Such a decadent dessert, served hot right out of the oven, with a gooey 'eruption' of caramel sauce.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Thoroughly butter 4 – 6 oz custard cups and coat inside with cocoa powder, tap out excess. Place on a baking sheet.
To make the Salted Caramel Topping, place sugar and water in a 4 quart saucepan. Heat over medium heat, swirling pan gently just enough to even out sugar on the bottom. Cook until sugar turns a deep amber color. Stir in butter pieces, whisking until melted. Whisk in cream until mixture is smooth. Add a pinch of salt. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
To make the lava cakes, melt chocolate and butter over a double broiler until almost melted, remove from heat and let cool a bit. Can be done in the microwave as well. Set aside.
In a mixer, beat egg yolks, egg and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and a pinch of salt, beat a bit more. Add flour and beat until blended. Fold in chocolate mixture with a spatula.
Pour about a ⅓ cup of batter in each ramekin, leaving some batter in the bowl. Add 1 heaping teaspoon of caramel to the center of each cup. Spoon the remaining chocolate to cover the caramel in each ramekin. Bake for 14-16 minutes until the edges are cooked but the center is still soft. Transfer to a rack to cool for 3-5 minutes. Gently loosen the edges of each ramekin with a knife or off-set spatula. Invert a plate over each ramekin and carefully turn over and remove the cup. Dust with powdered sugar or add another small spoon full of caramel and a pinch of flaky salt, or a scoop of ice cream would be decadent too. Serve immediately.