An experiment in B.I.Y.

My first weed-butter-infused lava cake looks bad but works.

Illustration by Mark Stivers

Just arriving home from work, I’m already late. Two stories are past deadline for the 4/20 issue. So what do I do? Make weed brownies, duh.

Don’t judge. It’s for an assignment.

The task: to create delicious, stoney lava cakes (OK, not technically brownies) using cannabis butter made from scratch. It might sound simple, but I’ve never tried it in my years-long pastime of consuming weed. Hell, I can’t even roll a joint. So crafting an effective, Instagram-worthy dessert seemed out of reach.

Since I didn’t have a ton of time to invest in this experiment, I decided to cook the butter and the dessert in a slow cooker. I used two recipes: one to yield a cup of marijuana butter, the other to slow-cook a lava cake.

The Leafly recipe calls for one cup of butter with one cup of ground cannabis. It says to use shake, and I recall the leafy cuttings of yesteryear. A decade ago, I would have sneaked shake from the “dad stash”—a large, hidden trash bag with a combination of dried leaf, dusty buds from seasons past and more than a few dog hairs to pick out (RIP, Chewy).

These days, I can go to the local weed store for shake. The budtenders suggest other methods—1,000 milligram pre-made cannabutter, single-dose injections I don’t quite understand. Instead, I walked out with a $36 half-ounce of shake (ouch!).

At home, I preheat my oven and prep the shake for decarboxylation (which activates the THC). Doubting whether it will be potent enough, I compile the near-empty weed bags I’ve stored for a desperate day. The pile of misfit buds go into the coffee grinder. Self-satisfied, I pulverize the pot. I knew these sad bags would come in handy.

Once the pot is decarbed, I slow-cook it with the butter on low for about three hours. After letting the mixture cool, straining and refrigerating it overnight, the fragrant, avocado-colored butter gives me hope: I’m nailing this.

I throw the lava cake ingredients together, set the slow cooker to low and head for work. I come home to an apartment that smells like stoner success.

Inside the crockpot, it looks half like a dried out cake and half like an igneous rock. It may be an ugly glob, but it’s my ugly glob, so I scoop it onto the plate.

Turns out, it was an effective and, let’s say, palatable glob. I spent the evening at a Moroccan restaurant with my mom and a case of the giggles. The lava cake was a failure in execution, but luckily there’s still some potent cannabis butter left over for my Saturday breakfast.