Chocolate Lava Loaf with Strawberry Love in Every Slice

Since it’s nearly Valentine’s Day, I wanted to bake up something chocolatey, something pink, something with a lovey-dovey vibe. Of course I bake love into everything I make (my inner Hallmark card just had to throw that in, sorry), but this time there’s evidence. Ripe, red, heart-shaped evidence.

I wanted this Chocolate Heart Loaf to be indulgent, but it turned out to be even more indulgent than I had intended. It turned out to be more indulgent than should be allowed!

What I was trying to make was a chocolate loaf with a strawberry heart in the middle. What i did make was a chocolate banana loaf with a gooey pudding center and a strawberry heart at its heart. Lots of flavors and textures inside and out, and pure decadence the whole way through.

I didn’t anticipate how much moisture the strawberry core would add while baking, so the lava part was a happy surprise even for me! But when life gives me chocolatey, gooey surprises, I don’t object.

A simpler strawberry alternative • If your don’t want to bother will all the strawberry slicing and stacking to achieve the strawberry heart, then you can just scatter a line of frozen strawberries (or even cherries) down the center of the batter, hide it with another layer of batter, and bake. The cross-section may not be as impressive, but the taste will still be very impressive.

A less gooey alternative • If you don’t want a gooey chocolate lava-loaf (for someone bizarre reason that I can’t understand), then chill the whole thing before slicing it. It will still be fudgey, but a little less messy.

Chocolate Lava Loaf with Strawberry Love

Makes a 8×4 inch loaf pan

12 large strawberries

3 ripe bananas

1/2 cup non-dairy milk

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used gluten-free, but whole wheat works too)

1 tbsp baking powder

1/4 cup cacao powder (or cocoa powder)

  1. FOR THE STRAWBERRY HEART: De-stem and slice the strawberries into heart-shaped slices. I got about 3 usable slices per berry, and the 2 rounded outside pieces to eat (or save for smoothies).
  2. Stack the berry slices into multiple stacks as tall as possible. Insert a toothpick into each stack to hold it together. I got about 3-4 stacks. The taller they are the easier it will be to insert them into the cake. It’s a balancing game 🙂
  3. Freeze the berry stacks overnight.
  4. FOR THE CHOCOLATE BANANA BATTER: The next day, start by preheating the oven to 350F.
  5. Blend the bananas, coconut sugar, non-dairy milk, and maple syrup in a blender.
  6. Combine the flour, baking powder, and cacao powder in a bowl. Stir to combine.
  7. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix.
  8. Remove the strawberry stacks from the freezer. Allow them to defrost just long enough to be able to remove the toothpicks.
  9. Pour 1/3 of the batter into a 8×4″ loaf pan lined with parchment paper.
  10. Insert the rows of strawberries point down into the center of the pan. Push them down until they are almost touching the bottom of the pan.
  11. Cover the strawberries with the remaining batter. It’s okay if a few are still peeking through.
  12. Bake for 40-45 minutes at 350 until the center is no longer squishy.
  13. Let it cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing and indulging. Or refrigerate before slicing for a firmer texture.


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