Chocolate Lava Cake

by Jillian
Rich and irresistibly decadent, these Chocolate Lava Cakes are known for their iconic molten chocolate centers!

Rich and irresistibly decadent, these Chocolate Lava Cakes are known for their iconic molten chocolate centers!

Chocolate Lava Cakes have definitely become a dessert staple in most restaurants. I remember the first time I ordered one and how completely entranced I was by their warm molten center. As someone who will never outgrow licking the leftover batter out of a bowl or off of a spoon, Chocolate Lava Cakes are definitely a favorite of mine.

Chocolate Lava Cakes are also one of those showstopper desserts that people just can’t get enough of. And with Valentine’s Day on the horizon, what better way to impress your sweetie than with this handsome little devil?

Honestly, you can’t go wrong with a good Chocolate Lava Cake. With its deep dark chocolatey richness and silky smooth center, this dessert classic has comfort food written ALL over it. Also, what’s NOT to love about having your own individual chocolate cake? I know I feel extra fancy whenever I’m eating this dessert!

What’s great about making Chocolate Lava Cakes is that the ingredient list includes pretty basic ingredients that you already have in your pantry. First you melt some butter with some semi-sweet chocolate. Depending on how fancy you want to get, you can either use simple chocolate chips, or chop up some good-quality chocolate bars. I just used chocolate chips because it’s all I had. (Honestly, I don’t think you’ll taste THAT much of a difference.)

Once the butter and chocolate are completely melted and combined, you’ll add a little vanilla, salt, and instant espresso powder. Espresso powder is one of my favorite pantry staples for the sole purpose of enhancing the chocolate flavor in cakes. It works like a charm, and non-coffee drinkers will NEVER know that it’s in the cake. 

In another bowl, you’ll whisk the eggs, egg yolk, and sugars (granulated and powdered) together until the mixture is pale and foamy. Then you’ll add the melted chocolate and a little flour, stirring until just combined. Be careful not to overmix, or else the cake won’t rise properly.

A critical step BEFORE you pour the batter into the ramekins is to generously grease them with butter or cooking spray, and dust them with either cocoa powder or flour. This will ensure that the cakes pop right out of the ramekins when you invert them onto a plate. Because there’s nothing worse than turning your precious cake out onto a plate, only to find that it’s stuck to the bottom!

Now when it comes to baking Chocolate Lava Cakes, it’s a lot like the fairytale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I say this because it’s all about removing the cakes from the oven at JUST the right time. The first time I made these, I ended up under-baking them. When I attempted to invert them onto a plate, the outer walls of the cake weren’t baked enough, causing them to collapse and batter to spill everywhere. To prevent the other cakes from doing the same, I returned them to the oven for a few more minutes. Unfortunately, that was way too much time, and the centers weren’t molten at all. They were just plain chocolate cakes. They still tasted delicious, but I couldn’t exactly call them Chocolate Lava Cakes.

That being said, I would HIGHLY recommend that you do a test bake with just one of your lava cakes before baking all of them in the oven. This will save you from the disappointment of under-baking or over-baking all of your cakes. I ended up using five 4-ounce ramekins and baking them for exactly 12 minutes. 

Unlike most cake recipes which require you to wait at least 10 minutes before removing them from the pan, you’ll only wait 1 minute before inverting these cakes onto a plate. Before inverting them, make sure to run a knife along the edges to loosen the cake from the ramekin. The ramekin will most likely be hot, so I’d recommend holding them with an oven mitt or a towel while placing the plate on top and flipping the cakes upside-down. You might have to give the ramekin a few gentle taps on the bottom, if it doesn’t immediately fall onto the plate.

As with all warm desserts, I like to serve my Chocolate Lava Cakes with a cool scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. It simply isn’t complete without it!

Rich and irresistibly decadent, these Chocolate Lava Cakes are known for their iconic molten chocolate centers!

Chocolate Lava Cake

Rich and irresistibly decadent, these Chocolate Lava Cakes are known for their iconic molten chocolate centers!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Total Time 43 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 5 Cakes


  • Cocoa Powder or All-Purpose Flour for coating ramekins
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 7 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons all-purpose flour sifted
  • Powdered sugar for dusting


  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Generously butter five (4 oz) ramekins, and dust with cocoa powder or all-purpose flour. Place ramekins onto a baking sheet.
  • Place the butter and chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat in the microwave for 45 seconds, remove, and stir. Return to the microwave for 15-20 more seconds, remove, and stir until smooth. If you still see lumps of unmelted chocolate, return to the microwave at 10-second increments until mixture is completely smooth.
  • Stir the espresso powder, salt, and vanilla into the melted chocolate; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolk, and both sugars together until the mixture is pale and foamy, about 3 minutes.
  • Pour the melted chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, followed by the flour. Using a rubber spatular, gently fold everything together until combined; try not to over-mix.
  • Evenly divide the batter among the prepared ramekins.* Bake for 12-13 minutes, or until the edges begin to pull away from the ramekins but the center is still jiggly.
  • Allow to cool for 1 minute, then run a knife along the edges of the ramekins to loosen cakes. Cover ramekins with an inverted plate and turn over. Use an oven mitt or towel since the ramekins are still hot. The cakes should release easily from the ramekin. If not, you might have to tap the bottom of the ramekin a few times.
  • To serve, dust each cake with powdered sugar and top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!


*At this point, the ramekins can be wrapped with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Before baking, allow ramekins to warm to room temperature for about 30 minutes.
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