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 my 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 my team and I 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 made fresh at home. I included this recipe over on my Valentine’s Day dessert recipes page, but they’re just as rich and tasty without a holiday on the calendar. 🙂
If you prefer a gluten-free option, consider making rich and fudge-like flourless chocolate cake.
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!
- Ultra molten-like center
- No mixer required
- Only 6 ingredients
- A super quick bake time
- No cooling time
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.
- 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.
- Make the chocolate cake batter.
- Spoon the batter evenly into each ramekin.
- Bake. The high oven temperature cooks the outside of the mini cakes but leaves the center slightly gooey. The tops may look somewhat soft.
- Invert the ramekins. Carefully flip the freshly baked lava cakes upside down onto plates.
- 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.
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.
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 my favorites:
- ice cream
- chocolate ganache
- red wine chocolate ganache
- melted peanut butter
- salted caramel
- whipped cream
- mocha whipped cream from our flourless chocolate cake recipe
- fresh berries
Chocolate Lava Cakes Success
Many readers tried this recipe as part of a baking challenge!Print
Chocolate Lava Cakes
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 14 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 4 or 6 cakes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Here’s how to make incredibly decadent homemade chocolate lava cakes!
- 6 ounces (170g) high-quality semi-sweet chocolate*
- 1/2 cup (115g; 1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup (31g) all-purpose flour (spooned & 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
- Spray four 6-ounce ramekins 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.
- Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C).
- Coarsely chop the chocolate. Place butter in 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.
- 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.
- Spoon chocolate batter evenly into each prepared ramekin or muffin cup.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add toppings. Serve immediately.
- 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. Reheat in the microwave.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): 6-Ounce Ramekins or Muffin Pan | Glass Mixing Bowls | Whisk | Spatula or Wooden Spoon | Baking Sheet
- Chocolate: Make sure to use high-quality chocolate, not chocolate chips. You won’t have much “lava” with chocolate chips! I always use pure chocolate baking bars (found in the grocery store baking aisle), such as Baker’s, Ghirardelli, or Lindt. They’re typically sold in 4-ounce bars, so you will need 1 and 1/2 bars total.
- Eggs: For this recipe, you need 2 whole eggs plus an additional 2 egg yolks. (Use the 2 extra egg whites in an omelet or in any of these 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 with an instant read thermometer to be sure.
Keywords: chocolate lava cake, lava cake
Reader Comments & Reviews
This is the BEST recipe ever!! I added golf fleck paper from Amazon because I made it for NYE and everyone was so impressed! The best part is that it is beyond easy to make!
Can you use Pyrex custard cups instead of ramekins to bake the lava cakes?
Hi Patricia, if they’re the same size as ramekins that should be fine.
Hey Sally, do the eggs need to be at room temperature or refrigerated?
Hi Laura! Either is fine for this particular recipe.
How long do you microwave these after being cooked and put in the refrigerator. Do you need to bring them to room temperature before microwaving them?
Hi Danielle! You don’t need to bring to room temperature first. You can simply reheat these in the microwave until warm. The exact time needed will depend on your microwave.
i am brining this to a dinner party. Should i leave them in the cup and warm in micro when i get there?
Hi Joyce! Re-warming these lava cakes could result in over-baking. See recipe notes for our suggested make-ahead instructions!
I love this recipes my favorite molton chocolate cakes vanilla ice cream on top chcolate cakes respberries and blackberries on side
from ackum matharu
You’ve done it again Sally! Thanks so much for these delicious lava cakes! Before baking I added one raspberry and dark chocolate melt for a little surprise when we ate them. They turned out perfect! I will definitely be making these again!
I’ve used Guittard chips both times I’ve made these and they were excellent. Also, cannot stress enough the perfection of topping with bourbon whipped cream.
Made two of these for my birthday weekend. They’re rich, decadent, and simple to make (and go really well with some salted caramel sauce). 5 out of 5 stars!
Do you have any experience with substitutions for the butter? Coconut oil or organic shortening? We are dairy free. Thanks!
Hi TJ, We haven’t tested it so we are unsure of the outcome, but 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil could be subbed in.
Ok so coconut oil is a huge bust. I am not rating the recipe poorly since I didn’t make it as directed. If I try this again I may sub palm shortening or earth balance but my guess is butter is essential.
These were great! So tasty, absolutely made my day. I baked them for 12 minutes and they weren’t very runny anymore, next time I will probably go for 10 just to have that oozy chocolate dripping, but really great recipe.
Thank you for it!
Mine didn’t lava, and I followed the recipe to the T. What could this be due to?
Hi Samantha, 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!
False recipe. Too less flour. To much butter.
A solid WOW! I followed your recipe exactly; they turned out perfect. Very easy, very rich, might need a nap after indulging!
Hi! Can we prep ahead and cook before serving?
Hi Nicole, 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. Enjoy!
My ramekins are safe only up to 400 degrees F. Can i cook then for longer at the lower temp?
Hi Deanna, that should work fine – add a few minutes to the baking time. Enjoy!
Will these turn out if put in a mug and microwaved for 60 seconds?
We haven’t tested baking these lava cakes in the microwave, but let us know if you do!
Will my lava cake be completely ruined if I use chips, or will it just be not as good? Thanks!
Hi Elon, It won’t be completed ruined, but you won’t have much “lava” with chocolate chips! We suggest high quality chocolate baking bars sold in the baking aisle.
I was so thrilled to find this recipe, one night when I was craving something chocolatey but did not want to leave the house. It was so quick and simple, and turned out delicious! I did mine in muffin tins and it worked out well. Thank you.
Can I grease my ramekins with crisco instead of spray?
That shouldn’t be a problem.
What are the asterisks for?
6 ounces (170g) high quality semi-sweet chocolate*
2 large egg yolks*
*Looks like comments in the Notes. *
Hi Doug! Yes, you can find details on those ingredients in the recipe notes. Happy baking!
This was so delicious! Just made it. Instead of using all semi sweet chocolate, I used 4 oz of semi and 2 ounces of Bittersweet. I baked for 14 minutes but could have done 12-13. Sally you never fail me!!! Served it with powdered sugar on top and vanilla ice cream. Yummy
Hi! Do you have any suggestions on reheating? Or does the lava-y consistency usually stay with freshly baked cakes?
Hi Adrienne, you can simply reheat these in the microwave until warm. The inside should come back to lava consistency once reheated. Enjoy!
The cake was delicious but mine didn’t “lava”. What did I do wrong?
Can I use cupcake tins but use the same recipe?
Hi Kat! Yes, there are instructions included for baking these chocolate lava cakes in a cupcake/muffin pan in the written recipe above. Hope you love them!
Successfully used this recipe with muffin tin. The batter filled four muffin liners for me. Can recommend making the batter beforehand, I completed step 4 and put it in the fridge until it was time for dessert. Baked for 8 minutes and turned out great!
Excellent and easy!
Mine are in the oven tight now..I had everything except the butter so I used bevel..I’m hoping the substitution works. Thanks for the great recipe
Hi! I’d been wanting to make these for a while, and I’d had the fancy baking chocolate in my pantry for a while. I FINALLY MADE THEM!! They were so good, and my family loved them. The chocolate lava with the vanilla ice cream, mhm!! Thanks for the great recipe!!
My son and I made these and they were excellent. Very easy to follow and we had all of the ingredients at home.