This Dreamy Chocolate Lava Cakes recipe is perfectly rich and decadent, filled with a perfectly gooey “molten” chocolate center, and super-easy to make in just 20 minutes.
Meet…the chocolate molten lava cakes of your dreams. ♡♡♡
These retro little individual lava cakes have been one of my back-pocket entertaining desserts for years. I’m telling you, that rich chocolate cake with its legendary ooey, gooey, molten chocolate filling never fails to dazzle a dinner table full of friends or family. Yet the good news behind the scenes is that these little lava cakes are ridiculously quick and easy to make. And, bonus, you can even prep up them up to a day in advance if you’d like!
All you need are 7 easy ingredients, a set of ramekins or a muffin pan, and about 20-25 minutes total. Then these dreamy individual chocolate lava cakes will be ready to go and steal the show in no time. Perfect for Valentine’s Day, your next dinner party, or any regular night when life calls for a serious chocolate fix.
Let’s make some!
Chocolate Lava Cake Ingredients:
To make these chocolate lava cakes, you will need:
- Dark chocolate: I used a few dark chocolate bars, but semisweet chocolate chips would also work.
- Butter and eggs: Our two refrigerated ingredients.
- Sugar: I went retro and just used regular white granulated sugar here, but brown sugar or coconut sugar would also do.
- Vanilla extract: Just a teaspoon.
- Sea salt: To bring out the best chocolatey flavors.
- Flour: All-purpose, white whole wheat, or a gluten-free all-purpose blend will do.
- Cooking spray: Super-important in this recipe, especially if you plan to invert the lava cakes onto a plate.
And then, of course, toppings. Feel free to top your lava cakes with any of the following:
- Powdered sugar or cocoa powder: Sprinkled on top with a fine-mesh sieve.
- Flaky sea salt: One of my faves with any chocolate dessert.
- Ice cream or whipped cream: Can’t go wrong here.
- Berries: Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, or whatever sounds good.
Finally, supplies. You can bake these lava cakes in either:
- Ramekins: I photographed this recipe in four large ramekins (either 7- or 8-ounce will do). Or you can use eight small (4-ounce) ramekins instead.
- These are the 8-ounce mini cocottes that I used, or here is a more inexpensive set of 8-ounce ramekins. Alternately, here is a standard set of 4-ounce ramekins.
- Muffin pan: Alternately, you can bake your lava cakes in a standard nonstick muffin pan (whose baking cups are typically 4 ounces).
How To Make A Molten Lava Cake:
Guys, it’s so easy to make this chocolate lava cake recipe! Simply…
- Melt the butter and chocolate. Either in the microwave or on a double-boiler on the stove, heat the butter and chocolate together on low heat until both are melted. Whisk until they are completely smooth. Meanwhile…
- Whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk these ingredients together vigorously for 1 minute.
- Combine the two mixtures. Use one hand to whisk the chocolate mixture round and round in circles, while slowly drizzling the egg mixture into the chocolate. (This process will help to not accidentally cook/scramble the eggs when they are added.)
- Add in the flour. Finally, whisk in the flour until it is completely combined.
- Portion into greased ramekins. Be sure that your ramekins have been greased well with cooking spray or butter. Then portion the chocolate batter equally into four large (7- to 8-ounce) ramekins, or eight small (4-ounce) ramekins.
- *Bake. Pop them in the oven. (I like to set my ramekins on a baking sheet for easy transfer.) Then bake until the edges of the cakes are set but most of the inside is still gooey and molten, about 12-13 minutes for large ramekins or 9-10 minutes for small ramekins. Timing is critical here! The centers of the cakes should be mostly risen, but not too puffy and definitely not cracked. Feel free to use a toothpick to test the centers of the cakes to ensure that they are not over-baked.
*Or, if you would like to make these cakes in advance, just portion the batter into the ramekins. Then cover and refrigerate them for up to 24 hours. Remove from the fridge and let them rest on the counter for 20 minutes. Then bake as directed.
How To Serve Chocolate Lava Cakes:
However you serve your lava cakes, the key is to do so quickly so that the molten chocolate stays nice and hot and melty! You can either do so:
- In the ramekins: Just sprinkle on your desired toppings, and serve them right in the ramekins themselves with a spoon.
- Inverted onto a plate or bowl: Let the lava cakes rest for 1 minute after they emerge from the oven. Then carefully place a plate upside-down on top of the ramekin, and flip both over 180° so that the chocolate cake falls out onto the plate or bowl. Sprinkle with your desired toppings and serve immediately.
If you would like to change things up with this chocolate lava cakes recipe, feel free to:
- Make them sweeter: I don’t like these cakes overly sweet (especially if you’re adding ice cream on top), so I wrote the recipe using just 1/4 cup of sugar. But if you would like sweeter cakes, feel free to increase that amount to either 1/3 or 1/2 cup sugar.
- Add peanut butter: For all of you chocolate and peanut butter lovers, feel free to stir 3 tablespoons natural peanut butter in with the melted chocolate and butter mixture after they have been melted.
- Add ground cinnamon and chili powder: For a Mexican chocolate twist, feel free to add in 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1 teaspoon chili powder to the egg mixture.
- Add espresso powder: For more of a mocha twist, feel free to add in 1.5 teaspoons espresso powder to the egg mixture.
- Make these gluten-free: Feel free to use an all-purpose gluten free flour blend to make these gluten-free.
More Favorite Chocolate Dessert Recipes:
Here are a few more faves to check out!
- The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies
- The Most Amazing Salted Dark Chocolate Tart
- 5-Ingredient Whiskey Dark Chocolate Truffles
- Greek Yogurt Chocolate Cake
- Chocolate Roll
- Vegan Brownies
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This Dreamy Chocolate Lava Cakes recipe is perfectly rich and decadent, and easy to make in just 20 minutes.
- 6 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped (or semisweet chocolate chips)
- 3/4 cup (6 ounces or 12 tablespoons) butter
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup flour
- optional toppings: powdered sugar, cocoa powder, flaky sea salt, fresh berries, whipped cream and/or ice cream
- Heat oven to 400°F. Grease four large (7- to 8-ounce) or eight small (4-ounce) ramekins really well with cooking spray or butter; set aside.
- In a small saucepan*, heat the butter and chocolate together over medium-low heat until both are melted, stirring constantly so that the chocolate does not burn. Whisk until smooth, then remove from the heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, vigorously whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt for 1 minute.
- Once the chocolate mixture is also ready to go, use one hand to whisk the chocolate mixture round and round in circles, while slowly pouring the egg mixture into the chocolate with your other hand. (This process will help to not accidentally cook/scramble the eggs when they are added.) Whisk in the flour until it is completely combined.
- Portion the chocolate batter equally into the prepared ramekins.
- Bake until the edges of the cakes are set but most of the inside is still gooey and molten, about 12-13 minutes for large ramekins or 9-10 minutes for small ramekins. (The centers of the cakes should be mostly risen, but not too puffy or cracked. Feel free to use a toothpick to test the centers of the cakes to ensure that they are not over-baked.)
- Remove from the oven and let the cakes rest for 1 minute. Carefully invert onto a serving plate or bowl, or serve the lava cake directly in the ramekin itself, topped with your desired toppings. Serve immediately and enjoy the cakes while they are nice and hot. 🙂
- *Alternately, you can melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave.
- Recipe slightly adapted from Carnival.