This week I reached out for a new Chocolate Molten Lava Cake at fast food's roast beef sandwich specialist, Arby's, with 3,600 restaurants stretching clear across the U.S. of A.
Until recently, molten lava cakes were found exclusively at expensive gourmet restaurants and in the frozen-food aisle of your local supermarket. There was no in-between. Now they're at Arby's for the dreaded limited time only. Grab one fast, before the lava flow hardens.
Here's the blueprint: a smallish chocolate cake with a warm, gooey dark-chocolate middle that tastes like a Hershey's bar that melted in your pocket on a hot summer day. Stick a fork in one of these cakes, and you'll feel like you've struck oil -- only better, because this gusher is pure chocolate.
Total calories: 340. Fat grams: 14. Sodium: 280 mg. Protein: 4 g. Dietary fiber: 2 g. Carbs: 53 g. Manufacturer's suggested retail price: $1.99.
There's some dispute about where and when -- and by whom -- the chocolate molten lava cake was created. Could have been in France. Possibly in the U.S. Could have been as recent as the 1980s. Probably a lot earlier. Could have been a skilled chef. More likely it was an impatient dessert freak yelling at his microwave to "hurry up!"
All the theories come together with somebody baking a chocolate cake and pulling it out of the oven too early -- before the center was done. The outside was fine, but the middle was still a hot mess of "molten" chocolate, with the consistency of pudding.
On behalf of everybody who's ever taken chocolate-chip cookies out of the oven half-baked on purpose, thank you to the inventor of chocolate molten lava cakes. They're simply delicious and devilish and decadent and diabolical and divine. This review is brought to you by the letter "D."
Arby's Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes are served in plastic containers designed for one. You pry open the package and take a whiff of chocolate steam. You can practically float away on that aroma. The outside of the cake tastes a little like a brownie (LOVE brownies). Then you hit pay dirt in the middle, and the chocolate oozes out. This is a chocolate dessert for chocolateheads. If you're a chocoholic, the only thing that can top one of these cakes is two of these cakes. They're small. They're a couple of bucks. Splurge. There goes another New Year's resolution out the window.
Try an Arby's Beef 'n Cheddar sandwich on a toasted onion roll, some Curly Fries and a Chocolate Molten Lava Cake ... and you've got a meal that'll make you think twice about hitting the same old burger joint tomorrow.
Arby's is a favorite for reasons beyond the menu. Arby's was the first fast-food chain to eliminate artificial additives in its chicken sandwiches. Arby's was the first to eliminate all trans fats from its food. Arby's is committed to working with suppliers who raise animals in humane conditions. Arby's is the good guys. The food is pretty good, too.