I’m going to let you in on a little secret. The best chocolate lava cake isn’t at a restaurant. You won’t have to order it 20 minutes in advance and pay $10 for it. It’s at Trader Joe’s and not only is it the best lava cake, it’s the best dessert, period.
Chocolate lava cakes are my personal obsession. I’ve tried them everywhere, from Irish pubs to schmantzy steak houses, and I always come back to Joe’s. I’ve even tried making them from scratch and still, TJ’s version beats the pants off every attempt.
You have two options when it comes to preparing the cake: preheat your oven to 400 degrees, then go absolutely crazy while you bake the cakes for about 15-17 additional minutes. OR, remove the plastic wrapping and pop them in the microwave for 45 seconds. Personally, I opt for method #2. The box instructs you to place the cakes upside down on a plate before heating them up, but don’t. Just take the plastic wrapping off, put them right side up in their paper cups, and nuke em.
After letting the cakes cool for a bit, place them upside down in a bowl and pop them out of their paper cups. Bowls are necessary because of the next step: adding ice cream. This is crucial. Luckily, you can get your ice cream in the same place, since TJ’s makes the best French vanilla ice cream on the planet. A quart of it costs $3.99 (that’s less than Ben and Jerry’s, for twice as much). Put a big scoop right on top of the cake and dig in, preferably in front of the TV, in your PJs.
If you had any hesitation of adding ice cream to an already decadent dessert, it’ll be obliterated after the first bite. The rich, warm chocolate cake and the cool, slightly melty ice cream are the ultimate combination. I wasn’t kidding when I said this is my favorite dessert, ever. Did I mention the cakes are only $2.99 (and two come in a box?). That means the best dessert ever costs about $2.50 (including the ice cream).