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Chocolate lava cakes with their deliciously rich molten chocolate center come together with 6 simple ingredients. Ready in just 25 minutes, this surprisingly easy dessert always impresses. If you don’t have ramekins, follow our instructions for using a muffin pan instead.

Today we’re making straight-up chocolate lava cakes. Even though peanut butter chocolate lava cakes are truly magical, we’ve received a lot of requests for a plain chocolate version. So we decided to make them. It IS chocolate molten lava cake, after all.

Molten cakes are always a crowd favorite, and they’re infinitely better when freshly made at home. You’ll love that lava cakes are single servings just like chocolate cupcakes. If you prefer a gluten-free option, consider making rich and fudge-like flourless chocolate cake.

chocolate lava cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on a white plate

Tell Me About These Chocolate Lava Cakes

  • Flavor: There’s no doubt about it: chocolate is front and center in this lava cake recipe. They’re more indulgent and chocolatey than our reader-favorite chocolate cake!
  • Texture: This lava cake pairs moist chocolate cake with an ooey-gooey molten center. Be careful not to over-bake these.
  • Ease: The secret for making chocolate lava cakes? There is no secret. These lava cakes require zero complicated steps and equipment. In fact, you’ll be delightfully surprised with how remarkably simple the prep is.
  • Time: The best part about this recipe is that it whips up fast: Make a quick cake batter and bake in ramekins or a muffin pan. Then, serve immediately with your favorite toppings like homemade whipped cream or even a drizzle of salted caramel. Dreamy!

In Short:

  • Ultra molten-like center
  • No mixer required
  • Only 6 ingredients
  • A super quick bake time
  • No cooling time
chocolate lava cakes topped with scoops of vanilla ice cream on a white plates with spoons

Overview: How to Make Chocolate Lava Cakes

The full printable recipe is below, but let’s walk through it quickly so you understand each step before you get started. 

  1. Prepare four 6-oz ramekins. Grease each ramekin with a little nonstick spray and a dusting of cocoa powder before filling with batter. This preparation helps the baked lava cake release seamlessly from the ramekin onto the plate for serving.
  2. Make the chocolate cake batter.
  3. Spoon the batter evenly into each ramekin.
  4. Bake. The high oven temperature cooks the outside of the mini cakes but leaves the center slightly gooey. The tops may look somewhat soft.
  5. Invert the ramekins. Carefully flip the freshly baked lava cakes upside down onto plates.
  6. Add toppings and dig in while warm.

If 4 or 6 lava cakes are simply too many to have around, try this 2-serving recipe for chocolate fudge cakes instead.

overhead image of 3 glass bowls of ingredients for chocolate lava cakes

Ramekins Versus a Muffin Pan

We highly recommend using 6-ounce ramekins for these lava cakes – they’re the perfect size for these single-serving desserts. Plus, you can use the same ramekins for chocolate fudge cakes for 2, chocolate soufflé, peanut butter chocolate lava cakes, and lemon pudding cakes.

If you don’t have ramekins, you can use a muffin pan. Grease 6 muffin pan cups and dust with cocoa powder to prevent the lava cakes from sticking. Since your lava cakes will be slightly smaller, you’ll get 6 lava cakes instead of 4. Bake at 425°F (218°C) for 8-10 minutes. Use a spoon to release the cakes from the pan and place each upside down on plates.

overhead image of white ramekins with a dusting of cocoa powder inside

lava cake batter in a muffin pan

chocolate lava cakes in a muffin pan after baking

Optional Toppings for Chocolate Lava Cakes

Once the warm lava cakes are inverted onto plates, the fun really begins! So many toppings pair wonderfully with these chocolate lava cakes. Here are a few of our favorites:

See Your Chocolate Lava Cakes!

collage of lava cakes

Many readers tried this recipe as part of a baking challenge! Feel free to email or share your recipe photos with us on social media. 🙂

Print
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chocolate lava cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on a white plate

Chocolate Lava Cakes

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 14 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 or 6 cakes 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Here’s how to make incredibly decadent homemade chocolate lava cakes!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 6 ounces (170g) high quality semi-sweet chocolate*
  • 1/2 cup (115g; 1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (31g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 cup (60g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks*
  • optional for topping: ice cream, raspberries, and/or chocolate syrup

Instructions

  1. Spray four 6 ounce ramekin with nonstick cooking spray and dust with cocoa powder. This ensures the cakes will seamlessly come out of the ramekins when inverted onto a plate in step 7. *Or spray half of a 12-count muffin pan and dust with cocoa powder. If baking in a muffin pan, the recipe will yield 6 cakes.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C).
  3. Coarsely chop the chocolate. Place butter into a medium heat-proof bowl, then add chopped chocolate on top. Microwave on high in 10 second increments, stirring after each until completely smooth. Set aside.
  4. Whisk the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt together in a small bowl. Whisk the eggs and egg yolks together until combined in another small bowl. Pour the flour mixture and eggs into the bowl of chocolate. Slowly stir everything together using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. If there are any lumps, gently use your whisk to rid them. The batter will be slightly thick.
  5. Spoon chocolate batter evenly into each prepared ramekin or muffin cup.
  6. Place ramekins onto a baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes until the sides appear solid and firm– the tops will still look soft. *If baking in a muffin pan, the cakes only take about 8-10 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool for 1 minute, then cover each with an inverted plate and turn over. Use an oven mitt because those ramekins are hot! The cakes should release easily from the ramekin. *If you used a muffin pan, use a spoon to release the cakes from the pan and place each upside down on plates.
  8. Add toppings. Serve immediately.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can prepare the batter through step 4. Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Allow to come to room temperature before continuing with step 5. You can freeze the baked lava cakes for up to 3 months. Allow them to cool completely before freezing. Re-heat in the microwave.
  2. Special Tools: Glass Mixing Bowls, Rainbow Whisk, Muffin Pan, Ramekins, and Baker’s Chocolate
  3. Chocolate: Make sure to use high quality chocolate, not chocolate chips. You won’t have much “lava” with chocolate chips! I suggest high quality chocolate baking bars sold in the baking aisle such as Baker’s, Ghirardelli, Nestle, or Lindt. They’re all typically sold in 4 ounce bars, so you will need 1 and 1/2 bars total.
  4. Eggs: For this recipe, you need 2 whole eggs plus an addition 2 egg yolks. (Use the 2 extra egg whites in an omelet or in any of my recipes with egg whites.) After 10-14 minutes in an oven this hot, the eggs should be cooked to 160°F which is considered safe to eat. If you’re concerned, you can take the temperature to be sure!

Keywords: chocolate lava cake, lava cake

chocolate lava cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on a white plate

Reader Questions and Reviews

    1. Hi Ritika, you can melt the chocolate on the stovetop!

  1. What if you wanted to make them orange flavored? Would you just add in a bit of orange juice and zest or would you need to substitute some of the liquid out?

    1. Hi Dina! We’ve never tested an orange version of this recipe – sounds delicious. Adding orange zest is a great idea, but adding orange juice would throw off the consistency of the batter. You could always try some extract as well. Let us know what you try!

      1. I cheated and used really good orange infused chocolate. 🙂 Worked perfectly!

      2. These are easy and amazing. Would they come out the same with milk chocolate instead of semi-sweet? Or at least partially milk chocolate?

  2. Hi! Love this recipe! I have made it three times and always a success. The frozen cakes – should I let them come to room temperature before heating it in the microwave or can I reheat it straight from the freezer?

    1. Hi Dora, you don’t need to bring to room temperature first. You can simply reheat these in the microwave until warm.

  3. Hi, I have a jumbo muffin tin that I suspect would work well as a substitute for the ramekins. If I want six of these instead of the standard sized muffins, I should increase every ingredient by 50%? Thanks!

    1. Hi Abi, we haven’t tested it but other bakers have reported using a jumbo muffin tin with success – they should be about the same size (and bake time) as the 6 oz ramekins, though you can measure yours to make sure (will yield 4 lava cakes). You can make 1.5x the recipe for 6 cakes. Enjoy!

      1. Thanks so much! I made this almost exactly as instructed, except for substituting 1/3 of the confectioners sugar with Swerve. Everyone loved them and the jumbo muffin tin worked perfectly to get 6 cakes! The one thing about the muffin tin is that it is tricky to deposit them onto plates for serving without potentially losing some of the “lava”. I think I will invest in ramekins for next time as they are useful for other things too. Thanks again for the excellent recipe, and for all the excellent recipes I’ve gotten from your website over the years!

  4. This recipe was amazing! Everyone loved it. I served with whipped cream and fresh raspberries.

  5. This recipe was amazingly easy and amazingly delicious. I made the batter ahead and then kept it in the fridge until I was ready to bake. I made 1.5 batch and made 9 in a muffin pan. They came out perfectly. Everyone loved them! I will make these again!

  6. I just got done eating these lava cakes, and I need a nap . Talk about indulgent! I used a bar each of lindt 90% and 85% dark chocolate, and added 5 Tbsp of granulated sugar to the melted chocolate to make up for the lack of sugar. I also added 1/2 tsp of espresso powder to the dry ingredients. They came out perfect in texture, albeit a tad bitter, but that’s my fault for using the chocolate that I used. I’ll definitely be making these again with semi-sweet chocolate. Great recipe!

  7. This is a keeper folks!! I tried quit a few lava cake recipes and they all left me very disappointed, but not this one. Super easy, super quick and the absolute best. Not too sweet, but with a very rich flavor.

    1. Hi Jan! We haven’t tested a mint version of these chocolate lava cakes yet – you could try adding 1/4-1/2 tsp peppermint extract (it’s white strong so add to taste) to the batter. Let us know what you try!

  8. This recipe is AMAZING! I am planning to make it again this weekend and wondering if I can double the recipe with success? Thanks Sally, I just love your recipes!

  9. This recipe is no fail and delicious. One lazy day I used my mixer instead of a whisk and discovered to my pleasure that I can get enough batter to fill a muffin tin because the eggs get so airy and beaten.
    I love reading the comments and seeing other peoples takes and ideas, I can’t wait to try the orange chocolate!
    Thank you Sally!!

    1. Hi Hilary, did you beat the eggs first then add the melted chocolate & butter mix then hand fold the dry ingredients? Thanks

  10. Have you ever made this recipe in the hadi-foil (aluminum foil) pans? I’m assuming grease really well (even better than a cupcake tin), right? My students are using this recipe as a final and I’m trying to minimize dishes needing to be cleaned.

    1. Hi Mary, we haven’t tried it ourselves, but we imagine that should work as you suggest. Let us know how it goes!

  11. Very nice recipe. Could I use granulated sugar instead of powdered sugar.? I thought the. cake part was a bit dry and not as moist because of the cornstarch in the confectioners sugar. I did not overbake and
    I just wanted the cake part a bit moister.

    1. Hi JR, we recommend sticking with powdered sugar for a light, fluffy cake. It’s easy to over bake these, so just try a minute less in the oven next time. Thank you for giving this recipe a try!

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