How to Make Chocolate Lava Cakes

Rich and fudgy chocolate lava cakes come together with 6 simple ingredients. Ready in just 25 minutes, this easy dessert recipe always impresses. If you don’t have ramekins, follow my instructions for using a muffin pan instead.

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

Today, we’re making straight up chocolate lava cakes– though my peanut butter chocolate lava cakes are truly magical as well. I’ve gotten many requests for a plain chocolate version and I decided to finally make them because (1) chocolate molten lava and (2) chocolate molten lava. I love that these chocolate lava cakes are single serving just like my chocolate cupcakes— and that they’re even more rich and chocolatey than my chocolate cake recipe. If you enjoy this recipe but are looking for a gluten free option, try my flourless chocolate cake.

The secret for making chocolate lava cakes is… there’s no secret at all! You’ll be delightfully surprised at how easy these really are to make.


Chocolate Lava Cakes Are Easier Than You Think

I appreciate that making these lava cakes doesn’t involve anything complicated and if you don’t have the little ramekins I use– you can use a muffin pan. I’ll show you how to use both.

I worked at Chili’s throughout college– I know a good molten lava cake when I see one. While the molten cakes came to the restaurant frozen, a quick zap in the microwave made that chocolate completely ooze out with the first bite. Molten cakes are obviously a crowd favorite, but believe me when I say this: they’re infinitely better freshly made at home. Plus, they’re easy and here’s proof:

  • no mixer required
  • only 6 ingredients
  • bake time is extremely quick
  • no waiting for them to cool

chocolate lava cakes topped with scoops of vanilla ice cream on a white plates with spoons

Quick Lava Cakes Video Tutorial

Overview: Here are the Steps 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 ounce ramekins. Grease each ramekin with a little non-stick 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 slightly soft.
  5. Invert the ramekins. Carefully flip the freshly baked lava cakes upside down onto plates.
  6. Add toppings & enjoy!

And, 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

You Need Ramekins or a Muffin Pan

I highly recommend using ramekins for these lava cakes. Here are the 6-ounce ramekins I use and recommend. They’re the perfect size for these single-serve lava cakes. You can use the same ramekins for chocolate fudge cakes, 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. 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.

Ramekins:

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

Or the muffin pan option:

lava cake batter in a muffin pan

chocolate lava cakes in a muffin pan after baking

Optional Toppings for Chocolate Lava Cakes

Once you flip the warm lava cakes upside down onto plates, the fun really begins! There are so many toppings that pair wonderfully with these chocolate lava cakes– here are a few of my favorites: ice cream, chocolate ganache or red wine chocolate ganache, melted peanut butter, salted caramel, whipped cream, mocha whipped cream used on my flourless chocolate cake, sprinkles, chocolate chips, fresh berries, you name it. 🙂

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

428 Comments

  1. I just purchased ramekins in order to bake this and I wanted to confirm that it’s 6oz ramekins? They looked a bit large so I wanted to check. Thanks!

    1. Yes, 4 6 ounce ramekins. Hope you love the cakes!

      1. Hi, can i know what type of sugar u using? I used brown sugar and turn out to be very sweet.
        Should I select top, bottom or surrounding for the oven.

      2. Can I half the recipe to just make two? I know you suggest another fudge cake for two but my partner really loves this one! Thx!

  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.

    2. Mollie Driscoll says:

      In using fancy rose ramekins . Will the batter come out of creases ok?

  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. Can I use normal sugar instead of confectioner’s sugar? And if thats not possible can how can I make the confectioner’s sugar?

  7. Hey just wondering if I need to use muffin cases for the lava cakes
    If I have no ramekins

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lucy, Yes a cupcake/muffin pan works. There are detailed directions in the post above. If baking in a muffin pan, the cakes only take about 8-10 minutes.

  8. If I freeze the baked cakes, do I need to thaw them before reheating in the microwave when preparing to serve ?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Karol, You can but you don’t need to! They can go right into the microwave from the freezer.

      1. How long in the microwave if thawed or if frozen?

  9. Hi. If I freeze, do I leave in ramekins then when ready to serve reheat in microwave? Or, do I need to invert them onto a plate before freezing?

  10. 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!

  11. Hi there!
    They were nice for sure but they’re was no lava oozing out… maybe I over baked?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sana, Yes it sounds like they were baked too long. If you try them again try baking for a minute or two less!

  12. Hi Sally,
    I would like to freeze these for Thanksgiving. Do I bake them and leave
    them in ramekins, or invert them and then freeze? If I want 6 can I figure
    the 4 recipe and also the one for 2, or just half the 4 cake one? I want them
    to bring some home.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sandy, We usually remove the cakes from the ramekins and individually wrap each and place into a freezer-friendly container. Reheat in the microwave until warm. You can either use a cupcake pan for 6 smaller cakes or make 1.5 times the recipe for 6 ramekins. Enjoy!

  13. I was wondering if its hard to take them out if your using a muffin pan?!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Korra, Just be sure to spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust with cocoa powder. This ensures the cakes will seamlessly come out of the pan when inverted.

  14. 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.

  15. Emma morrison says:

    Thank you so much Sally for the lava cake recipe. We recently had it at chili’s and fell in love with it. I’m making your recipe tomorrow. They put a ball of vanilla ice cream coated in chocolate on top of cake. What kind of chocolate did they use on the ice cream.

  16. 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.

  17. This lava cake are amazing. I am not good at baking. This was easy to bake. Thank you. My family really enjoyed it.

  18. The method was easy but the end result was dry. The ramekins were only in the oven for 11 minutes.

  19. Tanya and Cass says:

    Me and my housemate wanted chocolava cakes last minute. We found your recipe and twenty mins later (no joke) we were eating them topped with vanilla icecream, garnished with fresh mint leaves and rasberry. SO IMPRESSED. SO FAST. SO EASY. Five stars. Would make again. We made in shallow muffin tins for 11 mins. MUCHOS GRACIAS!

  20. 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!

  21. 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!

  22. Where does the butter come in?

  23. Allison Weiner says:

    This is going to be our NYE dessert! Just so happens I bought a Trader Joe’s dark chocolate pound plus bar the other day. Would that work in this recipe? Happy New Year!

  24. Jan Hagenberger says:

    Hi Sally – I’m looking forward to trying this recipe and I’m wondering if I can double it?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jan, Yes this recipe can be doubled. Enjoy!

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

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. Hi Sally – quick question about freezing:
    Have you ever tried freezing the lava cakes uncooked?
    If I cook and then freeze, what are your heating and serving instructions?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jackie, we haven’t tried freezing the batter — freezing the baked cakes works best. To freeze, we usually individually wrap each and place into a freezer-friendly container. Reheat in the microwave until warm. Enjoy!

  29. 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!

  30. Very easy!! Absolutely amazing

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