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Treat Yourself to This Chocolate Lava Cake Recipe: It’s Gooey, Rich and Easy to Make in Under 30 Minutes

Discover the best type of chocolate to use for the perfect chocolatey taste.

When it comes to desserts, nothing tastes more decadent than chocolate cake. And our favorite variation holds a surprise that’s melt-in-your-mouth delicious: chocolate lava cake. We’re talking about a cake filled with chocolate — literally. With its warm, moist exterior and molten, rich center, this cake never disappoints on flavor and presentation. And it’s surprisingly easy to make at home in under 30 minutes with a simple recipe. Keep reading to learn some expert tips for achieving the perfect gooey center every time. Plus, we unpack which type of chocolate to use and delicious ways to serve your cake. Here’s what you need to know to make your own chocolate lava cake.

What is chocolate lava cake?

Also known as molten chocolate cake, lava cake doesn’t look like your average cake. This dessert stands out for its unique baking method, resulting in delightfully gooey, warm chocolate that oozes out when cut into. You might even say it looks like a volcano erupting. Unlike traditional cakes which fully bake through, lava cake finishes underbaked. This creates a contrast between its cake outer layer and liquid core.

The exact origins of chocolate lava cake remain a mystery, with more than one claiming to have invented the beloved dessert. However, the dessert we know today more closely resembles French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s 1987 creation after accidentally removing spongecakes from the oven too soon. Rather than scrapping them, Vongerichten decided to serve the cakes anyway at his restaurant in New York City. Since then, chocolate lava cake grew in popularity across the United States.

Chocolate lava cakes usually contains five ingredients: chocolate, butter, eggs, sugar and flour. Both whole eggs and egg yolks mix with the sugar to form a thick paste that helps make the cake dense. Some recipes call for coffee, vanilla extract or salt for extra flavor. Lava cakes bake in individual portions in ramekins; however, other variations use a coffee mug (like this ‘Lazy’ Pecan Pie Mug Cake Recipe).

The benefits of ramekins

Ramekins are used to prepare and serve individual portions of a variety of popular dishes, including creme brûlée, french onion soup and soufflés. The name derives from ramequin, a French dish baked in a small, circular mould. Traditionally made of glazed stoneware like ceramic, ramekins can resist high temperatures. They also help retain shape and and ensure even baking, making them the best vessel for chocolate lava cake. If you don’t have ramekins, muffin tins work well too, but the baking time may vary.

How to achieve the perfect molten center

chocolate lava cake with molten center

It can’t be a chocolate lava cake without the lava. Achieving a perfectly molten center requires careful attention to timing and temperature. But don’t worry, we spoke to some experts who help make this recipe a breeze. Here, Laili Shalom from The Gluten Free Travel Bliss shares her tips for perfect results.

1. Proper timing is key

“Bake the cake just until the edges are set but the center is still slightly jiggly,” says Shalom. This means only the exterior of the cake cooks, while the inside stays liquid. The cake shouldn’t be in the oven for long, usually less than 10 minutes. Every oven is different, so remember to stay in the kitchen.

2. Don’t over-mix

“Avoid over-mixing the batter, as this can lead to excessive air incorporation,” adds Shalom. She recommends mixing until the ingredients are just combined. Furthermore, Shalom says to make sure the ingredients, “especially eggs and butter, are at room temperature before mixing. This helps the batter achieve the right consistency and rise evenly during baking.”

3. Molding + un-molding

Properly greasing the ramekin with a little butter and flour prevents the cake from sticking, ensuring that it releases easily after baking. You should also allow the cake to rest for a few minutes after baking before un-molding them, as this will help them set and make it easier to remove without collapsing.

The best type of chocolate for chocolate lava cake

chocolate lava cake: bittersweet chocolate

Choosing the right chocolate might not seem important, but it can have a big impact on the flavor and texture of your lava cake. Opt for high-quality chocolate with a rich cocoa content, as this will give a deep, intense flavor. Bittersweet dark chocolate with a cocoa content around 70% has great richness to pair with the sweetness of the cake. But if you don’t want too much bitterness, you can also choose semisweet dark chocolate, around 60% cocoa. Avoid using chocolate chips or baking chocolate, as these may contain additives that can affect the texture and flavor. Instead, use premium chocolate bars from brands like Ghirardelli or Lindt for high-quality, truly decadent results.

Fast and easy chocolate lava cake recipe

If you never made chocolate lava cake before, trust us when we say you will fall in love (and make it again.) This easy recipe from Preppy Kitchen makes enough cakes so you can enjoy with others.

Chocolate Lava Cake

chocolate lava cake with whipped cream


  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour, lightly packed


  • Active Time: 13 minutes
  • Total Time: 22 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cakes
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Butter and lightly flour 6 (4-5 oz.) ramekins and place them on a baking sheet.
  2. Combine butter and chocolate in a double boiler and melt over low heat, stirring until smooth. Or, place in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high, stirring every 30-seconds until melted. Then whisk together until smooth.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, egg yolks, sugar and salt. Beat on medium speed until thick and pale yellow. Fold the chocolate mixture and flour into the egg mixture until well combined. Divide the batter among the prepared ramekins.
  4. Once oven is fully heated, bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the sides of the cakes are firm or set but the center is jiggly. Let the cakes cool in the ramekins for 1 minute.
  5. Place a small dessert plate over the top of each ramekin and carefully turn it over, inverting the cake onto the plate. Let stand for about 10 seconds, then remove the ramekin to un-mold the cakes. Add toppings and serve immediately.

Note: Keep a close eye on the lava cakes in the oven as you don’t want them to over bake.

Storing and reheating

You can wrap any leftover lava cakes tightly in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to three days. If you want to freeze them, make sure they completely cool before putting them in an airtight freezer-safe container. Lava cakes can last in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, microwave cakes from frozen until warmed.

What to serve with chocolate lava cake

Once your cakes come out of the oven, it’s time to serve them up and enjoy! Serve chocolate lava cakes immediately while still warm, so your guests can experience that molten center with their first bite. And while they can certainly hold their own, here are a few delicious serving ideas to elevate your chocolate lava cakes.

1. Powdered sugar

Classic chocolate lava cake always includes powdered sugar for the perfect finishing touch. Dust some on top for a hint of sweetness to each gooey bite.

2. Fresh fruit

Chocolate and fruit is one of our favorite pairings. Juicy strawberries or raspberries offer bright flavor against the rich chocolate.

3. Vanilla ice cream

A scoop of smooth vanilla ice cream (or any flavor you want) cools the palette instantly from the warm cake.

4. Whipped cream

Sometimes chocolate can feel a bit heavy. Adding a dollop of whipped cream helps freshen your tastebuds with its light, airy texture.

For more chocolatey desserts, check out these recipes:

This One-Bowl Chocolate Pound Cake Recipe Is a Dessert Lover’s Dream: So Rich + Easy

Move Over Fudge Sauce — Chocolate Gravy Offers a Taste of True Nostalgia and Comfort

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding Recipe Is a Must-Try Healthy and Indulgent Treat — Preps in 5 Minutes

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