The Best Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes — One bowl, no mixer, so easy! The warm, gooey, fudgy chocolate lava cake center is heavenly! Better than any restaurant versions! Best chocolate cake EVER!!
Molten Chocolate Lava Cake Recipe
This is some of the best chocolate cake of my life. It’s so rich, dense, and fudgy it reminds me of my favorite brownies. These chocolate lava cakes blow any restaurant molten chocolate lava cake I’ve tried out of the water.
Thankfully for my thighs this lava cake recipe only makes two cakes, but it’s easily doubled or triple depending on your needs. I’d like to say that I split one of these with my daughter but no. We both inhaled our own.
The molten chocolate lava cakes are rich, decadent, moist, robustly chocolaty, sweet enough but not too sweet. I used Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Bar and recommend using your favorite dark chocolate bar.
The molten, barely-set chocolate that oozes from the center is my idea of heaven.
Ice cream and 10-Minute Homemade Hot Fudge aren’t required but yes, they are. They’re the final icing on these perfect little cakes that remind me of something you’d get at a fancy restaurant. Actually, they’re better than the Ruth’s Chris chocolate lava cakes if you’ve ever tried those.
Ingredients in Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes
This is an incredibly easy lava cake recipe that calls for just 6 basic ingredients, plus the optional toppings. To make this recipe for molten chocolate cakes, you’ll need:
- Dark or bittersweet chocolate
- Unsalted butter
- Confectioners’ sugar
- All-purpose flour
- Instant espresso coffee granules
- Ice cream and hot fudge, for serving
How to Make Chocolate Lava Cakes
When you find out how fast and easy these chocolate molten cakes are to make, you’ll never settle for a restaurant version again! Here’s an overview of the baking process:
- Melt butter with chocolate in one bowl, no mixer is needed.
- Stir in sugar, eggs, instant espresso, and flour, then pour into ramekins and bake. You want to bake these chocolate molten lava cakes until the edges are set but the centers are still soft. Whatever you do, do NOT over bake the lava cakes, otherwise they won’t have gooey centers.
- Let the molten chocolate cakes for about 1 minute before running a knife gently around the edges and inverting onto a plate. Top with ice cream and dig in!
Does This Recipe Have to Be Made in Ramekins?
If you don’t have any ramekins, you could experiment with baking the chocolate lava cakes in a jumbo muffin tin or even a regular size muffin tin. It will be harder to invert the molten cakes onto plates, plus you’ll also need to adjust the bake time. (Use your best judgement!)
Or, make this slow cooker chocolate fudge cake to make essentially one giant lava cake!
Can I Prep Lava Cakes in Advance?
I’ll be honest, this is one of the very few desserts on my site that isn’t really suitable for making ahead.
You have to make the batter, then bake it, then eat it, all in short order – or the molten chocolate lava cakes won’t turn out, or won’t turn out well.
Can I Omit the Instant Espresso?
Yes, but note that the instant espresso doesn’t make the cakes taste like coffee. It just serves to enhance the chocolate flavor!
Tips for the Best Lava Cakes
Chocolate: I prefer using bars or baking chocolate rather than chocolate chips because I prefer the flavor, texture, and they melt more smoothly, which is important for a recipe like this.
Instant espresso: If including the instant espresso (which you definitely should!), be sure to purchase INSTANT espresso granules and not regular espresso or ground coffee.
Instant espresso granules completely dissolve when mixed into the cake batter, whereas regular ground coffee would make for gritty lava cakes.
Scaling the recipe up: As I mentioned above, you can easily double or triple this lava cake recipe to feed a crowd. But you’ll need to prep, bake, and enjoy the molten chocolate cakes immediately otherwise they’ll lose their gooeyness.
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- 2 ounces dark chocolate or bittersweet baking chocolate (I used Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Bar; I prefer bars or baking chocolate to chocolate chips)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 of 1 stick)
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk (discard white or save for another use)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso coffee granules, optional but recommended (doesn’t make cakes taste like coffee and serves to enhance the chocolate flavor)
- ice cream for serving, optional but recommended
- hot fudge for serving (homemade or storebought), optional but recommended
- Preheat oven to 425F and spray two ramekins (about 3-4 inches in diameter or about 4 ounces each) with cooking spray, place ramekins on a baking sheet; set aside.
- To a medium microwave-safe bowl, add the chocolate, butter, and heat on high power to melt, about 1 minute. Stop to whisk until smooth. If needed, return bowl to micro and heat in 15-second increments until chocolate can be whisked smooth.
- Add the sugar, egg, egg yolk, and whisk until smooth.
- Add the flour, optional espresso granules, and stir until just combined; don’t overmix.
- Pour batter into prepared ramekins, divided evenly.
- Bake for about 12 minutes, or until edges are set but center is still soft; don’t overbake. Baking times will vary based on oven, ramekins, and climate variances; bake until as done as desired.
- Allow cakes to cool in ramekins for about 1 minute, gently rim the edges of ramekins with a paring knife, and invert over serving dishes to dislodge cakes.
- Optionally top with ice cream, hot fudge, and serve immediately. Cakes are best warm and fresh.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 867Total Fat: 53gSaturated Fat: 31gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 278mgSodium: 173mgCarbohydrates: 86gFiber: 6gSugar: 61gProtein: 13g
More Easy Chocolate Cake Recipes:
Cabernet Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Ganache And Sea Salt – Now you don’t have to choose between dessert or wine since this is BOTH!! Rich chocolate cake spiked with Cabernet and topped with a silky ganache that also has Cabernet in it! Divine, amazing, MAKE THIS CAKE!!
Triple Chocolate Cherry Cake – An extremely moist, rich cake that’s so easy and studded with cherries! The frosting is silky smooth and a favorite chocolate frosting! A 10 out of 10 showstopper!
The Best Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache — The best chocolate cake I’ve ever had (until now) and the easiest to make! Nothing fussy or complicated & delivers amazing results every time!
Coca-Cola Cake – One cake of Coke in the cake and another can of Coke in the frosting! Easy no-mixer cake that’s supremely moist! Tastes like a Texas sheet cake spiked with Coke!
Slow Cooker Hot Fudge Chocolate Cake – Super soft, gooey, rich, and fudgy! The cake makes its own hot fudge sauce while cooking in the slow cooker! The easiest cake you’ll ever make and it tastes amazing!
Turtle Chocolate Poke Cake – The flavor of the famous candy in a decadent chocolate cake with tons of caramel and pecans! Easy, super soft and moist, and a crowd favorite!
Flourless Chocolate Cake – A classy, elegant cake that’s ultra rich, fudgy, and tastes better than what you’d get in a fancy restaurant and it’s so EASY!!
Originally published February 13, 2019 and republished September 22, 2022 with updated text.