What is a fondant?
Somewhere between a cake and a soufflé, chocolate fondants are known for their oozy, liquid centres. You might also know them as lava cakes, but the basics remain the same. Cook them perfectly and you’ll be rewarded with a wonderfully gooey centre. Overcook them, however, and you’ll end up with a stodgy, not-quite-brownie-like thing.
What are the pressure points to making the perfect fondant?
Set yourself up for success by ensuring you prep your moulds properly. Most recipes will suggest you use ramekin or domed dariole moulds, depending on what shape you’re after. Brush them well with melted butter in upward strokes (to encourage rising), then lightly coat them with a mixture of cocoa powder and caster sugar. If making white chocolate fondants, use flour and caster sugar instead. Tap out any excess. Once you’ve got the coating sorted, the rest is pretty easy. To alleviate further stress, you can pour the fondant batter into the ramekins a while before you intend on serving them and leave them to set in the fridge. This not only allows the batter to rest, but also means the centre will have a better chance of remaining its liquid state as a cold batter takes longer to bake all the way through. Make sure you make one extra fondant for testing purposes.
When it’s time to bake
Place the ramekins on a baking tray to move them in and out of the oven with ease. Depending on the recipe you’re using, bake them for 12 minutes before removing the tester to check. The exterior should be set and feel firm, but the centre should feel soft. You could use a thin cake skewer too to feel how liquid the centre is, but slightly undercooked is better than overcooked. Once you’re satisfied, remove the ramekins and let them stand for two minutes before placing a plate over the top of each and carefully inverting them and removing the mould. If for some reason they don’t come loose, you could just as easily serve them in the ramekin you baked them in – no one will be the wiser.
Ready to try your hand? Here are our favourite fondant recipes.
Classic chocolate fondant
Get the recipe for classic chocolate fondant here.
Liam Tomlin’s warm chocolate fondant with chocolate sorbet
Lemon curd lava pudding