Make your favorite restaurant dessert at home with this Easy Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes recipe. You only need 6 ingredients and 30 minutes to make these decadent cakes with warm, oozing chocolate centers. Fancy enough for special occasions but quick and easy enough for a weeknight treat!
Looking to spoil someone special? Make these Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes! Surprisingly quick and easy, these rich, individual cakes are served warm from the oven with a gooey chocolate middle that oozes out when you dig into it. They are the ultimate decadent chocolate dessert!
Why you'll love this recipe
✔︎ These cakes are a chocolate lover's dream with rich and tender chocolate cake baked around a fudgy, molten chocolate center.
✔︎ You can make these restaurant-quality desserts in less than 30 minutes with only 6 ingredients.
✔︎ Make the batter up to two days ahead of time. Then just pop the filled ramekins in the oven to bake and serve.
You probably have everything you need to make this show stopping dessert in your kitchen right now.
A few ingredient notes:
Chocolate: This is the main flavor, so be sure to use a high quality chocolate. I like Ghirardelli. It has great flavor at a reasonable price.
Butter: I usually use unsalted butter in my baked goods, but you can use either salted or unsalted in this recipe.
Cocoa Powder: Dutch process or natural cocoa both work. You only use a small amount (mixed with flour) to help keep the cakes from sticking to the ramekins when you invert them.
These fancy looking cakes are much easier to make than you think!
Preheat oven to 450°F. Grease 4 ramekins with 1 tablespoon of butter. Combine 1 tablespoon of flour with the cocoa powder. Dust insides of greased ramekins with flour mixture making sure entire interior is covered. Tap out excess.
Add the rest of the butter and the chocolate to a glass bowl. Microwave at 50% power for 1 minute. Stir and continue to microwave at 50% power in 30 second intervals until chocolate is completely melted. Set aside to cool. (You can also do this step on the stovetop over medium low heat.)
Add eggs, egg yolks and sugar to a glass bowl. Beat on medium high speed until mixture has more than doubled and is a pale yellow color (about 3 minutes).
Stir cooled chocolate into cake batter. Fold in flour until just combined.
Evenly divide cake batter between prepared ramekins. Bake for 10 minutes, checking for doneness after 9 minutes. Cool on pan for 1 minute before inverting onto plates. Serve immediately.
You can make the batter up to two days ahead of time. Store covered in the refrigerator until you're ready to bake the cakes. The batter will be thick like fudge from being refrigerated so plan to add 2-3 extra minutes to the baking time if baking directly from refrigerated batter.
The edges will be cooked all around and the center will have risen and should have a (barely) matte finish but is still slightly soft and jiggly.
Yes! The gooey chocolate center of a molten cake is not raw batter. Rather it's a delicious mashup of a regular chocolate cake and a chocolate soufflé. The internal temperature of the molten center should reach about 160°F during baking.
Keep it easy and simply dust the cake with powdered sugar. You can also top it with whipped cream and all types of berries. Or take it next level with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
I don't recommend it. These cakes are best enjoyed straight from the oven. In a pinch, you can try to reheat leftovers in the microwave. Cover with a damp paper towel and heat at 30 second intervals. Be careful not to overcook as the centers will no longer be soft.
Expert Tips for making Molten Chocolate Cakes
✘ Use ramekins that hold at least 6 ounces, preferably 8 ounces, to prevent your cakes from overflowing when they bake.
✘ Room temperature eggs to reduce any chance of eggs curdling when mixed with warm chocolate. I usually pop mine in a bowl of warm water for 5-10 minutes while I prep everything else.
✘ Thoroughly grease and flour the ramekins to be make sure the cakes slide out easily when unmolded. I also like to run a thin, sharp knife around the edges of the ramekins before I invert them.
✘ Make sure the oven is up to temperature before adding ramekins to oven to bake. You want the high heat to bake the outside of the cakes faster than the insides. If your oven temperature isn't hot enough, you won't get that perfectly cooked exterior and gooey molten chocolate filling. I keep an expensive oven thermometer in my oven at all times.
✘ Allow cakes to cool for a few minutes before serving, but don't let them sit too long or the centers will cook through from the residual heat in the cakes.
✘ You can serve the cakes IN the ramekins, if you prefer. Just be sure to warn guests that they will be very hot to the touch.
✘ Are you a serious chocoholic? Add a teaspoon of espresso powder to the batter. It deepens the chocolate flavor without giving it a coffee taste. You can use it in almost any chocolate dessert!
Substitutions and Shortcuts
➤ If you don't have ramkeins, you can use a muffin pan instead. Grease and flour as directed. Since muffin tin wells are smaller than ramekins, this recipe will make six molten chocolate cakes instead of four. Check them for doneness after 8 minutes of baking.
➤ Gluten free flour can be used in place of all-purpose flour making this an easy gluten-free dessert option. There is no difference in flavor, either. I suggest using a gluten-free flour that is a one-to-one swap for regular flour, such as King Arthur's Measure for Measure or Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour.
➤ You can also chocolate chips instead of chopped chocolate bars. Make sure you heat them long enough for the chips to completely melt.
➤ These cakes are not super sweet thanks to the bittersweet dark chocolate. Want a sweeter lava cake? Use semi-sweet chocolate instead.
➤ Only want two cakes? Halve the recipe!
More easy desserts
We don't do putzy desserts at GWL. Check out more of our most popular, easy dessert recipes:
You can always find all of our dessert recipes in our archives.
Did you make this recipe? We'd love to hear your thoughts! Please rate the recipe and leave a comment below. Your feedback helps us and your fellow readers!
Easy Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes
- 9 tablespoons softened unsalted butter, divided
- ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 2 egg yolks, room temperature
- pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 450°F degrees. Use 1 tablespoon butter to grease four ramekins. Stir together 1 tablespoon flour and cocoa powder. Dust insides of greased ramekins with flour mixture until interior surfaces are covered. Tap out excess. Place prepared ramekins on a sheet pan.9 tablespoons softened unsalted butter,, ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour,, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- Add chocolate and remaining 8 tablespoons of butter to a microwavable bowl. Microwave at 50% power for 1 minute. Stir and return to microwave at 50% power for another 30 seconds. Repeat until chocolate is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.6 ounces bittersweet chocolate,, 9 tablespoons softened unsalted butter,
- Place sugar, eggs and egg yolks in a medium bowl. Start beating slowly and increase speed to medium high. Beat for about 3 minutes or until mixture has more than doubled and is a pale yellow color.6 tablespoons granulated sugar, 2 eggs,, 2 egg yolks,
- Fold chocolate into egg mixture until combined. Add remaining ¼ cup flour and pinch of salt. Stir until just combined.pinch of salt
- Divide batter evenly among greased ramekins. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 9-10 minutes. Start checking the cakes at 9 minutes. The edges will be set and the center will have a barely matte finish but still be soft and wiggly.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for one minute. Carefully run a thin, sharp knife around the edges of the ramekins. Place a small plate over the top of each ramekin, flip the plate over and invert ramekin onto plate. Carefully pull the ramekin off.
- Dust cakes with powdered sugar and top with fresh fruit (or however you prefer to garnish these cakes).
- Use a quality bittersweet chocolate for not-too-sweet desserts. Want a sweeter cake? Use semi-sweet chocolate instead.
- Chocolate chips can be used in place of the chopped chocolate bars. Stir well when you heat them with the butter to make sure they melt completely.
- Want next level molten cakes? Stir a teaspoon of espresso powder into the batter before baking. This easy addition doubles down on the chocolate flavor for even more decadence (but the small amount leaves no coffee flavor).
Tips for success:
- Use ramekins that are at least 6 ounces in size (mine are 8 ounces). The size of the ramekins is important because it affects baking time.
Thoroughly grease and flour the ramekins to be make sure the cakes slide out easily when unmolded.
- Make sure your oven is preheated to 450°F. An inexpensive oven thermometer can make the difference between over and undercooked cakes.
- The cakes will be done when the edges are set and the center is soft, jiggly and have a barely matte finish.
- Run a thin, sharp knife around the insides of the ramekins before inverting onto platees to ensure there are no stuck edges.
- Dust with powdered sugar and berries or top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (my favorite).
- These are best enjoyed straight from the oven. In a pinch, you can try to reheat leftovers in the microwave. Cover with a damp paper towel and heat at 30 second intervals. Be careful not to overcook as the centers will no longer be soft.
Nutrition info not guaranteed to be accurate.