Molten chocolate lava cakes are rich and fudgy with a classic gooey chocolate center that flows out like lava when pierced with a fork. They are a decadent individual portioned treat that is surprisingly so simple, quick and easy to make at home with just a few ingredients and in about 20 minutes. If you thought chocolate lava cakes taste good at the restaurant, wait until you try homemade. So. Much. Better.
These fancy little cakes are the perfect treat to make for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, birthdays, or really for any occasion. Whatever occasion you are celebrating (even if it's just to satisfy a late-night craving), it's all about individual desserts these days so these molten chocolate lava cakes fit right in. Some other individual-sized desserts that you can enjoy all to yourself and not have to share are Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Individual Apple Crisp, Baked Jelly Donuts, and Apple Hand Pies.
Ingredients in Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes
To make these easy molten chocolate lava cakes, you will need to the following pantry and refrigerator staples:
- semi-sweet chocolate (or 1 cup chocolate chips), coarsely chopped
- butter - unsalted butter, cut into small cubes for easy melting.
- eggs + additional egg yolks
- vanilla extract
- confectioners' sugar - I like the melt-in-your-mouth texture of confectioners' sugar, but you can also use granulated sugar.
- all-purpose flour
- pinch of salt
- toppings - try a scoop of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, a dusting of more confectioners' sugar, fresh fruit, chocolate chips, or salted caramel sauce. I love these cakes with ice cream. There is something about the combination of hot, oozing chocolate and vanilla ice cream that just hits the spot every time.
You will also need measuring cups and spoons, mixing bowls, hand mixer or whisk, and ramekins. If you don't have ramekins, you can use a 12-tin muffin pan instead and make 6 smaller lava cakes. Follow the same steps except bake for 8-10 minutes.
How to Make the Best Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes
- Prepare ramekins. Preheat oven to 425 F. Grease four 6-oz. ramekins or three 8-oz. ramekins with non-stick cooking spray and dust with cocoa powder, tapping out the excess cocoa powder. This will help the lava cakes come out easily when inverted.
- Melt chocolate with butter. Melt the chocolate and butter in a medium heat-proof bowl and set aside to allow it to slightly cool. You can melt the chocolate either on the stove or in the microwave.
- On the stove: Bring 2 inches of water to a low simmer in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Then turn the heat to low and place medium heatproof bowl of chocolate with butter on the mouth of the pot. Make sure that there is a gap of a few inches in between the bottom of the bowl and the water (You can also place a bowl on a steamer attachment on top of your pot). Stir the chocolate constantly as it melts. Stir until the chocolate is completely smooth and melted. This should take a few minutes.
- In the microwave: The second way to melt chocolate (and an easier way) is in the microwave. Place the medium heatproof bowl of chocolate and butter into the microwave and microwave in 20 second intervals. Remove the bowl at each interval and stir well. Repeat until the chocolate has completely melted. Stir until completely smooth.
- Combine ingredients. In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric hand mixer or a whisk to beat together the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla extract, sugar, and salt, on low speed, until combined, about 1 minute. Pour in the melted chocolate into the egg mixture, along with the flour. Use a rubber spatula and fold it in until fully combined. Note that the batter will be thick but should not be lumpy.
- Bake. Place the ramekins on a quarter sheet baking pan and divide the batter between them. Bake for 12-14 minutes until the edges look solid and firm. The tops will still be soft with a slight jiggle in the center.
- Serve. Allow the molten chocolate lava cakes to cool in the ramekins for 1 minute, then cover each with an inverted plate and use an oven mitt to flip them over and release the cakes onto the plate. Add toppings (such as a scoop of vanilla ice cream, dusting with powdered sugar, garnishing with fresh fruit, or a drizzle of salted caramel sauce or chocolate sauce) and serve immediately.
PRO TIP: Do not overcook as overcooking will cause the center to completely solidify and not be gooey. If you are not sure how hot your oven runs, I suggest making one first to test. If it has solidified too much, then adjust the bake time lower. Mine turns out perfect at exactly 12 minutes.
Storing and Freezing Instructions
- How to store: Store baked and completely cooled chocolate lava cakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave, oven or air fryer at 300F for about 5 minutes until warmed through.
- How to freeze: Freeze baked and completely cooled chocolate lava cakes in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, place in the microwave, oven or air fryer at 300F for 5-10 minutes until warmed through.
- How to make ahead: Make the batter in advance and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To bake the cakes, place the bowl of batter on the kitchen counter and allow it to come to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Then, divide into greased ramekins and bake.
More Chocolate Recipes
- Chocolate Covered Strawberries
- Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Cookies
- Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffles
- Double Chocolate Loaf Cake
- Vanilla Cake Pops
- Peppermint Hot Chocolate
Did you make this recipe? I would greatly appreciate a comment and rating below, letting me know what you thought of the recipe. You can also snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @aheadofthyme or share it on the Pinterest pin so that I can follow along.
This post was first published in 2016. It has been completely updated in 2021 with new photographs and tips.