Make restaurant-quality chocolate molten lava cakes at home in under 30 minutes with this easy, 9-ingredient recipe. It’s the ideal individual-serving dessert!

This post contains affiliate links. Read the disclosure policy.

Close up side view of a chocolate lava cake served with berries, with the chocolate filling spilling out onto the plate.

About Chocolate Lava Cakes

Molten lava cakes are one of the most picturesque desserts for date nights and special occasions, and this simple recipe makes it easy to make this restaurant favorite at home.

What tools do you need to make molten lava cakes?

What’s in molten lava cakes?

To make the cakes, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Bittersweet chocolate chips – For that delicious chocolate flavor. You can use bittersweet chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, or a combination of both.
  • Unsalted butter, eggs, flour, and vanilla – Classic baking ingredients.
  • Powdered sugar – Every baked good needs some sweetness, and the powdered sugar ensures these cakes have a smooth consistency.
  • Espresso powder – This helps enhance and deepen the flavor of the chocolate (similar in taste to dark chocolate) but it’s also optional. Skip the espresso powder if you would prefer the cakes have a classic chocolate taste.
Far back side view of multiple chocolate lava cakes served on plates with fruit and mint leaves, surrounded by chocolate and bowls of fruit.

What type of chocolate should you use?

“Cooking chocolate” is a staple in baking – you can find it in the baking supply area, and it typically looks like a large candy bar – and while there are multiple brands to choose from, I do think there are significant differences in the quality of the chocolate for each brand.

Baker’s is by far the most common brand, but I’ve found their chocolate to have a dry texture and the flavor to be a little “off.” It’s not a bad choice by any means, especially if Baker’s is all you can find, but I’ve been happier with my baked goods and candy if I can get my hands on another brand.

And because of this, I highly recommend using Ghirardelli chocolate bars or chips (and for this recipe, their bittersweet chocolate chips.) Ghirardelli is a little more expensive, but trust me, you’ll appreciate the flavor and consistency you’ll get from the premium quality.

What toppings can you add?

Molten lava cakes are delicious on their own, but they’re also amazing with a few garnishes. You could try:

  • Assorted berries, such as sliced strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries.
  • Mint leaves, either full (for looks) or chopped and sprinkled.
  • Chocolate shavings or crumbled candy.
  • A dusting of powdered sugar (as pictured).
  • Ice cream.
  • Whipped cream.
Close up side view of an unbroken chocolate lava cake sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with berries.

Can you make lava cakes in advance?

Yes, you can – but only up to mixing the batter. Save baking the cakes for the day you plan to serve them.

The cake batter can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator or up to 24 hours before baking. NOTE: it’s best to store the batter in a single large bowl as opposed to storing it in the individual ramekins.

When ready to bake, pour the batter into ramekins sprayed with baking spray as directed in the recipe. If using the batter directly from the refrigerator, baking time may need to be increased slightly to account for the chilled batter.

How long are lava cakes good for?

For best results, lava cakes are best enjoyed the day they’re baked. The longer the cakes sit the less “molten” the centers will be, as the cakes will firm up as they cool.

However, if you’d still like to save the cakes, they can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Notes & tips for chocolate lava cakes

  • If you’re having a hard time finding espresso powder, you can also use instant espresso. Instant coffee is not recommended, though.
  • You can use an equal amount of chopped chocolate (from a baking bar) in place of the chocolate chips.
  • Instead of using ramekins, you can also bake these cakes in a 6-cavity muffin tin.
Top down view of a plated chocolate molten lava cake served with berries, with a fork broken into the center, showing off the filling.

More delicious chocolate recipes

How to make chocolate lava cakes

This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.

Step 1 – In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the bittersweet chocolate and butter together until smooth, then set it aside to cool slightly.

Step 2 – Mix together the eggs, egg yolks, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth.

Step 3 – Slowly mix in the cooled chocolate, flour, espresso powder (if using), and salt.

Step 4 – Spray six ramekins (six ounces in size) with baking spray, then divide the cake batter evenly between each one, about a half cup each.

Step 5 – Bake!

Step 6 – Allow the cakes to cool for a few minutes, then place an inverted plate over the ramekins and carefully turn them over.

Step 7 – Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Details

Close up side view of a chocolate lava cake served with berries, with the chocolate filling spilling out onto the plate.
5 from 1 vote

Chocolate Lava Cakes

15 mins prep + 12 mins cook
373 kcal
Yields: 6 cakes
Make restaurant-quality chocolate molten lava cakes at home in under 30 minutes with this easy, 9-ingredient recipe. It's the ideal individual-serving dessert!

Ingredients 

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray 6 ramekins (6 ounces in size) with baking spray, then set aside.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, add chocolate chips and butter. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute, then stir. Continue to heat for 15-second intervals, mixing in between, until all chocolate has completely melted. Set chocolate aside to cool slightly.
    1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), whisk eggs and egg yolks on medium speed until combined, about 2-3 minutes.
    2 large eggs, 3 large egg yolks
  • Drop mixer speed to low and slowly blend in powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
    1 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Keeping speed on low, pour in melted chocolate and mix until incorporated, about 2-3 minutes.
  • With mixer still on low, blend in the flour, espresso powder, and salt until smooth, about another 2-3 minutes.
    1/3 cup all-purpose flour, 1 pinch salt, 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
  • Divide batter equally between the prepared ramekins (about 1/2 cup per) and place the ramekins on a baking sheet, spaced evenly apart.
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the edges are firm but center of cakes are soft and not quite set.
  • Let cakes rest for a few minutes, then cover each ramekin with an inverted plate and carefully turn over.
  • Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cake | Calories: 373kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 195mg | Sodium: 53mg | Potassium: 144mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 687IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 1mg

I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.

Author: Chrisy