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

240 Comments

  1. My batter split and the resulting cakes were a disaster. They tasted wonderful but overall inedible. Any suggestions to avoid broken batter?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Andrew, batter usually splits when your ingredients have too much variation in temperature. Make sure to let the chocolate cool so it’s not piping hot when you add the other ingredients. Bringing your eggs to room temperature before beginning should help next time as well. Thank you so much for giving this recipe a try!

  2. I made this for my wife (and me) for Valentine’s Day. At age 75, I decided that it might be fun to start baking. I’ve only baked a few things so far, this being one of them. I used ramekins as suggested. I found the recipe very easy to follow, and the results were great. My wife who is somewhat of a chocoholic was impressed that I could make them and that they tasted so good. Thanks for your help.
    I am not sure why you say, “And, if 4 or 6 lava cakes are simply too many to have around, try this 2 serving recipe for chocolate fudge cakes instead” because the ingredients are very easy to cut in half and make just 2 ramekins which is what I did.

  3. I made these last night as a late Valentine’s dessert for me and my sisters! OMG…so incredibly rich and delicious! So much lava! I topped these little lava cakes with a little mint flavored melted chocolate, whipped cream and shaved chocolate curls! This recipe is definitely a keeper! Thank you for sharing!

  4. Bridget Richard says:

    I made them for Fat Tuesday. They came together in no time. I can’t believe it was this easy. The kids think I am superwoman!

  5. Hi Sally,
    I’m about to try these out for my sister’s birthday and I was wondering if I could use a 6 inch cake pan and just increase the baking time by a couple minutes?
    Thanks! Love all your recipes. Just made your granola bars this morning!! So good!!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Phoebe, we haven’t tested that so can’t say for sure. You may love this 6 inch chocolate cake recipe instead!

  6. I only have 4oz ramekins…. how long should I bake them?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Renee! Bake time will be shorter, but we’re unsure exactly how long the smaller cakes will take.

  7. Sheila Calnan says:

    Made these yesterday. I did half the recipe, as it was only me eating them. Only concern I had was when half of something ended up being “.5”, my scale is whole numbers. Tried to get as close as possible. Guess I did OK as they turned out great. Used 2-6oz Pyrex ramekins. Made the batter early and stuck in the fridge. Took them out after I ate dinner and baked them off. Thanks Sally for a quick and easy dessert.

  8. Hi Sally! We love this recipe. The richness of the chocolate is amazing!! I’m making them again this evening but hoping to freeze a couple for a later date. Do you have a recommendation on how to wrap them for freezer? Thanks in advance! Your website and all of your tips has been so incredibly helpful to me!!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kim! Allow them to cool completely before freezing. You can either cover them tightly with plastic wrap or place them in an air-tight container (or both for best protection). Enjoy!

  9. These are soooooo good! I totally recommend them and i think they are great and I don’t think any changes are needed. I made them in a muffin tin and worked great! perfect size as they are rich and fill you up quick! Thank you sally! 🙂

  10. Very good / family loved. Easy to make but was wondering if batter is made and put into ramekins & then refrigerated – how much if any, is cooking time increased?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jessica, you can make the batter ahead of time and refrigerate for up to two days. We recommend then bringing it to room temperature before spooning into the ramekins. See recipe notes for more details. Glad to hear this recipe was a hit for your family!

      1. Jessica McGee says:

        Appreciate this info. Will make it easier to serve. Can be with friends/family and just have to put lava cakes in oven. Great desert!

  11. Hi / I only have 8 oz ramekins – should I make less servings or fill them up less? Also how full should the ramekins be?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi LF, you can use the 8 oz ramekins and simply divide the batter equally among the four. The baking time will be a bit longer, but we’re unsure of the exact amount. Try another 1-2 minutes, keeping a close eye on them.

  12. Great recipe, I love it. It came out amazing. I made 4 ramekins, 12 min in oven, but I should let its for 13-14 because it’s was big ramekins. I tried a few recipes and i need to ajust its a lot to came out right….. This was perfect. Love it, al my family love it. Thank you Sally ❤️

  13. Karen Logan says:

    Delicious and simple. Came out perfect. This is a save for sure

  14. Hi Sally! I have the jumbo muffin pan for the blueberry muffins and was wondering if that would work for this recipe/how long should I cook it for? I’ve been loving every recipe I’ve made of yours (specifically the Nutella brownies!) Thanks so much!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Emily, 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).

  15. Hi can I double the plain chocolate recipe and just add peanut butter to half if it?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Julia! Yes, the chocolate cake batter recipe can be doubled. Feel free to add peanut butter to half of them!

  16. Juliana Loewen says:

    Do these work exactly the same with gluten free flour? Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Juliana, We haven’t tested these lava cakes with gluten free flour, but let us know how it goes if you give it a try!

  17. Juliana Loewen says:

    Ok, I replaced the flour with cornstarch to make them GF and they totally worked. I also used the Costco bag of semisweet chipits. I over cooked by about a minute but still very gooey! Delish!

  18. I love this recipe! However my cakes didn’t lava at all, I use ceramic ramekings and bake them for about 13 min. Is it posiible I overcook them? They are moist and really good flavor though. I also let them cool longer than I wanted but i reheat them in the microwave and nothing ooze.

  19. Can I omit the confectioners sugar?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jenny, we don’t recommend it. The taste, texture, and structure will be compromised without it.

  20. I made this and OMG it was sooo good!! Thank you so much for this recipe. If someone hesitates to make this cake I can assure it’s delicious!

  21. This is a great recipe! I used Nestle Toll House semisweet chips and it worked great!! I doubled it and made them in a silicone cupcake mold. I did half as described and half with dollops of peanut butter in the middle. (PS- If you don’t know this already, put your mold on a baking tray BEFORE you fill them!) I had to bake mine for about 14 minutes and I had to let them cool for somewhere around 10 minutes. I was able to gently pop mine out with my fingers. Gently palpitate the bottom and sides of the cup and carefully pop the cake out. I wrapped the extras individually and I will be freezing some of them for a ray of sunshine on a rainy day or for a special occasion.

  22. Can salted butter be used instead? I have everything but the butter and would like to make these tonight. Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Tami! Yes, you can use salted butter. You likely won’t need the 1/8 tsp of salt the recipe calls for.

    2. I always use salted butter but make the recipe exactly the same otherwise and it’s WONDERFUL! I actually prefer that little bit of extra salt.

  23. Annabelle Parfitt says:

    Hi Sally,

    Thanks for all your amazing recipes – I love your blog!

    I want to make these lava cakes ahead of time and freeze them in individual ramekins.

    Do I freeze the batter raw? or cooked?

    And then how long do I cook them for from frozen?

    Please help! Thank you so much 🙂

    Annabelle

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Annabelle, you can freeze the baked lava cakes for up to 3 months. Allow them to cool completely before freezing. Re-heat in the microwave to your liking — enjoy!

  24. hey guys,
    I don’t know what happened to my cakes but they turned out sinking and super flat, they didn’t have any “lava” inside.
    Tell me what I did wrong,
    Attia

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Attia, Thank you for trying this recipe. Did you happen to make any ingredient substitutions or changes to the recipe? Usually when there is no lava it’s from not using high quality chocolate (see recipe note) or from over-baking. Both of these are easy fixes if you decide to try this recipe again!

  25. I have made these before and they were amazing! I just can’t remember how much to fill the ramekins? Do they rise when cooking?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Matt! You can fill them almost to the top – see step by step photos in the post above for a visual.

  26. Brittany A says:

    Excellent recipe with easy to follow instructions. I made it for the first time last night and it was a hit!

  27. These are absolutely amazing and so easy to make! I was a bit intimidated initially but my son requested them last year for his birthday so decided to give them a whirl. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about them. I’m not one to eat batter or raw cookie dough or anything of that nature and I’d never had a “real” lava cake so was afraid it would taste like that. I couldn’t have been more wrong. They were a hit with everyone and my fiancé actually said it was the best cake he’d ever had.

  28. Dianne Carson says:

    I was planning on making these for my granddaughter, but I was going to freeze them first, Is the chocolate lava still soft when they are thawed out or do you have to heat them up first? She wanted icing on them that is why I am asking. Thanks so much
    Cheers Dianne

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Dianne! We recommend warming the thawed lava cakes in the microwave to enjoy after freezing. Hope they’re a hit!

  29. Do NOT use gluten free flour! Lol. I tried making these for my daughter, but the GF flour was a disaster.
    However, the regular flour was delicious! Amazing recipe!!!

  30. i was going to make this but is there a way to make this in one big cake rather than separate small cakes?
    btw i love ur recipes

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