Easy Chocolate Lava Cakes

Chocolate cake on the outside, decadent molten chocolate on the inside, these Easy Chocolate Lava Cakes are deceptively simple to make! Enjoy topped with vanilla ice cream for a no-fuss dessert that’s sure to impress.

Chocolate Lava Cake topped with vanilla ice cream and overflowing with molten chocolate

This recipe was made in partnership with my friends at Imperial Sugar. The full recipe can be found HERE.

Easy Chocolate Lava Cakes

Elegant, decadent, chocolatey… easy to make? If this sounds too good to be true, I have news for you! I love this super easy recipe for Chocolate Lava Cakes because it has everything I look for in a “wow” dessert: richness, just the right amount of sweet, plus a teensy bit of theater when you cut open the cake to have the decadent molten chocolate come oozing out. 

What makes this recipe even better is it is hands down the smallest amount of effort for such a great reward. It’s one of my family’s favorite recipes and I’m so excited to share it with you!

What is a Lava Cake?

First things first, a lava cake is all in the name: just as molten, just as oozy, just as much of an explosion of chocolate decadence as it seems! In short, it’s a single-serving dessert that’s chocolate cake on the outside, liquid molten chocolate on the inside… basically a crowd pleaser all around (for what I feel are obvious reasons).

My kids love molten chocolate cakes and it’s their first choice on a dessert menu. Now that we know how easy this recipe is to make from scratch, they’re definitely a first choice for dessert in our home, too!

By definition a molten lava cake falls somewhere between a cake and a soufflé. Like a soufflé, I make these Easy Chocolate Lava Cakes using 6 oz. ramekins. They’re really the perfect individual serving size and easiest to turn upside down for quick removal.

Decadent chocolate and softened butter

Recipe Ingredients

The real beauty of Chocolate Lava Cakes is in how simple, quick, and non-fussy they are to make. One bowl, a microwave, and some oven time. That’s it. There’s less than 10 ingredients involved, most of which I’ll bet are in your pantry already. For the full recipe CLICK HERE! Here’s what you’ll need for the perfect molten chocolate cakes:

  • Chopped Chocolate: For the purpose of this easy chocolate lava cake recipe, you can be as fancy or as basic as you want to be when it comes to the chocolate you use. Semisweet chocolate chips, or finer chopped chocolate will both work. The higher the quality though, the more “lava” you’ll get from your cakes!
  • Butter: Unsalted will do just fine.
  • Eggs: You’ll need both whole eggs as well as egg yolks.
  • Flour: I use regular all-purpose flour. A flour alternative (like almond flour) will also work as long as it’s finely ground.
  • Confectioner’s Sugar: Powdered sugar (not granular sugar) keeps the molten-like texture smooth and consistent.
  • Vanilla: For flavour.
  • Salt: To counteract the sugariness.

How to Make Chocolate Lava Cakes

Chocolate Lava Cakes are crazy easy to make. Like, 3 steps easy. They’re so simple, my kids have learned how to make them by themselves— I consider this a major parenting win. Follow these simple steps to chocolate lava cake heaven:

Prepare Your Ramekins: I like to prep 4 ramekins first by greasing them with non-stick spray. You can also add a light coating of cocoa powder if you have some available.

Melt the Chocolate and Butter: Combine the chocolate chunks and butter in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave about 1 minute or until everything is melted. I find it’s best to do this in bursts of 10-15 seconds at a time, to avoid overcooking. Be sure to give it a stir each time!

Add the Powdered Sugar: Next, add the powdered sugar to your melted chocolate mixture and continue to mix until smooth. This is when my kids always insist on licking the spoon! Can’t blame them for wanting to taste-test, I suppose.

Separate the Egg Yolks: In a separate bowl, separate 2 egg yolks from the whites and set the whites aside. If you struggle to separate egg yolks from the whites using the classic method that passes through the shell, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty! Crack the eggs into your hands over a bowl and let the whites drip until all that’s left is the yolk. Save your whites to use in a quick omelette later on.

Combine the Remaining Ingredients: Add the salt, vanilla, eggs, separated egg yolks, and flour to your chocolate mixture and stir until everything is thoroughly combined. Carefully divide the batter between your ramekins using a spoon or spatula.

Lava cake batter poured into ramekins waiting to be baked

Bake: Place your ramekins in the oven and bake until the edges are set, but the centers are still soft.

Remove from the Ramekins: Let the cakes cool for a few minutes before you invert them. It might also be helpful to run a knife carefully around the sides to loosen them for serving! To serve, place a plate face-down over one ramekin at a time. Press down and flip the Lava Cake onto the plate right-side-up before carefully removing the ramekin.

After all the Chocolate Lava Cakes are inverted onto individual plates, give them an extra dusting of powdered sugar for some pizzazz! I’d also highly recommend dressing them up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream… then, dig in!

Chocolate Lava Cake topped with vanilla ice cream

Tips for Success

Chocolate lava cakes are meant to be served warm. This is what gives them their deliciously molten chocolate texture! All this to say, don’t wait too long after baking or reheating (not that you’ll want to, anyway). While we’re at it, some additional tips for success are:

  • Quality is King: While I’ve found you can use regular ol’ chocolate chips in a pinch (I’m no chocolate snob!), for the very best, lava-like results it’s worthwhile to use a higher quality baking chocolate.
  • Do a temperature check: 12-14 minutes in the oven should be enough time for the eggs in a lava cake to reach the temperature considered safe to eat (160°F). If you’re concerned about your eggs being cooked enough, take the cake’s temperature to be sure!
  • Use the “Spoon & Sweep” method: Use a spoon to fill your measuring cup with flour instead of scooping directly into the bag. This way you won’t pack down the flour and use more than needed.

Serving Suggestions 

I could say that toppings are optional, but I’d be lying. Your favorite ice cream and chocolate sauce are a good place to start. That being said, there are so many options that pair great with lava cakes:

  • Whipped cream
  • Peanut butter
  • Chocolate ganache
  • Caramel sauce
  • Crushed pecans or hazelnuts
  • Sprinkles (kiddies’ choice)
  • Berry coulis
  • Chantilly cream

The list is endless! Have you had a lava cake that was garnished with something out-of-this-world? Leave a comment below!

Can I Reheat a Molten Lava Cake?

Leftover lava cakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. Just pop them in the microwave for about 20 seconds to reheat them before serving.

More Chocolate Desserts to Try

There’s just something so luxurious about chocolate desserts! If you’re like me and can’t get enough, here are more recipes to satisfy those chocolate cravings:

Now, what are you waiting for? Hop on over to my partners at Imperial Sugar for the FULL RECIPE for these Easy Chocolate Lava Cakes. Enjoy!

Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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Violet
May 18, 2020 8:28 pm

When I saw this dessert I said lava cake ooooo tell me more I can’t wait to try this

Amanda
November 18, 2018 4:10 pm

Could these be made in a cupcake pan instead of ramekins?

Barbara
February 26, 2018 3:29 pm

What size ramekins do you use? Thanks.

February 6, 2018 2:24 pm

I made these on Super Bowl Sunday and they are to DIE for!!!!!!!!!!!! I ate three of them when made! Added chopped walnuts since I’m such a nut person and love the additional texture to the creation. When served ice cream went with them which was even more heaven. These are a keeper for future reference my friend! Two thumbs up, A+, and the kudos could go on………… =) I am ALWAYS baking something so it doesn’t matter the time of year………bring the recipes on!!

Franziska
February 5, 2018 8:18 pm

Over baked, 🙁 but yeah those are fantastic.

Franziska
February 5, 2018 8:17 pm

Made these on Sunday for desert, and wow so easy and delicious.
I overvalued them some so next time I’ll take them out sooner.

Montmarayroyal
September 15, 2019 4:28 pm
Reply to  Shelly

Can i make them in advance and then just heat them up right before serving?

February 1, 2018 7:55 am

I have an obsession. It is called lava cakes.
Additional bonus – easy to make.

February 1, 2018 4:39 am

I’d have one of these for pudding every evening if it were up to me ? Delicious!

January 31, 2018 10:05 am

Wow girl, day-YUM! My dreams of all things chocolate have just come true!

Shelly Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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