Click through the gallery below to the final slide! We were surprised at how easy both cakes were to make -- each recipe took no more than 15 minutes to prepare. Once we saw and tasted the two competing cakes, the winner was clear!

molten chocolate cakes