This chocolate lava cake recipe will have everyone oohing and aahing when the warm chocolate filling oozes like lava out of delicious chocolate cupcakes. You don’t have to tell them how easy they are to make!
Why you’ll love it: You can make this impressive dessert with just 5 simple ingredients. Lava cakes can be made ahead, too!
How long it takes: 35 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: ramekins, mixing bowl, whisk
Servings: 4 lava cakes
- 1 Recipe Overview
- 2 About This Recipe
- 3 More About Ramekins
- 4 What You’ll Need
- 5 Baking Tip
- 6 How to make it
- 7 How Can You Tell When Lava Cake is Done?
- 8 FAQs
- 9 Make It Your Own
- 10 Garnish and Topping Suggestions
- 11 Make-Ahead Ideas
- 12 Storage & Reheating Tips
- 13 Chocolate Desserts
- 14 Get the Recipe: Chocolate Lava Cake Recipe
Individual chocolate cake desserts with a hidden surprise: a lava flow of warm dark chocolate. Who wouldn’t love that? A volcano of chocolate! I’m a sucker for chocolate desserts and lava cakes ring all the bells for me.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that lava cakes are a popular dessert. You’ll find them on many restaurant menus, from upscale restaurants to take-out pizza places. I think MacDonald’s even offered them for awhile.
Chocolate lava cakes are fun, impressive, and feel a little decadent, maybe even a lot decadent. Lavish them up with whipped cream and fresh fruit, or keep them simple with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar.
By the way, if you love chocolate, be sure to take a look at my list of 20 Easy Chocolate Desserts! You’ll want to try all of them.
About This Recipe
Lava cakes are really easy to make! This is a 5 ingredient dessert recipe: chocolate, butter, eggs, sugar, and flour. I bet you have everything you need in your pantry and fridge.
You’ll use a bowl and a whisk. You don’t have to get your mixer out or anything. The only “special” equipment you need is four oven-proof ramekins.
If you don’t happen to have a set of those, you can use cupcake tins instead. You may just want to go ahead and order a set of those ramekins though. I have a feeling you’ll be needing to make these lava cakes frequently.
I’ll get you started on your homemade chocolate volcanoes here. However, for specific measurements and instructions, refer to the recipe card near the end of the post.
What You’ll Need
- Chocolate: You’ll need 6 ounces of sweetened dark chocolate. The better your chocolate bar is, the better your lava cakes will be. I found that good quality semi-sweet chocolate chips work well, too. Some baking chocolate is unsweetened; that type of chocolate will not work for this recipe.
- Butter: Choose unsalted butter. You don’t want to add unnecessary salt to this recipe.
- Eggs: Buy large eggs. You’ll be using 4 eggs total: 2 eggs plus the yolks of 2 more eggs. It’s best if they are at room temperature so take them out of the refrigerator an hour in advance.
- Sugar: A small amount of regular granulated white sugar is all you need to sweeten these cakes, just a quarter cup.
- Flour: There’s also very little flour in these cakes, just a few tablespoons. Use all-purpose flour.
- Optional Garnishes: A light sprinkling of powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar) is a simple garnish. For more topping ideas, check out the Make It Your Own section below.
Chocolate lava cake is best served warm. The wonderful thing about this recipe is that you can make the batter ahead, put it into ramekins, and refrigerate it. Bake the desserts right before dinner or even during dinner.
How to make it
I hope you’re ready for some volcanic action. There won’t be any explosions, I promise, unless it’s explosions of delight when you serve these desserts.
Preheat your oven to 450℉. Butter four ramekins and dust the insides with cocoa powder or flour.
Not sure how to do that? Put a teaspoon of flour or cocoa powder inside a ramekin and just gently tap the sides on the counter, tilting it as you go, so that the entire inside surface is coated. Tap the ramekin upside down a couple of times to remove excess cocoa.
Set the prepared ramekins on a sturdy baking pan so you can easily transfer them in and out of the oven.
Now let’s move on to melting the chocolate. If you have a whole bar, chop it into small pieces. Put the chocolate and butter into a microwave safe bowl or large measuring cup.
Microwave on high power for thirty seconds and stir thoroughly. Continue to microwave in 10 second increments, stirring thoroughly each time, just until the butter and chocolate are melted. You should be able to blend them together into a smooth mixture but you don’t want to overheat it.
Set that aside to cool for five to ten minutes. If the chocolate mixture is too hot, it will cook the eggs and turn them into scrambled eggs.
P.S. If you don’t have a microwave, you can melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler or in a heat-safe bowl set over simmering water.
Break two of the eggs into a medium size bowl. Separate the other two eggs. You’ll only be needing the yolks of these two eggs; save the whites for another use. To summarize: You’ll need 2 whole eggs, plus 2 egg yolks.
Incidentally, cold eggs separate more easily than warm eggs so you may want to do that as soon as you remove the eggs from the fridge.
Whisk the two eggs and two egg yolks together with the sugar until the mixture is frothy.
Gradually whisk in the chocolate/butter mixture until it’s completely blended into the egg/sugar mix.
Add the flour all at once. Quickly whisk it in until it’s just combined.
Pour the batter evenly into the prepared ramekins.
Bake the cakes for ten minutes. Remove them from the oven.
Let them cool for one minute, then flip each one over on serving plates. Wait 10 seconds, then carefully lift off the ramekin. It should release easily. If it doesn’t, wait a couple more seconds.
Serve the lava cake warm with a dusting of powdered sugar. Take a look below for more garnish and topping ideas.
Dig in and watch the warm fudgy lava flow. You’re going to enjoy every spoonful of this dessert!
How Can You Tell When Lava Cake is Done?
Bake the lava cake until the sides are set and the middle appears a little jiggly. It should not be like batter in the middle but it will still be somewhat soft and concave. If you overbake the cake, it will taste great but you may not have as much of a lava flow.
A molten cake is the same thing as a lava cake: individual chocolate cake desserts that have soft centers which flow out like molten lava when pierced. They are usually served warm.
A properly cooked lava cake will have runny batter in the center. It may seem like it’s raw but it isn’t. The batter is cooked to a safe temperature (165℉) but not baked until it’s firm. If you continue to bake the lava cake past the recommended time, it will bake completely through, solidify, and not have a “lava flow”.
Make It Your Own
I can’t think of too many ways to change up this recipe; it’s pretty perfect as it is. However, you may want to make more lava cakes or maybe lava cakes for two (you’re showing admirable restraint if you only make 2 lava cakes).
It’s simple to cut the recipe in half. You’ll see measurements on the recipe card. I did the math for you to make it really easy. Alternatively, if you want eight lava cakes, go ahead and double the recipe, as long as you have enough ramekins.
Garnish and Topping Suggestions
A scoop of vanilla bean ice cream is pretty much amazing. Top it with hot fudge, chocolate syrup, or caramel sauce with crunchy spiced pecans or candied walnuts. Try fresh berries, such as red raspberries or strawberries. Whipped cream is perfect, too, especially if you top it with a few berries.
Unbaked lava cake batter can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight, either in the ramekins or the mixing bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Remove batter from the refrigerator at least one hour ahead of time so it can come to room temperature before baking.
Storage & Reheating Tips
Baked lava cakes can be refrigerated for up to three days or frozen for up to 3 months. Allow them to cool completely before wrapping in plastic wrap. If you plan on freezing them, place them on a plate or tray and freeze until firm before placing them into a freezer safe container or bag. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
Reheating: Unwrap the lava cakes and place them on a baking pan. Preheat the oven (or toaster oven) to 350℉ and bake the cakes for 8 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately. You can also reheat them in your air fryer, set at 350℉ for 5 minutes. Baked lava cakes can be reheated in the microwave but don’t turn out as well.
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate (1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or a good quality chocolate bar)
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Powdered sugar, optional garnish
- Preheat oven to 450℉. Butter and flour 4 six ounce ramekins. If desired, you can use nonstick spray instead of butter. You can also dust the ramekins with cocoa powder instead of flour, if you like.
- Put butter and chocolate in a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave at high power for 30 seconds. Stir well. Continue to microwave in 15 second increments, stirring well each time until butter and chocolate are melted and blended together. Allow mixture to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
- In medium sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar until frothy and pale yellow. Gradually stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Quickly beat in the flour; mix just until combined.
- Divide the batter evenly between the 4 ramekins. Set the ramekins on a baking sheet for ease in transferring.
- Bake for 10 minutes until the sides are set and the middle appears jiggly. It should not be like batter in the middle but do not over bake.
- Allow to cool for 1 minute before inverting onto serving plates. Let stand 10 seconds before carefully removing the ramekin.
- Dust with confectioner’s sugar, if desired. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and fresh fruit, if desired.
- Make Ahead: Unbaked lava cake batter can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight, either in the ramekins or the mixing bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Remove batter from the refrigerator at least one hour ahead of time so it can come to room temperature before baking.
- Lava Cakes for Two: Divide the ingredients in half and use 2 ramekins (4 tablespoons butter, ½ cup chocolate chips, 1 egg + 1 egg yolk, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1½ tablespoons flour).
- Don’t have ramekins? This recipe can be made in a muffin tin. However, standard muffin cups are typically smaller than 6 oz. so you will need to make 6 cakes instead of 4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.