Molten Orange Chocolate Lava Cake in a Jar {Desserts in Jars}

This recipe for molten dark chocolate lava cakes with a creamy chocolate center is seasoned with the zest of a Christmas orange and a bit of Christmas spirit(s) for a divine dessert in a jar.
Molten Orange Chocolate Lava Cakes in Jars #recipe via

Let’s discuss what makes a good holiday meal. It begins with an email from the host. Subject line: It’s Time to Prepare the Feast.

The night starts with appetizers and bloody marys, shrimp dips and weenies on toothpicks, baked brie, and an assortment of canapés. Dinner comes next. There are few things I dislike more than a ham dinner with mayonnaise waiting for me, so I am blessed that ham is served along with prime rib. Cheese-and-cream-laden potatoes are always provided, biscuits like fluffy clouds smeared with sun-yellow butter, evergreen Brussels sprouts and broccoli, a salad or two, jeweled pomegranates like mini tree lights, glistening against the sea of emerald.

Gifts come next for proper digestion before desserts and cookies of all sorts are laid out, the bar turning to after-dinner drinks. But the question, if you’re me and charged with bringing dessert, remains as to what those desserts should be. Surely Christmas is a time for celebrating, and with everyone stuffed thoroughly, satiated and smiling something small is in order, petite, perfect for resting alongside a selection of sugar-dusted confections.
Molten Orange Chocolate Lava Cakes in Jars #recipe via

Rich dark chocolate cake surrounds a molten core of orange-spiced (or is it spiked?) chocolate in a 4-ounce jar that is just the right size for a few bites of dessert. You can make these the day before, refrigerate, and then bake on demand. Plus, unbaked cakes can go home and be baked later, too, making them an ideal gift for those who forgot to save room.
Molten Orange Chocolate Lava Cakes in Jars #recipe via
While you cannot find these cakes between the pages of Desserts in Jars, you can find my book in more places than ever, including Target, World Market, Barnes & Noble, your local bookseller, and Amazon.

A Giveaway!

To celebrate the holidays, Specialty Bottle would like to give away three 12-count cases of their 4-ounce jars to three lucky readers! I’ll be tossing in three signed books to go along with each of those cases as well. Specialty Bottle carries a wide variety of jars, which I find dangerous (how many cases do I need on my shelves?).

To enter, simply leave a comment below.
Molten Orange Chocolate Lava Cakes in Jars #recipe via

Of note:

  • If you live in Seattle or find yourself in the area, you may recognize these jars as the very same as the ones Hot Cakes owner Autumn Martin uses for her amazing molten chocolate cakes. If you haven’t been there, go. Since doing a class and book signing there in August, I have several times found myself planning to relocate so that I may bring my laptop and move in to the cakery: The giant chalkboard menu, the local ingredients, the wood benches.

    Autumn makes an insanely good salted caramel sauce, and the milkshakes on the menu are the stuff of dreams (boozy shakes, too!). In fact, she has a cookbook coming out in April on just that topic, Malts & Milkshakes. Buy it. Then plan a trip to Seattle to visit her.

  • I was lucky enough to receive a few Pete and Gerry’s Organic and Heirloom Eggs for my holiday baking needs. Their rich flavor has been a wonder in everything I’ve used them in, from poaching them over my breakfast to whipping them into baked goods for the holidays. Their bright yellow yolks standing out from the rest, custards are creamier and molten lava cakes deeper in flavor. Plus, they are pretty. I did declare 2012 the year of the egg nearly 12 months ago. Perhaps I’ll keep the theme going for 2013. Eggs for all!
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces dark chocolate
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (or 1 teaspoon orange extract)
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs

Use one tablespoon of butter to butter the inside walls and bottom of six 4-ounce mason jars or ramekins. In a double boiler over simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate together. Remove from the heat and stir in the Grand Marnier and the orange zest. Sift in sugar, flour, and salt, and stir to mix. Using an electric beater, beat in the eggs one at a time, then continue beating for about 3 minutes, until the chocolate turns a slightly lighter shade of brown.

Fill jars with about 1/3 cup batter each. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400º F. Remove the jars from the refrigerator and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, just until the top is set in the center, but still slightly wobbly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired. Serve warm.

Makes 6 cakes.
Copyright © Food for My Family.

The Rules

This giveaway is provided as a collaboration between Specialty Bottle, Harvard Common Press, and my hand signing books and will run until Friday, December 21, 2012 at 11:59 pm CST and is open to all U.S. residents 18 years of age and older. Three winners will be chosen at random using from all eligible entries. Chosen winners must respond within 48 hours of notification to claim their prize. Good luck!


  1. I cannot tell a lie, orange and chocolate are not a match made in heaven for my palate. So I’ll sub a little Chambord and call it a day. Either way, make ahead cakes? Brilliant. I’d love to win some new jars. Just don’t tell James, who told me last week that glass jars are taking over the basement.

  2. HELLO…yes, please! 🙂

  3. What a wonderful idea! Can’t wait to try it.

  4. Bake-on-demand cakes… yes, that’s dangerous.

  5. My mouth is watering thinking about these little jars of deliciousness!

  6. This looks amazing! I wish I had a jar (or three) in front of me now.

  7. Sarah H.P. says:

    This recipe sounds divine! I can’t wait to try it!

  8. I love chocolate and orange (just made some chocolate cupcakes with an orange cream cheese frosting tonight). These desserts look awesome!

  9. Sunshine and chocolate (well, orange and chocolate– basically the same thing)–how utterly delicious. I will have to make these, with or without the beautiful little jars, but they’d be ever so much nicer in some shiny new jars! Thank you;-).

  10. I was reading the beginning of this post and realized that I need more 4 ounce jars. A previous set destined for hot pepper jelly now contains cranberry-orange sauce for giving. Now I’ll need more jars to make these sweet little desserts plus the hot pepper jelly!

    This recipe sounds amazing!

  11. Yum, love the chocolate and orange combo! Plus I could use some more jars AND a signed copy of you book since I never did get mine signed in Seattle, lol.

  12. Wow these look great I will be making them for sure, your desserts are always the best, Thanks!

  13. I’m charged with bringing dessert for Christmas (something different for our family because we usually just do cookies) and orange & chocolate was a combo I was considering!

  14. Thank you for the giveaway! Such a nice gift!

  15. Those jars are adorable and I’m probably not looking all that hard, but I’ve yet to see them in the stores where I tend to shop, so a case would be amazing. Thanks for this offer!

  16. I would love to win – and am definitely going to try this recipe either way. Yum!!

  17. I’m drooling over these, Shaina. I promise I would save room for these beauties!

  18. Ooh, I love this idea. Orange and chocolate are one of my favorite flavor combinations.

  19. These sound fantastic!

    Thanks for including the extract substitution-I never know how to convert liquor measurements to extract. I keep orange extract on hand, but not Grand Marnier so that’s a big help. Can’t wait to try this!

    Thanks for the nice giveaway, too!

  20. THAT is one gorgeous lava cake, ohhhhh my word.

  21. I’m all about this Christmas spirit cake 🙂

  22. I would love to win the jars and cookbook!!! These look amazing. I’m wondering if I can substitute Pamela’s Gluten-free Baking Mix for that little bit of flour? Anybody know? I think I’ll just try it anyway. Thanks!

  23. These look absolutely up my alley, and I foresee them in my future. Beautiful!

  24. These cakes look gorgeous, Shaina!! xoxo

  25. I can’t tell you how much I love these!

  26. I will definitely be trying this recipe! Thanks for posting!!

  27. Specialty Bottle is the BEST – I’ve been using some plastic jars of theirs for years for my homemade bath salts Christmas gifts. I noticed these jars with the one-piece lids on the website just recently – they would be PERFECT for the cranberry sauce that I also share at Christmas. 😀

    All that aside, I would definitely put a flat of these little jars to great use!

  28. Yum! Love that you make ahead!

  29. This sounds soo good right now. Can’t wait to try!

  30. These cakes sound delicious! Can’t wait to try them out! 🙂

  31. I love the chocolate/orange combination. It is one of my very favorites! I also love any and all food that is either cooked or served in a jar, hence, my fascination with this recipe! I have a huge board on Pinterest dedicated to food in jars… haha!

  32. do you think this would work in ramekins too? i dont have the jars…

  33. I would love to win these cutie yummy jars and I really want a copy of your book. I just started to make desserts in jars and this recipe is so divine, it will be on my list. Thank you for sponsoring this giveaway. I will keep my fingers double crossed. Happy Holidays!

  34. I love this flavor combination; I found some M&Ms in chocolate and orange that I’m already sick about when they are gone for the holidays!

    I use Specialty Bottles for their liqueur bottles…so I know them well; would be fun to have some of these on hand too.

  35. Such pretty cakes!

  36. yes! I just got Desserts in Jars (couldn’t risk my husband not getting it for me for Christmas!) and would love to have some great new jars to cook up some delicious desserts!

  37. I always need 4 oz jars….many jam gifts given. Sounds like a winner of a cake recipe! We will try it!

  38. Of course I need 4oz. jars. I’m the winner! 🙂 And, this recipe looks smashing.

  39. This looks really good.

  40. my mouth is watering just thinking about trying these. i would love to win those little jars. just started getting into gifts in jars. they would definitely help me dive in!! 🙂

  41. These look so good! Can’t wait to try the recipe.

  42. Would love to have the jars…great recipe!

  43. Hot Cakes molten chocolate cakes are so good and I have yet to find a recipe that compares. I bought one from Amber at the Ballard Farmer’s Market the last time I was in Seattle. I haven’t been back since she opened her shop, but I look forward to boozy milkshakes the next time I do. I am trying your recipe today for the molten chocolate cakes!

  44. This is a such a beautiful idea! Can’t wait to try them!

  45. Love chocolate and orange!!! I can’t wait to try this recipe but unfortunately will have to wait until after Christmas. 🙁

  46. I used to order bottles from Specialty Bottle when I had my sauce business, always cool stuff. Your cakes look so wonderful, I can’t wait to try them!

  47. I love this recipe and I definitely will be giving it a try. I love using canning jars for baking- thanks

  48. Barbara Olson says:

    Chocolate and Orange–yum. I love love love chocolate covered orange rinds. I have to try these molten lava cakes. I have my girl friends for an elegant brunch and they say my menus are over the top. I’m always looking for the ultimate recipes. This will leave them in awe. It’s a double whammy with a great dessert and a very unique serving vessel. Would be ecstatic to win some jars. thanks for the recipe!!

  49. So ready to be inspired. Thanks for the idea! I’d love to win the giveaway.

  50. I’ve always wanted to make molten cakes and I just adore that these are in mini portions…in jars even (obviously) 🙂

  51. Wow. These look amazing – and I might even be able to do them. But, I don’t have any jars. I think orange and chocolate are a divine combo! Thanks, Shaina.

  52. Great idea! I love the baked in a jar idea & I love chocolate and orange 🙂

  53. These look delicious and are going on my must-make list now 🙂

  54. I have all of my family coming over for dinner this Saturday — I’ll have to try them out!

  55. I am a total freak for cool little jars!

  56. I appreciate any type of glass jobs – would like to try them!

  57. Holly Malinowski says:

    This looks amazing,I would love to try this,it would be awesome for xmas dinner.No one has room for lots of dessert,but a few delicious bites would be just enough!!!!

  58. This looks delicious-happy holidays!


    Oh my goodness, have mercy!!!!! This looks wonderful and I have to make them. The jars are darling, which I have this thing for “cute” little jars!

  60. Chocolate orange is one of my absolute favorite combos and your photo just sucked me right into molten chocolate heaven!!
    Since the world is ending tomorrow, I might not have a chance to win your cookbook… but what did the Mayans know anyway?? BRING ON THE JAR GOODIES!

  61. Patricia Meadows says:

    Love the jars. Would love the cookbook too!

  62. Karen Clark says:

    Oh how wonderful! A little bit of yummy in a jar!! Oh how I would love a signed cookbook too! Come on over to my house if you ever are in New Orleans and I will show you a Greek “southern hospitality” afternoon of tea or something fun – thanks for a chance at a sweet treat!

  63. My son will love these. He wants things still gooey all the time. 🙂

    I think they sound good too. Will have to try them.

  64. They sound too easy for a beginner like myself…can’t wait to make these!!

  65. Wow – these look and sound wonderful. Will have to make these very soon! 🙂

  66. these look absolute decadent and i think i’m going to make them on xmas eve! and also, i am a jar addict. since i decided to start replacing plastic with glass in my kitchen, i’ve started jarring all my grains/flours (mostly in large jars, so i love these cutesy little ones!). one can NEVER have too many jars, methinks. thanks for the opportunity!!

  67. Awesome! Going to make these for New Years Eve in with the sweetly!!

  68. Patricia loser says:

    I love jars! Thank you for the chance to win.

  69. SusanH4700 says:

    I love little jars and I love molten chocolate cake. What a combo!

  70. I love the plainess of these jars …. Might have to do a little Christmas shopping for myself!

  71. Fabulous Shaina! I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!!

  72. Oh. My. These cakes look fabulous!

  73. I adore little jars and indiviual desserts, this recipe makes me happy!!

  74. This is awesome. I have so many gift ideas in mind!!

  75. These are so beautiful! I love them!

  76. I’m in love with chocolate and orange! Perfect for my post Christmas party too!
    Do you know how long they will last before they are baked?

  77. It looks like I just found my work place Christmas gifts! Everyone will love them.

  78. I think I’ll put some of these in the fridge for last minute desserts… they look lovely. Thanks!

  79. Amanda Thompson says:

    I love chocolate and orange together!!

  80. Yummmy reminds me of the “chocolate orange” candy! but better!

  81. Your picts are lovely! I would esp enjoy receiving one of your books!

  82. What a great idea! I love that these can be baked later.

  83. Yes, it’s the picture with those luscious looking oranges that makes me want to make this recipe.

  84. WOW! Those look amazing!

  85. Chrystal Shelley says:

    These look delicious!

  86. I love the combination of chocolate & orange. I’ll be making these gorgeous little cakes very soon!

  87. Darlene Blankinship says:

    Love this recipe!!I would love to have these little jars!! 🙂

  88. Sue Funcke says:

    I just found this wonderful idea on Pinterest. Would you be able to use any glass jars? I live in South Africa so we don’t have suppliers with specialist little jars like you seem to have.

  89. Looks so yummy and easy. Going to try it when I have guests this summer.

  90. I cannot wait to give these a taste!

  91. Oh my, yes please!

  92. Oh yes!! I’d love to have the jars so that I can try this recipe..

  93. Recipe looks great! I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for the contest, too.

  94. wonderful resipes

  95. Can I freeze these jars before baking? I’d like to give them as a gift to my older parents so that they can just bake a couple at a time, as desired.

    • Hi, Cindy. I haven’t tried freezing them, but I have refrigerated them. I don’t think freezing would be an issue if they were thawed in the fridge, but I can’t comment on baking from frozen.

  96. This recipe sounds great. Would love to win the jars!


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