The first phrase that comes to mind when I think of Rachel Khoo is ‘zest for life’! And that’s why it’s beyond fitting that I picked her Lemon Lava Cakes to recreate in this installment of the Monday Muse series. Because, really, what is more ZESTY than a LEMON LAVA CAKE? 😀
I can still remember the first time she appeared on my television screen (and came into my life, as creepy as that may sound!). I was channel surfing, when I saw her cooking up a feast in Little Paris Kitchen: Cooking with Rachel Khoo. I stopped and watched, as she chopped and stirred and sauteed; all the time with a smile that reached her eyes. Not the plastic kind that stewardesses wear on airplanes. The genuine kind of smile that transcends the TV screen and connects with the viewer in a truly personal way. 🙂
I didn’t quite understand all the techniques or ingredients she was using (some of them weren’t to be found back then in Oman). But Rachel’s energy, passion for food and her personality, bubbling with warmth and love, made me an instant fan. I can’t say that I’ve ardently followed every bit of her journey, because that’s not true, yet her warmth and passion towards food and flavour stayed with me and have been a continued influence and inspiration throughout my food journey.
Just when I thought that the coolest thing Rachel had ever done was run a cozy, two-person restaurant, right in her Parisian apartment, she started Khoollect – a creative space bursting with inspiration, joy, a bubbly tone and a fresh voice. Everything I love about Rachel Khoo! ❤
Without further ado, let’s get on with the recipe. This recipe serves 2. Here’s what you need:
For the Lemon Curd ‘Lava’:
- Juice of 1 & 1/2 lemon
- Caster Sugar – 100 g
- Egg – 1
- A pinch of salt
- Unsalted Butter – 20 g, cold and cubed
For the Lemon Sponge:
- Unsalted Butter – 50 g, room temperature + extra for greasing
- Sugar – 40 g + extra for dusting ramekins
- Egg – 1
- Greek Yogurt – 1 tbsp
- Zest of 1 & 1/2 lemon
- All Purpose Flour – 50 g
- Vanilla Extract – 1/2 tsp
- Icing Sugar – 2 tbsp
Here’s how you make these gorgeous, golden Lemon Lava Cakes:
- For the Lemon Curd: Place the lemon juice, sugar, egg and salt in a bowl placed over a pot of simmering water. Make sure the water does not touch the base of the bowl. Gently stir the mixture continuously for 5-8 minutes until it is thick and glossy. Immediately strain the Lemon Curd and whisk in the unsalted butter, one cube at a time, ensuring that the butter has completely melted into the curd before the next addition. Cover and set aside to cool for 30 minutes. Then pour the Lemon Curd into a piping bag and refrigerate until using.
- For the Lemon Sponge: Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Lightly beat the egg and pour it into the batter while simultaneously mixing. Add in the lemon zest, Greek yogurt and vanilla extract. Sift the flour into the batter and beat until just mixed through.
- Preheat the oven to 190 °C/ 375 °F. Lightly grease the ramekins with butter and dust with caster sugar. Then divide the batter between the two ramekins until half full, reserving a little. Snip the piping bag, insert the tip into the centre of the batter and pipe in the Lemon curd until two-thirds full. Spoon the remaining batter into the ramekins and place them on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes (I baked these lava cakes for 18 minutes). Once done, pull the ramekins out and run a sharp knife around the edges. Turn the cakes out onto plates, dust some icing sugar over them and serve immediately.
I was all kinds of nervous while baking these Lemon Lava Cakes. When they were rising to the occasion in the oven, I was panicking over whether the lava has stayed in the centre. Or if it has decided to break away and spread its wings, leaving no lava to ooze out from the centre when cut into. You guys, food blogger anxiety is real! 😛
But thanks to Rachel Khoo’s foolproof recipe, these Lemon Lava Cakes turned out beautifully intact with no sign of Lemon Curd Lava rebelling. Cutting into these lovely golden cakes brings such satisfaction – a spoon tucked into the cake sees a spring of lava at the top, only to recede while you continue scooping out the sponge to reveal an oozing centre of velvety, amber lava goodness flowing out in slow-motion. It’s the kind of moment which would render a cartoon character heart-eyed and gawking! 😉
The flavours and textures on these beauties are crazy good. The light sponge with a strong exterior and soft interior is laced with chewy lemon zest that makes for a delightful texture. Take a bite and it’s bang bang BANG in your mouth! Lots of zing and LOTS OF ZEST! The boyfriend describes it as a slap to one’s taste buds (he means in a good way, peeps!). I would describe it as an awakening of your taste buds! The most blissful, tangy wake-up call your taste buds will ever experience! 😀
If you go gaga for citrusy, lemon-y desserts, this is your jam (or should I say, your lava?)! Bake these Lemon Lava Cakes up for your citrus-loving loved ones and watch the smiles unfold as they savour these slices of sunshine! ❤
For regular updates on what’s happening in The Foodscape kitchen, follow us on Instagram at @thefoodscape! You’ll love all the deliciousness there, I promise! ❤