Chocolate Lava Cake

Could there be anything more beautiful than molten chocolate oozing out of a decadent chocolate cake? Nope, there isn’t!

Molten lava cake oozing chocolate.

Simply Recipes / Hannah Zimmerman

Chocolate Lava Cake is a small, individual-sized cake. The center is slightly undercooked, on purpose, resulting in a gooey, melty, and decadent treat that oozes out when you cut into it. 

Chocolate Lava Cake is the perfect, romantic dessert for Valentine’s Day or for when you’re trying to impress. It calls for just seven pantry ingredients and comes together in under 25 minutes, making it an easy, last-minute treat to make when indulgence is what you’re after.

No Ramekin? No Problem!

The molten lava cakes are baked in six-ounce ramekins. If you don’t have any, bake them in a muffin tin. Standard muffin tins are smaller than the ramekins, so you’ll have enough batter for six lava cakes, rather than four. Also, reduce the cook time to 9 minutes.

If you bake the lava cakes in a muffin tin, you can invert them all at once onto a large cutting board once baked. Use an offset spatula or butter knife to lift and transfer each cake from the cutting board onto dessert plates.

Chocolate lava cake with scoops of ice cream.

Simply Recipes / Hannah Zimmerman

How Not to Over-Bake the Lava Cakes

I recommend baking the lava cakes for 11 to 12 minutes. Since every oven is different, start checking 9 to 10 minutes in. 

When done, the edges are firm and the centers are still soft and jiggly. Gently poke the center of a cake with your finger to test. If it is still liquidy (you’ll have wet batter on your finger), bake them for an additional 1 to 2 minutes

Over-baked your lava cakes? Sadly, you can’t go back and un-bake them. The center won’t be runny, but they will still be delicious! Next time, reduce the bake time by 1 to 2 minutes. 

Delicious Variations

I love this recipe because it is very customizable. Here are some delicious ideas:

  • Make it a peanut butter lava cake by adding a teaspoon of peanut butter to the center of the batter in the ramekin before baking. The cook time will be the same.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon orange extract, lavender extract, or peppermint extract to the batter.
  • Are you a matcha-lover? Dust your lava cakes with matcha powder.
Chocolate lava cake with ice cream and raspberries.

Simply Recipes / Hannah Zimmerman

Plan Ahead

Chocolate Lava Cakes do not store well once they are baked. The center will begin to harden as it cools. I do not recommend baking them ahead of time. 

To plan ahead: Make the batter, spoon it into greased ramekins, cover the ramekins in plastic wrap, and place them in the refrigerator for up to two days. Just add one minute to the bake time.

Storage Instructions

Leftover lava cakes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days, wrapped individually with plastic wrap. Reheat them in the microwave for 30 seconds before serving. The center won’t be as gooey, but I’d enjoy them regardless! 

Chocolate molten lava cake on plate.

Simply Recipes / Hannah Zimmerman

Looking for Decadence?

Chocolate Lava Cake

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 22 mins
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons (113g) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the ramekins

  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar

  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 3 tablespoons (29g) all-purpose flour

Optional toppings

  • Vanilla ice cream

  • Powdered sugar

  • Cocoa powder

  • Fresh berries

  • Chopped nuts

  • Whipped cream

  • Caramel sauce

Method

  1. Preheat the oven:

    Preheat the oven to 450°F. Use your hands to lightly grease the inside of four 6-ounce ramekins with butter.

  2. Melt the chocolate and butter:

    Fill a medium pot with about 2 inches of water. Set it over medium-high heat to bring the water to a gentle boil. Place a medium heat-proof bowl on top of the pot. The boiling water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. This is called a double boiler. 

    Add the chocolate chips and butter to the bowl and use a rubber spatula to mix until melted. Set it aside to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

    Bowl of melted chocolate.

    Simply Recipes / Hannah Zimmerman

  3. Combine the wet ingredients:

    In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and salt. When the chocolate mixture feels cool to the touch, scrape it into the egg mixture. Stir to combine.

    Egg mixture for chocolate lava cake.

    Simply Recipes / Hannah Zimmerman

  4. Add the flour:

    Whisk in the flour until just combined. The batter will be thick, so you can switch to a rubber spatula if needed.

    Chocolate batter for molten lava cake.

    Simply Recipes / Hannah Zimmerman

  5. Bake:

    Divide the batter evenly into the prepared ramekins and place the ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake for 11 to 12 minutes, until the edges are firm and the centers are still soft. Carefully and gently poke the center of a lava cake with a finger. It should be jiggly, not fully set. If it is still liquidy (you’ll have wet batter on your finger), bake for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. 

    Chocolate batter in greased ramekins.

    Simply Recipes / Hannah Zimmerman

  6. Serve:

    Let the lava cakes cool for 3 minutes before serving.

    To invert the lava cake: Cover a ramekin with an inverted dessert plate. Carefully flip the ramekin upside down and let it stand for a few seconds. Lift the ramekin to unmold the lava cake. Repeat with the remaining lava cakes while they are still warm. 

    I recommend that you eat your lava cakes warm, soon after they come out of the oven. The molten center will start to solidify as it cools. 

    The lava cakes can be served à la mode with vanilla ice cream, with a dusting of powdered sugar or cocoa powder, or with other toppings like fresh berries, chopped nuts, and caramel sauce.

    Three chocolate lava cakes on dessert plate with ice cream.

    Simply Recipes / Hannah Zimmerman

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
568 Calories
42g Fat
46g Carbs
10g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 568
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 42g 53%
Saturated Fat 24g 119%
Cholesterol 293mg 98%
Sodium 213mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 46g 17%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 36g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 55mg 4%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 244mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.