How to Make Chocolate Lava Cakes

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.

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:

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
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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


Ingredients

  • 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

241 Comments

  1. Just made these! I looked at them after 12 minutes and couldn’t decide if they were done so left them one more minute. Probably wrong as although they were really gooey, they didn’t flow when opened! Next time will stop at 12 minutes. Needless to say, we finished them off as they were still absolutely delicious!

  2. Mine came out perfect! Thank you. I used Chirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chips. Thank you,

  3. If I do not have cocoa powder, can I sprinkle the pans with flour or confectioners sugar?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kyle, Confectioners sugar will work.

  4. The best chocolava I have ever had! I mean it was at par in fact better than the one we get at Dominoes. Truly loved it, will bake them again.

  5. I have made a dozen different recipes for lava cakes. My family said that these were “the best they ever had”- and they have a high bar! Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  6. So easy and really perfect. I had to play around with baking times depending on the oven, temperature of space I was using, etc. I actually wasted one each time I made them as a tester (pulling out on the early end of recommended bake time to see if still too soupy in the middle). Sally makes an intimidating concept very doable for an amateur. The more you make them in a similar setting the more they become a breeze!

  7. Can you freeze Uncooked batter?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Tom, It’s best to freeze after baking. See recipe notes for details.

  8. Can I make this in a 9×13 pan? Would I need to double the recipe?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Nicole, We do not recommend using this recipe for that size cake. You can use the recipe for Triple Chocolate Cake and follow the recipe notes for a 9×13 inch pan.

  9. Could I use 70% bittersweet chocolate? That’s what I have on hand. Thx!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Erin, absolutely. Bittersweet chocolate will yield a deeper, darker chocolate flavor. Enjoy!

  10. First of all, I’d like to say I love your recipes and you are my go to for all things baking!! This is the first recipe of yours I have ‘changed’ only because my 8 year old said “can we put our own twist on this?” So we did! We added a little cocoa powder and vanilla extract just to help get her creative juices flowing. My cupcake pan is smaller so I did over cook them not accounting for faster cook time due to their size. Delicious little cake and we will make it again! Thanks for your website and videos and really helping me learn how to bake!

  11. This recipe turned out PERFECTLY and was so easy! Thank you!

  12. Brittney Tuschl says:

    Hi! I absolutely love this recipe but for some reasons I sometimes get a bad batch and I can’t tell until I bake them. They come out very bubbly and with little holes making it look gritty but it wasn’t. What could be the reasoning? I make sure there are no lumps.

  13. First time making this and they are so good. Cooked them for 12 min 45 seconds.
    I never knew how easy these were to bake.

  14. Perfect & easy! We just moved into our new house & I wanted to bake us something to celebrate. I used coconut oil instead of butter (we don’t have a fridge yet) and baked for 13 minutes, they turned out perfect. Saving this recipe to use over & over!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Thank you for using our recipe to celebrate your new home, Lauren!

  15. Very easy!! Absolutely amazing

  16. Hi! I just wanna give a quick feedback on this recipe… IT IS GOOD!

    my son used this recipe for their home economics project. He followed everything on the recipe (though we adjusted the sweetness by tuning it down a bit than asked) and I came out very very good on the first run.

    Our encounter with this is the cooking time. It took us longer than 10 minutes to achieve the results. So I guess the rule of ovens apply.

    This is my 3rd recipe I tried from your site and I must say… Thank you! Not only are your recipes friendly it is very yummy too!

  17. Dana Fernandez says:

    Hello Sally,
    Would it be good if I added Espresso powder to this recipe? You have it in your German Chocolate Cake recipe and it turned out so incredibly good!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes, espresso powder would be delicious!

  18. Hi! I just made this recipe for my family and it was a ABSOLUTE hit! We all loved it so much the whole dessert tray was gone in less than 10 minutes! Thank you soooooo much for the amazing recipe Sally! Will definitely be using this recipe many more times in the future!

  19. Love this recipe! Also want to add that I don’t eat gluten, and I’ve made it with both cassava flour and coconut flour and both times it came out great. The chocolate taste is very strong so I imagine you wouldn’t notice even if you used buckwheat or other strong-tasting flours too.

  20. Hi,
    Do you have the high altitude adjustment for this recipe?
    Thank you

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jessica, I wish we could help, but we have no experience baking at high altitude. I know some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

  21. Is this a recipe that must be eaten immediately (like the chocolate soufflé)? I see it makes 6 but I’m making it for twins for Valentine’s Day so want to save the remainder for others. Thank you.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Gina! These are best served immediately. We recommend freezing the extras – see recipe notes for details.

  22. Would this recipe work as well with bittersweet chocolate? Or perhaps with half semisweet and half bittersweet? We are dark chocolate lovers.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ellen, absolutely. Bittersweet chocolate will yield a deeper, darker chocolate flavor. Enjoy!

  23. Hi Sally,
    Can these be made in the jumbo muffin tin (6 cups)? How filled should each cup be and how long in the oven? Thanks – Susan

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Susan! 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).

  24. I’ve made this recipe a handful of times. Always a massive hit. Thanks for such a easy delicious recipe!!

  25. Fantastic taste and presentation, Sally. And easy to make!
    Perfect Valentine’s Day dinner treat! THANK YOU as always for your detailed instructions. They really help so much. I appreciate you and your team so much!

  26. Virginia Marie Cuce says:

    I made these for Valentine’s Day dessert. They came out of the ramekin effortlessly and tasted delicious.
    I was hoping the chocolate would flow out a bit… but it did not. The center while moist wasn’t very gooey. I baked them for 14 minutes.
    Perhaps more chocolate next time or a bit shorter baking time?
    There will definitely be a “next time!” Yum! Yum!

  27. Sally never fails! I have become obsessed with your recipes since the Pandemic. I probably try a new recipe every 2 weeks. And they all become favorites. This recipe is perfect! I wish I could post my pic of how my dessert turned out. The “lava” was not a liquid, but it did flow out. I probably needed to bake for 30-60 seconds less.
    Can this recipe be doubled to fill a 12 cup muffin tin? Thanks Sally!!

  28. These are delicious and SUPER easy to make. I used 70% chocolate and it worked well – they weren’t too sweet. I think you could even go darker with the chocolate. Thank you for this recipe!

  29. Made these for Valentines Day and they were a great hit! Also made the mocha whip cream to serve with them and raspberries! Super delicious.

  30. I just made these choc lava cakes for a late valentine’s Day dessert, topped them with vanilla Ice cream and sliced strawberries, they were absolutely delicious!!! I followed the recipe and notes exactly and it all turned out perfect, we all loved them! Thank you Sally thank you, well worth making and sharing

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