Black & white lava cake

Black & white lava cake

The Desserts of New York
Alicia Taylor

Like most New Yorkers, I find the black and white cookie – a sponge cake round covered in fondant – underwhelming. These days, only a handful of bakeries still bother to make the original.

But the sweet New York icon lives on in the city’s countless inspired desserts, from Mah-Ze-Dahr’s snickerdoodle and Amy’s Bread’s towering layer cake to the sundae at Russ & Daughters Cafe and OTTO’s gelato coupe. Its appeal is understandably enduring – chocolate, vanilla and killer monochromatic looks.

The idea for my own black and white creation came to life one afternoon over Spot Dessert Bar’s signature chocolate lava cake with a surprise green liquid matcha centre. Michel Bras first created the dessert in the 1980s with an oozy chocolate ganache core; here, it’s luscious cream that theatrically spills out.


Quantity Ingredient
240ml double cream
180g dark chocolate, finely chopped
180g unsalted butter, chopped
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules dissolved in 2 teaspoons warm water
4 eggs
165g caster sugar
115g plain flour
pure icing sugar, to dust
straciatelle ice cream, to serve


  1. Place 60 ml of cream in the centre of a small piece of plastic wrap, then twist the edges to enclose into a ball. Repeat to make four balls in total, then freeze for 2 hours or until firm (the cream won’t be frozen through).
  2. Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water) and stir until melted and combined. Add the coffee and stir to combine, then remove from the heat and cool slightly. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and caster sugar until well combined, then whisk in the flour. Add the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture and whisk to combine.
  3. Grease four 250 ml dariole moulds. Fill the moulds 1 cm deep with chocolate batter. Unwrap the cream balls and place on top, then pour over the chocolate batter to cover (the batter will come almost to the top). Freeze for 3 hours or until firm.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  5. Place the dariole moulds on a baking tray, then bake the cakes for 25 minutes or until the top is cooked and the edges are pulling away from the sides. (It’s hard to tell visually when the cakes are perfectly cooked, but it’s better to have them slightly over than under otherwise the cakes will collapse.) Cool for 5 minutes then, working quickly and carefully, invert the cakes out of the moulds into bowls. Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately with quenelles of stracciatella ice cream, if desired.


  • You can also serve the cakes in the moulds. It’s safer if you’re not sure that they’re adequately baked around the sides, and (almost) as showstopping.
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