Get ready to impress on special occasions (or anytime!) with this surprisingly simple chocolate lava cake recipe. Bursting with chocolate flavor and an irresistibly gooey center, this perfect recipe uses just 3 ingredients and makes only two to three cakes but can easily be scaled up.
I'm all about finding those recipes that seem like they should be reserved for a special meal (like creamy Swedish meatballs) but are actually super simple.
And flourless chocolate molten lava cakes are the epitome of that.
Serve them for Valentine's day or a dinner party and your guests will think you have put all of your effort into making them the best dessert.
But in reality, you spent about 10 minutes preparing them and it only took 3 ingredients.
So let's make some delicious chocolate lava cake!
- Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate- This is the main ingredient for this rich chocolate cake so it is important to use good quality chocolate (I like to use "Baker's"). Bittersweet or unsweetened baking chocolate can be used in place of semi sweet but you will need to add 1-2 tablespoon of powdered sugar (at the same time as you add the egg).
- Salted Butter- If using unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt.
- Eggs- You need 1 large egg PLUS an extra egg yolk. This is what gives the lava cake it's gooey chocolate centre.
1. Prep muffin pan. Butter the cups of three muffin tins or two 6-ounce ramekins placed on a baking sheet and dust with cocoa powder to make the molten chocolate cakes easy to release after baking.
2. Melt Chocolate. In a small microwave safe bowl, melt butter and chocolate in a microwave for 20 second intervals, stirring after each until melted. If you prefer, you could melt the chocolate mixture over a double boiler instead.
3. Add egg. Stir the whole egg and egg yolk into the small bowl with the melted chocolate and butter mixture until well combined.
4. Divide. Pour the simple batter evenly between the three prepared muffin tins (or two small 6 ounce ramekins).
5. Bake. Place in an oven preheated to 425 F for a bake time of 7-9 minutes (ramekins will take 11-13 minutes) until the edges are cooked and the molten center appears almost set.
6. Remove from the pan. Allow to cool for one minute and then slide a butter knife around the sides of the cakes for easy release.
Invert. Place a baking sheet flat over the top of the muffin tin. Using oven mitts, hold the two together, pick them up and flip them over. Then remove the muffin pan. The molten chocolate lava cakes will have released and be sitting on the sheet.
If using ramekins, you can turn them over individually onto a plate.
7. Serve! Use a spatula and carefully move the gooey chocolate cakes to serving plates.
Make Ahead, Leftovers and Storage
Make Ahead: This is a perfect dessert to prepare ahead! Prepare the lava cake batter and divide it into the muffin tin/ramekins. Then cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days until ready to bake. Or you can freeze the prepared tin for up to 3 months.
Thaw frozen unbaked lava cakes in the fridge overnight. You can bake the molten cakes directly from the fridge- add an extra minute of baking time. It is important that you divide the mixture into the prepared tin before refrigerating or freezing as it will harden as it sits.
To Store: If you have leftover easy chocolate lava cakes, cool to room temperature and then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
To Reheat: You can rewarm this decadent dessert in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. This method of reheating takes less time but the center of the cake will end up cooking through. For better results, you can rewarm in the oven at 400 F for a baking time of 4-6 minutes.
Make it Your Own
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes- Scoop 1 and ½ tablespoons of lava cake batter into a prepared muffin tin spot, top with ½ tablespoon peanut butter followed by about 1 and ½ more tablespoon of lava cake batter. Repeat with the remaining lava cakes and bake as directed.
- Multiply the Batch- While I love that this recipe makes just 2-3 lava cakes and is perfect for date night, you can totally increase the recipe (change the recipe card in increments of 2) in order to make enough for all of the chocolate lovers in your life.
I'm personally a huge fan of deep chocolate flavor, so I usually eat these all on their own. But they are also tasty with any of the following toppings!
- Vanilla Ice Cream
- Whipped Cream
- Salted Caramel
- Roasted and Chopped Nuts
- Fresh Fruit and Berries
- Chocolate Chips
Tips and Notes
- Make sure your oven is at the right temperature: The high baking temperature is key for the cakey outside and fudgy center. I recommend using an oven thermometer to make sure that your oven is actually at what you have it set to.
- Butter and coat the muffin tins: Make the cakes easy to release by buttering (or you can use a neutral cooking oil) and then coating with cocoa powder. There is nothing more disappointing than a lava cake that is stuck in the pan!
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And if you liked this...
...you might also like these other chocolate recipes!
- 3 oz Semi Sweet Baking Chocolate
- ¼ cup salted butter
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk
- cocoa powder and additional butter for coating tins
- Preheat the oven to 425 °F. To make removal of the cakes easy, grease 3 spots in a muffin tin (or 2 6-ounce ramekins) and sprinkle with cocoa powder.
- In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate and butter in 20 second increments, stirring un between each time until smooth.
- Allow the chocolate mixture to cool for a minute or two (so that it doesn't cook the egg), then whisk in the egg and egg yolk until smooth.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the 3 prepared spots in the muffin tin (or ramekins).
- Bake for 7-9 minutes until the sides appear set (11-13 minutes for ramekins). The center will still look soft.
- Let sit for one minute and then run a knife all the way around the edges of each lava cake to make them easy to release. Place a flat plate or cookie sheet upside down on top of the hot muffin tin, then use oven mitts and hold the two together and invert the muffin tin onto the plate. Remove the muffin tin and use a spatula to move the lava cakes to individual dishes.
- Serve immediately, topped with ice cream, salted caramel and more as desired.