This Molten Chocolate Cake Recipe (otherwise known as Chocolate Lava Cake) is the perfect dessert for Valentine’s Day, or any other special romantic occasion! (Or when your kids request it every time you ask, “What should we have for dessert?”) Deceptively simple and quick to make, you can whip these up from start to finish in less than 30 minutes!
But if there’s one dessert that gets made more than any other at my house, it has to be these Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes. This is the perfect dessert, not only for special occasions or a dinner party, but for any day of the week for several reasons:
- They taste amazing and are fun for kids to eat.
- They look fancy and are impressive.
- They are so quick and easy to make.
- They use basic ingredients that I always have on hand. (No heavy cream needed!)
- You don’t need to use an electric hand mixer or stand mixer. I always just mix these up by hand!
- This recipe just makes six lava cakes, which means there isn’t a ton of extra leftover dessert that I will feel obligated to eat.
Ingredients for Chocolate Lava Cakes
- semi-sweet chocolate chips (or a mix of semi-sweet and dark/bittersweet chocolate)
- powdered sugar
- large eggs
- vanilla extract
- all-purpose flour
How to make Chocolate Lava Cakes
First, you’ll want to preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
While that is heating up, get your large muffin tins or ramekins ready. (You’ll want a jumbo muffin tin with space for six muffins, or six 6-ounce ramekins).
Thoroughly grease them with softened butter or shortening. Then dust them with cocoa powder. This is optional, but you REALLY don’t want the lava cakes to stick, so make sure you thoroughly grease everything! (You can also use non-stick spray).
Then add butter and the chocolate to a large microwave-safe bowl and and heat on high in the microwave for 30 seconds.
After heating for 30 seconds, remove from the microwave and stir. Put back in the microwave for another 30 seconds. Remove and stir again.
If everything isn’t melted yet, put back in the microwave in 15-second intervals until everything is melted and blended together.
Now add powdered sugar and salt to your melted chocolate. The mixture will be thick.
Now it’s time to add the eggs. We’re using three whole eggs in addition to three egg yolks here.
Stir everything together. Take your time. It will take a little bit to get the eggs fully incorporated. You also want to add some vanilla here.
Lastly, you’ll add some flour and fold that in until you have a medium-thick batter.
Now just divide batter evenly between your prepared ramekins or muffin wells. Fill them about 2/3 of the way full. I like to use my OXO Medium Cookie Scoop to make sure I divide everything evenly.
Now pop those in the oven and bake for 11-12 minutes. (If you are using ramekins, place them on a baking sheet before putting them in the oven).
The edges should be set, but the center should still be soft. You’ll see the top begin to crack.
Unlike regular cake, you can’t just stick a toothpick in the middle to see if they’re done! You don’t want them to be done in the middle! Just adjust your baking time until the tops of the cakes look baked and crackly. There could be a little oozing through the cracks, but that’s o.k!
Now let them sit for a minute or two. Run a small knife (I use a plastic knife so I don’t scratch my tin) around the edges of the molten lava cakes. I sometimes do a little “lever” motion with the knife at the bottom of the lava cakes to kind of lift them off the bottom of the tin. I just want to make sure everything is nice and loose and ready to fall out when I flip the tin over.
Once I’ve carefully loosened everything, I place another baking sheet or cutting board over the top and then flip both the cutting board and muffin tin at the same time. (Hopefully that makes sense).
Now you carefully transfer the lava cakes to dessert plates.
Serve the warm lava cakes with whipped cream, fruit, a dusting of cocoa powder, a sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar, or a scoop of ice cream.
You can also serve them at room temperature (after they’ve cooled,) but the molten centers will have become a little more like pudding.
Can Chocolate Lava Cakes be made ahead of time?
If you want to prep these ahead of time, I suggest you just whip up the batter and refrigerate it until ready to bake. Then about 20 minutes before you want to serve them, pop them into the oven so they can be fresh and warm with that ooey gooey center.
You can also bake these ahead of time, and the center of the cake should still stay liquid, or may turn into pudding. However, they won’t be warm when they are served.
Can you reheat the Molten Chocolate Cakes?
There is really no good way to reheat Chocolate Lava Cakes. Putting them in the microwave will alter the texture. Additionally, microwave ovens heat unevenly and only penetrate about an inch into your food.
I don’t suggest using an oven or toaster oven, either. This will just result in an over-baked exterior.
Can you freeze Chocolate Lava Cakes?
You can, but prepare for the texture to change. Once thawed, the center will be more like fudge instead of liquid. And based on the fact that you can’t successfully reheat these, I would suggest not freezing them.
The bottom line is, these are best made and eaten all within a half hour period! If you have guests over for dinner and want these to be fresh, just mix up the batter and pour it into your ramekins or large cupcake pan. You can leave the batter on the counter (no longer than two hours), but it’s preferable to put it in the refrigerator.
Then about 20 minutes before you want to serve the lava cakes, put them into the oven (they only take 11-12 minutes to bake).
How to store Chocolate Lava Cakes
If you have any leftover lava cakes, just place them in the refrigerator, loosely covered with plastic wrap. As mentioned above, I don’t recommend reheating them, but they are delicious cold, too!
This recipe adapted from Cooking Classy.
- 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, or a mix of semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate. (About a total of one cup of chocolate chips).
- 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 cubes), cut into 1-tablespoon pats.
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 large egg yolks
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup flour
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
- Thoroughly grease 6 jumbo muffin wells, or 6 (6 ounce) ramekins. Sprinkle greased interiors with cocoa powder if desired.
- Place the chocolate and butter in a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove and stir. Put back in the microwave for another 30 seconds. Remove and stir again. If everything is not fully melted, return to the microwave in 15-second increments, stirring after each time.
- Stir in the powdered sugar and salt. Batter will be thick.
- Add the three large eggs and three egg yolks, along with the vanilla. Slowly stir until everything is fully incorporated.
- Add the flour and fold in until fully mixed.
- Divide the batter evenly between the six jumbo muffin wells or ramekins. Each should be about 2/3 full of batter.
- Place in the oven for 11-12 minutes, until the edges are set but the center is still soft. The top should be cracked and the center should jiggle a little when you shake the pan. (If using ramekins, place them on a baking sheet before inserting into the oven).
- Allow the lava cakes to cool for 1-2 minutes. Then slide a knife around the edges to loosen.
- Invert the lava cakes onto a cutting board or baking sheet. Then carefully transfer to dessert plates. (It's best to slide a spatula under them so that the center doesn't leak out during transfer).
- Serve warm with ice cream, whipped cream, fruit, or powdered sugar sprinkled on top.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 597Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 23gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 278mgSodium: 302mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 3gSugar: 43gProtein: 10g