Blink as you walk through China Square Food Centre and you’ll miss this literal hole-in-the-wall joint, notable for its bite-sized lava cakes so you won’t get sick of eating an entire mega piece. Opened by three friends who have known each other since college days, they have been baking on and off for years, experimenting with recipes, and eventually one of them left his job and mans the shop full time. You can really tell they have a great friendship by having in-jokes, like calling themselves the softcore bakers, and having a web domain “.it” so they can “smoulder.it.”
The 9 flavors, all have chocolate, are divided into four categories: pure chocolate; alcoholic; caffeine and fruits & nuts. A piece costs $3.90, 3 pieces $10.90 and 9 pieces at $29.90.
Pure Chocolate Lava Cakes
The signature dark chocolate and intense dark chocolate lava cakes are respectively at 50% and 70% from Barry Callebaut Belgian chocolate. They are definitely not bad at all, firm and crusty outside and molten and warm inside. Not too sweet, as are all their other lava cakes. The intense dark chocolate is just slightly more desiccated than the signature but it is still moist and doesn’t have the bitterness that comes with a high percentage cocoa.
Alcoholic Lava Cakes
Raisins are soaked in rum for some time for the milk chocolate (30% cocoa) rum-and-raisin cake as are the cherries soaked in kirsch, a cherry brandy, for black forest cake (50% cocoa). The black forest is fruity-sweet and pleasant while the rum-and-raisin is intense, man, the alcohol fumes rush at you.
Caffeine Lava Cakes
The white chocolate matcha, made from 100% Japanese green tea, is a crowd pleaser, strong in its green tea flavor. The other caffeine cake, milk chocolate mocha (30% cocoa) is potent, strong, almost overpowering. Hits you like Britney Spears (“Hit me, baby, one more time”). After eating it, Mr NGFL said, “I don’t think I can sleep tonight.”
Fruits & Nuts Lava Cakes
Indubitably Wise Guy’s favorite category, you can now have your antioxidants and eat it. The lava cakes are made from real fruits and nuts (not flavoring) as you can really taste the nuttiness in white chocolate pistochio; real strawberry bits are found in white chocolate raspberry (pictured below), giving it a homely feel; but the white chocolate lemon is the one that shines because it’s slightly tart, and thus, refreshing, although I’d have like it to be more tart.
Overall, we enjoyed the homely lava cakes which in general are mildly sweet so that you won’t feel jerlat or excessive eating the entire piece or three. Although the sweetness is amicable, the flavors are kickass, fierce, forceful, no-holds-barred that assail your senses. That shows character and strength. Why take half-measures? Hardcore flavors from softcore bakers.
Rating: 3.286/5 smouldering stars
ps: Thank you, Peida and Smoulder, for the invite.