Lido Deck Test Kitchen: Bring on the Chocolate

June 30, 2011 | By | 12 Comments

I’ll take any excuse to whip up a chocolaty treat. So when I heard about Carnival‘s warm melting chocolate cake, I knew I had to try out a batch. This cake is so popular with fans of the cruise line that there are multiple threads in the Cruise Critic forums dedicated to it. Not only do our members love to wax poetic about this dark treat, but they enjoy it so much that many of them have actually attempted to scale the cruise line’s recipe down from one that serves a thousand to one that serves a family of four.
Luckily, Carnival sent me a perfectly pared-down version. And that’s where the fun started.

As I scanned through the recipe a few things struck me.
  • The recipe was straightforward, and was clearly not going to be time consuming. (Yay! I was a mere half-hour away from sinking my teeth into rich chocolate goodness.)
  • The process and ingredient list were strikingly similar to those of my favorite homemade brownie recipe.
  • There was no magic trick involved. You don’t inject chocolate syrup into the cake, or drop a piece of a chocolate bar into the unbaked batter. All you do is bake the cakes at the right temperature for the right amount of time.
  • First off, Carnival’s recipe simply says to “melt the chocolate and butter”; having done this before, I rigged up a double boiler using a saucepan with about an inch of water in it and a small heat-proof ceramic bowl. I set the flame on high to bring the water to a boil, then turned the fire down to medium. Next, I set the ceramic bowl on top, chopped the chocolate and added it to the bowl. While the chocolate began to melt, I cut the butter into cubes and added it to the bowl of chocolate. I gently stirred the mixture until both the butter and chocolate were melted and the ingredients were incorporated. After turning off the heat, I whisked the eggs and sugar together until frothy and added the flour.
    The next step — combining the chocolate mixture with the egg mixture — is the trickiest part of the recipe. If the chocolate is too hot when you add it to the eggs, you could very well end up scrambling them and having to scrap the entire dish (who wants to eat scrambled chocolate eggs?). While Carnival’s recipe notes that the eggs should be room temperature, it doesn’t go into detail about technique. (Why would it? No self-respecting pastry chef would need instruction on this.)
    Not to worry: I can explain. To remove some of the excess heat from the bowl of chocolate and butter, I first stirred the mixture a few times to cool it off a touch more. Remember it’s already been sitting off the heat for a few minutes now, so it’s cooled down a bit. Then very slowly, I held the bowl of chocolate about 10 inches above the bowl of eggs and let it slowly stream into the eggs while using a whisk to briskly mix the chocolate into the eggs (good multi-taskers have an advantage here). When about a third of the chocolate is mixed into the eggs, you should be able to add the rest at once and just stir to incorporate. And that’s it: Your batter is done!
    I popped those little babies in a 400-degree oven, ate dinner with my husband, and 14 minutes later they were ready to come out. I typically need to wait at least a half-hour after dinner to eat dessert, but the aroma wafting through my apartment was too much to bear. I scooped out some vanilla bean gelato, and we went to town.
    And you know what? Carnival’s melting chocolate cake definitely live up to its reputation!
    Make your very own melting chocolate cake.
    Check out our attempt at making NCL’s pretzel rolls in the Lido Deck Test Kitchen.
    Join the Carnival Melting Chocolate Cake discussion.
    Find out which cruise food items reign supreme among Cruise Critic members.
    For the latest from Cruise Critic, subscribe to the Lido Deck.
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      12 Responses to “Lido Deck Test Kitchen: Bring on the Chocolate”

      1. Artrina
        June 30th, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

        And the recipe that I am now wanting to make for dinner is posted where???? TY!

      2. Kim
        June 30th, 2011 @ 1:19 pm

        Artrina –> There’s a link right under the article that reads “Make your very own melting chocolate cake.” — happy baking! :)

      3. Marilyn
        August 2nd, 2011 @ 11:12 am

        How many does this serve?

      4. Cruise Critic
        August 2nd, 2011 @ 11:39 am

        @Marilyn, this recipe made six six-ounce ramekins.

      5. Carolyn Joy Campbell
        August 31st, 2011 @ 6:14 pm

        I could not find the molten choclate cake recipe. I know where you said to find it but I couldn’t. Please, please send it to me!!! Thanks.

        Joy Campbell

      6. Scott
        September 25th, 2011 @ 10:09 am

        On the recipe you download, it says serves 4

      7. Sonya Sherow
        September 25th, 2011 @ 10:28 am

        Yum! I’m not going to make it, so I better book that next cruise. Once again Yum!

      8. Jean
        September 25th, 2011 @ 10:31 am
      9. Dee
        September 25th, 2011 @ 11:05 am

        Here’s the link for it. Wish the amounts of the ingredients were in measurements I’m used to and not just oz. and celsius.

      10. Angela Guptill
        September 25th, 2011 @ 11:51 am

        I read somewhere that you should use the straight sided remekin dishes and not use the clear glass ones as the WCMC will be dryer. I have made a recipe similar to the CCL one and put a small amount of peanut butter in the cake before popping them in the oven. They were a bit dry. So what did you all use for remekins? Thanks :-)

      11. Cruise Critic
        September 25th, 2011 @ 9:04 pm

        @Scott, I believe Carnival uses eight-ounce ramekins so it would make four if you use that size. I have six-ounce ramekins and got six servings out of it.

        @angela, I would assume you could used the clear glass but cook it for a little less time. Things in clear glass bake more quickly, which is why the cake would end up dry if you cooked it for the same amount of time as the same thing in a ceramic dish.

      12. Tina
        October 25th, 2014 @ 9:00 pm

        Is the flour plain or self rising

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