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Molten Chocolate Cake Recipe

I’ve made this recipe for my favorite chocolate lava cake for years. How I never posted it, I don’t know.

Finally, you can enjoy it, too. Some links are affiliate links that earn me a commission if you purchase with them.

Bite of homemade chocolate lava cake recipe

How do you know you have a good dessert? You take it to a friend’s house, and the host immediately asks if anyone doesn’t want one because he wants all the molten chocolate cake for himself.

That really happened back when my husband and I were still dating.

We did a “guys cook” night where my husband and a friend made jambalaya for two other couples. I volunteered to make dessert, mostly because these are so quick to mix up and to bake.

They guys did well with dinner, but I won dessert.

And no, no one offered to give up a cake so Craig could have an extra one.

Chocolate lava cake used to be a staple on dessert menus, but I don’t see them often anymore. Of course, the exception is Carnival that has their molten chocolate cake on the dessert menu every night.

But shhhh I think mine tastes better than theirs. My husband does, too.

This recipe makes enough to feed eight people for dessert, but I sometimes put this batter into six large ramekins instead so we get more.

If you have a crowd, you can use ten small ramekins, but make sure you reduce the bake time by a minute. If you want to make this just for two, I have a two person lava cake recipe, too.

No matter what, serve these as soon as they come out of the oven. You want them ooey, gooey and warm.

Of course, when I make this cake for guests, I never tell them it’s a chocolate lava cake. I just tell them I made chocolate cake.

Molten chocolate lava cake fresh from the oven

Why? Welllllll if I overbake it, no one complains. If I do it right, the joy of seeing the chocolate gently spill from the chocolate lava cake? I told you. I won dessert that night.

Flowing chocolate lava cake recipe

What chocolate should I use?

This cakes tastes delicious with dark chocolate. You don’t want to use “regular” chocolate chips, so look for a quality dark chocolate bar you can chop yourself.

Alternatively, look for a quality chocolate callet, which is kind of like a chocolate chip but more of a disk. Standard chocolate chips have extra ingredients to help them keep their shape, and they don’t melt as well.

You can make this with semi-sweet chocolate, or even milk chocolate if you need to, but it may be too rich for your taste. This recipe is designed for dark chocolate.

Tips for melting your butter and chocolate

Butter melts at a lower temperature than chocolate, but not by much. However, chocolate burns and scorches much more easily than butter.

Always use low heat. The safest way to do this is in a double boiler, but I fully admit to being lazy and using a heavy pot and low heat instead.

Make sure you stir your butter and chocolate so nothing scorches, and be aware that the residual heat will finish melting your chocolate. Remove your pot from the heat when you still have some chocolate solids.

Keeping the heat low and letting residual heat melt your chocolate also helps to ensure that you don’t accidentally scramble your eggs when you add them.

How do you keep the eggs from scrambling?

If you add eggs to a liquid that’s too hot, they’ll start to scramble and leave nasty solids in whatever you’re making. While that’s the entire point of stracciatella, you don’t want it in your molten chocolate cakes.

There are a few keys to preventing this.

The first is to ensure you have your liquid at the right temperature. Make sure you melt your butter and chocolate over low heat, and let it sit a few minutes before you add the eggs.

Motion is also your friend. That means you want to whisk constantly as you add the eggs to your chocolate. 

They get incorporated to the whole faster, and they don’t have a chance to scramble. That also means you don’t want to dump all the eggs in at once, but instead pour them slowly while you whisk.

How to Make Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Melt the butter in a saucepan until just melted, not bubbling. While the butter in melting, chop your chocolate so that it will melt quickly.

Remove the butter from the heat, and add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted. Let the butter/chocolate mixture sit and cool for a bit while you work on the next part.

Butter the bottoms and sides of your ramekins really well. You don’t want anything sticking!

I leave the butter stick in its wrapper, just peeling back the side enough to expose one of the four sides of the stick. With a secure hold, I can quickly and easily butter everything perfectly – and you can, too!

Separate three eggs. Save the whites for later and add the yolks to a bowl.

Add three more whole eggs to the bowl, and whisk for a minute until lightened in color and a uniform consistency.

Add the powdered sugar and whisk again until well incorporated. Pour lightly cooled chocolate mixture into your bowl and mix well.

Add flour and stir just until incorporated, then pour into your buttered ramekins.

Bake in a 450 degree oven until sides are set and top just cracks.

Freshly baked lava cakes

For eight chocolate lava cakes, bake 9 minutes. For six, bake 11 minutes. If you make 10 small chocolate lava cakes, bake 7-8 minutes.

As soon as the cakes come out of the oven, run a small knife around the edge of the ramekins to loosen the chocolate lava cake. Turn out onto a plate and serve immediately. These are great with ice cream or just by themselves.

Have you ever made chocolate lava cake at home?

Molten Chocolate Cakes

These delicious chocolate lava cakes are decadent and fun. They always wow a crowd, but they're ready so quickly from start to finish. Enjoy them by themselves or serve with ice cream and fresh berries.
4.68 from 76 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 11 minutes
Total Time: 21 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 283kcal
Author: Michelle

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces dark chocolate
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Butter bottoms and sides of ramekins.
  • Over low heat, melt butter. Chop chocolate while butter melts. Once melted, add chocolate to butter and remove from heat. Stir until melted and incorporated.
    5 ounces dark chocolate, 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Separate 3 eggs. Add yolks to a bowl and save whites for another recipe. Add another 3 whole eggs. Whisk for a minute until lightened and fluffy. 
    3 egg yolks, 3 eggs
  • Add powdered sugar and whisk until combined. Pour chocolate into bowl and stir again until incorporated. Add flour and stir just until combined.
    1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 cup flour
  • Divide batter into ramekins. If making 8, bake at 450 degrees for 9 minutes. See modifications in notes for other quantities. Remove from oven once sides are set and top has just split.
  • Run a knife around the edge of the ramekin to loosen then turn upside down onto a plate. Serve immediately alone or with ice cream and fresh berries.

Video

Notes

  • This makes 8 servings generally. If you want to enjoy more cake, you can use larger ramekins and make 6 molten chocolate cakes. Increase the baking time to 10-11 minutes if you do so. Additionally, if you use smaller ramekins, this makes enough to serve 10. Reduce the baking time to 8 minutes if you use smaller ramekins.
  • For more tips and tricks, be sure to read the full article above.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 283kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 127mg | Sodium: 29mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 32g

This site uses an online source to provide nutrition estimates as a courtesy. If you need exact values, please calculate yourself.

Molten Chocolate Cake recipe. Whether you call it a chocolate lava cake or not, this dessert is ready quickly and always wows a crowd

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  1. This is such an amazing dessert! I love how you say 8 servings because my family would probably make it 4 servings haha! Ok, maybe 5 but they can eat a lot when it is that good 🙂

    • Michelle says:

      Welllll it’s 8 ramekins, so that’s 8 servings. If you choose to go with 2 servings a person… I can’t say I’ve never done that 😉 It’s one of my favorites. Enjoy it with your family!

  2. Marcia says:

    Do you think you could freeze the lava cakes?

    • Michelle says:

      I have never tried that – it’s a great question. I would think you could freeze the unbaked cakes (cover them so they don’t dry out on top) and then thaw them at least most of the way and bake them. If you froze the already baked cakes, that would probably work, but heating them is likely to cook them all the way through and give you a “regular” chocolate cake. It would definitely take some trial and error to get it to work out right!

  3. I love these, there is something so special about chocolate lava cake. I love serving them at dinner parties as they are always so popular.

  4. That cake wouldn’t last long at our house. I’ve never made a lava cake but just seeing the oozing chocolate coming out of it has my mouth watering. I really like making individual desserts for people — it’s nice that seeing a cute ramekin on a pretty plate. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

  5. Denise says:

    Oh this looks absolutely yummy! I am not a baker so I have never a real molten chocolate cake but I have eaten my share. Yours looks great and I love all your tips!

  6. Jolina says:

    I’ve only ever made lava cake once. Not sure why I didn’t do it again. Must change that! These look amazing. I’m the same way with my friends. If my cupcakes or cakes don’t turn out as well as I’d hoped, I just call it something else. It still tastes delicious. I just see it as managing expectations lol!!

  7. These warm, chocolate desserts are always so delicious. Nothing….just so darn good. That runny centre is to die for….and I know hubby would love this. He is a chocoholic!!

  8. I love molten chocolate cakes. My favorite part is the soft center that just melts in the mouth. We usually love to have them warm and topped with ice cream and nuts.. Gotta save this recipe for later.

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