Chocolate Molten Lava Cake

Our Molten Lava Cake is an all time favorite! Decadent and delicious, this dessert is a rich chocolate cake with a gooey center and dusted with powdered sugar. It just doesn’t get any better.

Molten chocolate lava cake on a white dish.

If you’ve never tried a lava cake, you’re in for a treat. These molten cakes are the perfect individual desserts.

They’re slightly undercooked in the center which gives them the gooey chocolate center when cut into with a spoon. Made with simple ingredients, these little cakes are great for Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, or birthdays.

Chocolate lava cakes are so popular that restaurants like Domino’s, Applebee’s, Chili’s, and Longhorn Steakhouse have their own versions. But, we think homemade molten cakes are tastier and more decadent.

Looking for other chocolate desserts? Try our chocolate truffles, chocolate filled pastries, hot chocolate cupcakes, or chocolate mousse.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is chocolate lava cake?

A chocolate lava cake, also known as molten chocolate cake, is a cross between flourless chocolate cake and a soufflé. The name comes from the dessert’s slightly undercooked, liquid chocolate center.

Many homecooks and restaurants use flour in their recipes to help with structure and stability. Even though they may look fancy, lava cakes are made with simple, pantry ingredients like flour, butter, eggs, sugar, and chocolate.

What can I use instead of ramekins for a lava cake?

If you don’t have ramekins, no worries! There are several alternatives you can use.

Muffin tins are a common substitute and they produce slightly smaller cakes which are perfect for portion control. You’ll need to reduce the cooking time slightly since the walls of the muffin pan are thin aluminum and not thick ceramic.

Also, oven-safe cups or small bowls can be used. Just be sure to adjust the baking time as necessary.

Silicon molds are another great option. They’re flexible, and that makes it easy to remove the cakes without damaging them. Remember, whatever you use needs to be oven-safe and able to withstand the baking temperature.

What size ramekins for chocolate lava cakes?

In our experience, the perfect size ramekin is 6 ounces.

Why wasn’t my molten lava cake gooey in the center?

There could be several reasons why your cake wasn’t gooey in the center. The most common reason is overcooking.

The cake is meant to be slightly underbaked to get that ooey, gooey center. If it’s baked for too long, the center will set just like a regular cake.

The exact baking time can vary depending on the temperature of your oven, so it might take a bit of trial and error to get it right.

Another factor could be the ratio of your ingredients and the brand of the ingredients used.

Adding too much flour could make the cake denser and less likely to have a liquid center. Similarly, different brands of chocolate may melt differently resulting in a less melty center.

Bite of lava cake on a spoon.

Lava Cake Recipe Tips and Variations

  • Try topping off your homemade cake with a dollop of whipped cream, a sprinkling of powdered sugar, a drizzle of melted peanut butter, slices of fresh fruit, or even some ice cream!
  • If you leave these cakes in their ramekins for too long, they can be difficult to turn out and plate. If this happens, simply use a knife alongside the outside edge to help them release. Of course, they can also be eaten straight from the ramekins as well.
  • We recommend using a cooking spray with flour to help prevent sticking. Greasing the ramekins with lots of butter also helps!
  • Good quality semi-sweet or even bittersweet chocolate can be used instead of the chocolate chips. We prefer Ghirardelli brand for the best texture.
  • Depending on your preference, you can leave out the espresso powder. It does enhance the deep chocolate flavor though, so we highly recommend keeping it in!
Top down view of ice cream on a lava cake.

Storage and Reheating

Refrigerator: Store any leftover chocolate lava cake in the fridge in an airtight container for 3 days.

Make Ahead: The batter can be made up to a day in advance and kept in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Since the batter will be chilled, adjust the baking time if needed.

Freezing: You can freeze the cooked cakes by wrapping them individually in plastic wrap and storing them in a freezer safe container. They will stay fresh for up to 3 months if stored properly.

Reheating: While this dessert is best enjoyed just after baking, you can reheat them. Place the cakes on a lined baking sheet and reheat at 350°F for about 8-10 minutes. If frozen, let thaw before reheating.

Note: Molten lava cakes are best enjoyed soon after baking. That way the centers are still gooey and liquid.

Leaving them in the ramekins for even a couple of extra minutes can cause the cakes to continue to bake. When that happens, the center is no longer “molten” and liquidy. Storing the cakes also causes the centers to firm up.

More Desserts to Try Next

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Bite taken out of a chocolate lava cake.

Chocolate Lava Cake

5 from 1 vote
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Author: Kim
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings

Ingredients

  • ½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ teaspoon espresso powder

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 425℉. Butter or spray six (6-ounce) ramekins with baking spray. Set aside.
  • Add the chocolate chips and butter to a medium microwave safe mixing bowl. Heat for 1 minute while stirring in 15 second intervals. If needed, microwave an additional 15 seconds, until the chocolate is melted. Cool slightly.
    ½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
    ½ cup unsalted butter
  • In a large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the eggs and egg yolks until fully combined. Mix in powdered sugar and vanilla extract until combined.
    2 large eggs
    3 egg yolks
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 cup powdered sugar
  • Pour in the cooled butter and chocolate mixture until well blended. Then use a spatula to stir in flour, salt and espresso powder, by hand, until just combined.
    ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
    Pinch salt
    ½ teaspoon espresso powder
  • Divide batter equally between ramekins (about ½ cup if using 6 ounce ramekins) and place them, evenly spaced apart, on a baking sheet.
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes or until edges are firm but cakes are soft and not quite set in the center.
  • Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to sit for 1 minute before carefully inverting onto a small plate. Serve and enjoy!
  • See post for storage options, tips, variations, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 chocolate lava cake. Actual calories will vary.
 
*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.

Nutrition

Serving: 1lava cakeCalories: 294kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 5gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 15gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 193mgSodium: 44mgPotassium: 141mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 683IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 71mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition Disclaimer

Kim and John Vargo of More Than Meat and Potatoes and its affiliates are not dieticians or nutritionists. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If preferred, use your favorite online nutrition calculator to double check the amounts. Calories and other nutritional values can vary based on brand and serving size.

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