Pro-tip: There few ways to melt somebody’s heart faster than through molten chocolate cake. (To implement the only equally effective way, see my recipe from Oct. 4, 2012 for coconut-macadamia squares.) This particular dessert combines all the best qualities of cake, pudding, and hot chocolate, and that should be good enough for anybody. If it is not, go find someone else. You deserve better than this.

This Valentine’s Day, whether you are single, betrothed, polygamous, or somewhere in between, you probably have a good excuse to eat ridiculous amounts of chocolate. This leaves you with two options: you can make yourself sick on Hershey’s Kisses, or you can make yourself sick on both Hershey’s Kisses and molten chocolate cake.

I balked at most of the recipes out there for this particular dessert. Oddly, I don’t have ramekins, nor do I have cream of tartar. Creative substitutions are generally the name of the game, but I was hesitant to compromise on quality. Finally, I found a well-reviewed recipe on the Cooking Channel’s website for “3 Minute Chocolate ‘Cup’ Cakes.” The secret to this recipe? Microwaving the batter in a mug and serving from there.

Microwaves scare me. They do things that seem physically impossible, make alarming beeping sounds, and probably emit notable amounts of radiation. I always worry that I’ll put some harmless dish in the microwave, and a minute later it will come out with legs and a beating heart and a penchant for sphinx cats. Freaky. (To be fair, though, sphinx cats are pretty cool.)

However, as a person with a college-sized kitchen and a college-sized budget, the simplicity of this recipe called to me. The result was a surprisingly delicious version of a dessert that would usually appear in a fancy Italian kitchen, not the Butt A lounge.

Enjoy your Valentine’s Day whatever it involves, whether your endeavors are savory or sweet. Never forget that food is the single most important part of any happy relationship. Take that, Cosmo.


8 oz soft butter, cubed

8 oz dark chocolate, broken into pieces

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp orange zest

1 tsp salt

4 eggs



1. Combine the butter and chocolate and melt together in a double boiler or a microwave.

2. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, orange zest, salt, and eggs. Continue to stir while you add the melted chocolate and butter. Divide the batter among four large, microwave safe mugs.

3. Microwave for 50 seconds to 2 minutes on high power, depending on the strength of your microwave. Err on the side of cooking for a shorter period of time. Overcooking will leave your cake flavorless and sponge-textured.

4. Serve immediately with your favorite flavor of Ben and Jerry’s, and save any ice cream leftovers for a later hour. If you are making for two, horde this one for yourself and force the other person to make hir own.

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