My decadent Chocolate Lava Cakes recipe is so simple to make! With just 6 ingredients that you probably already have on hand, I think you’ll be surprised by how easy this recipe really is! Recipe includes lots of tips and a how-to video!
Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes
Molten chocolate lava cakes. Was there ever a sweeter string of words? Was there ever a better, more decadent or more chocolate-y dessert? I don’t think so.
With their soft, cakey exteriors and positively molten chocolate interiors, these aren’t just decadent and rich, they’re also quick and easy to make. Yes, really! Lava cakes are so easy to make it’s almost a straight-up crime that I didn’t share this recipe sooner.
I’ve shared a lot of desserts for my fellow chocolate-lovers in the past, from chocolate pie to my favorite homemade brownies and chocolate cake, but this one (ahem) takes the cake. Let’s get started.
What You Need to Make Homemade Lava Cake
- Chocolate. I recommend using a quality chocolate bar and prefer 60% dark chocolate myself. Chocolate chips can be substituted but it’s not my preference and you lose some of that nice molten lava-ness (see my FAQ section for more info).
- Butter. I recommend a quality butter and like to use European-style myself. Of course, regular unsalted butter will work just fine.
- Sugar. Light brown sugar adds a beautiful depth of flavor to the lava cakes, but you can substitute regular granulated sugar in a pinch.
- Eggs. You need two whole eggs plus two additional egg yolks (save the egg whites to make meringues or Eton mess!).
- Flour. This recipe uses just a small bit of all-purpose flour. Make sure you measure your flour properly, otherwise you may not end up with as much lava as you should!
- Vanilla extract & instant coffee are both optional, but each adds their own lovely flavor to the chocolate lava cakes. I highly recommend both!
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Chocolate Lava Cakes
- Melt together chocolate and butter until completely melted. Stir in instant coffee and vanilla extract, if using.
- Separately, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, and sugar until foamy.
- Combine chocolate mixture, egg mixture, and sifted all-purpose flour and stir until the mixture is smooth and glossy.
- Portion into greased and floured ramekins and bake until edges are set and centers are still jiggly.
SAM’S TIP: Your oven must be fully preheated to 450F (235C) before you add the lava cakes, so turn it on before you begin baking. My oven takes 15-20 minutes to get to temperature, and it’ll often “beep” that it’s preheated and ready long before it actually is so I keep two oven thermometers in it to keep it honest.
Let your lava cakes cool for several minutes before (carefully) inverting onto a plate and serving warm. The top may cave just a bit, this is fine! That chocolate cake ring will keep the lava contained to the center, right where it’s supposed to be.
For a pretty appearance and bonus taste, I always like to dust mine with powdered sugar or serve topped with homemade whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and some strawberry sauce.
Frequently Asked Questions
Technically you can, and I have. However for best taste and lava flow I recommend using baking bars. Because of the additives in chocolate chips that help them keep their shape, the lava isn’t as rich and obvious when you use chips.
You can make the batter in advance and leave it in the refrigerator in an airtight container or pre-portioned in the ramekins (cover with plastic wrap). Bring to room temperature and then portion into ramekins and bake as instructed. The batter will keep up to 3 days in the fridge.
Once baked, lava cakes are best served still warm from the oven.
Yes! If you have a large 6-count jumbo muffin tin you can use that instead, see my notes in the recipe.
Baking in anything smaller is tricky as the lava can bake out in a hurry, so proceed with caution if you’re trying to use something smaller than a jumbo muffin tin.
This happens if the cakes are baked for too long. Could your oven be running a bit hot? Check the temperature or try taking the lava cakes out of the oven a few minutes sooner next time.
More Decadent Chocolate Recipes You May Like:
Let’s bake together! Make sure to check out the how-to VIDEO in the recipe card!
Chocolate Lava Cakes
- ½ cup unsalted butter cut into 8 pieces (113g)
- 6 oz premium semisweet or dark chocolate bar¹ coarsely chopped (I like to use Ghirardelli 60%) (170g)
- ½ teaspoon instant coffee optional²
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract optional
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks room temperature
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar firmly packed (66g)
- ¼ cup all purpose flour (32g)
- Preheat oven 450F (235C) and prepare four 3 ½" diameter ramekins (see note 3 if you don't have ramekins) by greasing the bottom and sides with baking spray or lightly grease and flour. Set on a baking sheet and set aside.
- Combine chopped chocolate and butter in a medium-sized microwave safe bowl. Heat in 20 second increments, stirring very well in between, until chocolate and butter are melted and mixture is smooth.
- Add instant coffee and vanilla if using and salt and stir well.
- In a separate bowl, combine eggs, egg yolks, and brown sugar. Use a whisk to beat vigorously for 15 seconds or until mixture is well combined and foamy on top.
- Add egg mixture to chocolate mixture and stir until well-combined.
- Sift flour over chocolate mixture and stir until combined.
- Evenly divide batter into prepared ramekins or muffin tin. Transfer to 450F (235C) oven and bake for 9-11 minutes if using ramekins and 6-7 minutes if using a jumbo muffin tin. Edges should be set and baked and look "cakey", centers should spring back to the touch but will be slightly jiggly and may appear under-baked.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the lava cake to loosen it from its container then carefully (the ramekin will be hot! use an oven mit!) invert onto a plate.
- Serve warm (be careful, the "lava" inside is HOT and may need another 5 minutes or longer to cool) topped with a dusting of powdered sugar or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
¹Substituting chocolate chips:I’ve tried this recipe with semisweet chocolate chips (1 cup) instead. The lava cakes will still turn out but I personally felt they were sub-par in comparison to the ones made with premium chocolate bars and the filling was not as molten.
²Coffee:This doesn’t make your lava cakes taste like coffee, it just accentuates the chocolate flavor. Highly recommend!
³Making without ramekins:If you don’t have ramekins, you can use a 6 count jumbo muffin tin instead (because of the smaller size of the muffin tin cavities, the recipe will then yield 6 cakes). They will need to bake for about 6-7 minutes this way.
Making in advance:The batter can be made up to 3 days in advance. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container then bring to room temperature and bake as indicated. While baked lava cakes technically could be stored up to two days or frozen for several months before enjoying, I feel that the quality degrades when not enjoyed warm from the oven.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
Recipe originally published 01/21/2019
Love the simplicity and so good! Plan to make for Christmas 🎄
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Thank you so much, Karen! They’ll make a wonderful Christmas dessert. Enjoy 😊
Hi! I was wondering if I could make this in one large pan? I don’t have ramekins and am not sure how it will turn out.
Honestly I am not sure how you would go about doing that. I’m not sure it will work. 🙁
I also really had my doubts as to how successful I would be with this recipe, but it really it’s totally yummy and non-disappointing! This is important when there are peeople at the table anticipating this great dessert.The video was helpful for getting a cake’s appearance should have when done baking. For me the baking was only 9 minutes. I really enjoyed the expresso coffee granules (instant) for that layer of complexity to the chocolate. My husband really loved it!
I am SO thrilled to hear this, Anne! Thank you so much for trusting my recipe and for letting me know how it turned out for you, I really appreciate it! 🙂
Can you halve this recipe to make 2 lava cakes?
Sure thing! 🙂
Can I use dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar? I can’t find light brown sugar at my local store or any market actually
Sugar Spun Run
Yes, that will be fine. 🙂
Made it and it was perfect. I would like to make the batter in advance and bake after dinner. Do you think it’s doable? How would you do it?
Thank you for sharing all these wonderful recipes !
It should be ok to make the batter in advance. I would cover it and place it in the refrigerator. It should be fine for a few hours. 🙂
Can glass ramekins be used in place of the porcelain?
As long as they are oven safe. 🙂
I made this last night for my boyfriend for our anniversary and I have to say this recipe was amazing. The cakes came out perfect. I also used your recipe for the homemade whipped cream which was to die for. Thank you for sharing!
That is so awesome! I am so glad everyone enjoyed it so much! 🙂
hello! just wanted to start off and say i love your recipes! i always know when i follow your recipe i’ll end up with something delicious.
my question is how many ounces are the ramekins that you used? and is there something that can be used if i don’t have the ramekins or a jumbo muffin tin?
Hi Ardena! I’m so glad you enjoy everything so much! My ramekins are about 4 inches in diameter. You can really use any type of dish similar that is close in size. 🙂
Hi Sam, I’m a such a big choco-lava cake fan and I always thought it must be so hard to make them. I was so wrong. They turned out fabulous. So easy to make. Perfect treat for those random chocolate cravings. You never fail to amaze!
Thank you so much, Priyanka! I am so glad you enjoyed it so much. 🙂
Hi Sam! Can I use cupcake tins? And if so, how much batter should I put in each one? And baking time is 6 minutes, right? Thanks for your reply.
Hi Angela! I would recommend a jumbo muffin tin. Make sure to check the notes section below the recipe for how to cook them. 🙂