The Best and The Easiest Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes

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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!!

The Best and The Easiest Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes - One bowl, no mixer, so easy! The warm, gooey, fudgy chocolate 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. 

The Best and The Easiest Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes - One bowl, no mixer, so easy! The warm, gooey, fudgy chocolate center is heavenly! Better than any restaurant versions! Best chocolate cake EVER!!

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:

The Best and The Easiest Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes - One bowl, no mixer, so easy! The warm, gooey, fudgy chocolate center is heavenly! Better than any restaurant versions! Best chocolate cake EVER!!

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: 

  1. Melt butter with chocolate in one bowl, no mixer is needed.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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! 

The Best and The Easiest Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes - One bowl, no mixer, so easy! The warm, gooey, fudgy chocolate center is heavenly! Better than any restaurant versions! Best chocolate cake EVER!!

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! 

My favorite brand is this Medaglia D’Oro which is available in well-stocked supermarkets in the coffee aisle or on Amazon.

The Best and The Easiest 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!!

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. 

Pin This Recipe

Yield: 2

The Best and The Easiest Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes

The Best and The Easiest 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!!

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!!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Add the sugar, egg, egg yolk, and whisk until smooth.
    4. Add the flour, optional espresso granules, and stir until just combined; don’t overmix.
    5. Pour batter into prepared ramekins, divided evenly.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Optionally top with ice cream, hot fudge, and serve immediately. Cakes are best warm and fresh.

Notes

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 867Total Fat: 53gSaturated Fat: 31gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 278mgSodium: 173mgCarbohydrates: 86gFiber: 6gSugar: 61gProtein: 13g

More Easy Chocolate Cake Recipes:

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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!

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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!

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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!

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!

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!

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Originally published February 13, 2019 and republished September 22, 2022 with updated text.

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Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

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Comments

  1. When clicking on the stars to read reviews, all I get is the form to write a review. Help! and Thanks!

    1. The reviews are the comments. There is nothing more by clicking on a star other than that adds a star-rating to your personal comment.

  2. Hi Averie, I tried this recipe and it came out fantastically delicious .My family loved it. I have a question, is there any way where I can substitute eggs?

    1. I have only made it with eggs so not sure how it will go without them or by using an egg replacer.

  3. This really is easy and the best tasting results! I added a splash of vanilla and a small pinch of salt to ramp up the flavor that much more.

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the five star review and glad you get great results! I love a pinch of sea salt too with chocolate!

  4. I made these lava cakes last weekend for Valentine’s Day and LOVED them! However, the friend I was baking with didn’t have her glasses on and (lol) made a few measurement mistakes. Namely, she used granulated sugar instead of powdered and 1 tablespoon espresso granules instead of 1 teaspoon. BUT the lava cakes still turned out delicious. We’ll be making them again soon with the correct ingredients since the improper measuring did affect the texture of the cakes somewhat. Oops!

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the 5 star review Claire! And for the laughs :) This is what I always say about my recipes, even the baking ones, they are flexible enough to account for LARGE error margins.

      I am sure the sugar change did effect the texture but sounds like overall, totally edible and fine for Valentine’s Day lol. If there was any wine involved, I’m sure these were in fact, totally fine. Thank you for brightening my morning!

    1. I would suggest either just ‘dark chocolate’ in a brown/tan wrapper or the 72% in a red wrapper, or a mixture of the two.

  5. Hi Averie! If i were to make them beforehand, would it still work it i pop them into the microwave and still have the molten middle remain? :)

    1. Yes and no…the microwave will continue to cook the cake as well as softening it. So it may be somewhat molten in the middle but drier everywhere else.

  6. HI! I wanted to try this recipe and wanted to make 4 instead of 2, so would I just double the ingredients? Also, are the center of the cakes “lava-y”, just wondering bc in the video they dont appear oozing with chocolate. Thank you!!

    1. Yes you would double everything. And to make the centers more lava-ey, you’d just have to play around with the baking time in your oven and with your ramekins since even a minute or two can effect things.

  7. I followed the recipe exactly, other than I used semisweet chips, and just chopped them so theelted properly. Amazing, the cakes were a huge hit and I will most certainly make them again!!!

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad these were a huge hit and that you’ll make them again!

  8. The title of the recipe says it all. It’s not easy eating just one cake, they are that good. Mouth watering waiting for it to come out of oven and it does not disappoint!!

    Rating: 5
  9. HI

    Can I make the batter head of time and then pour and bake several hours later? I am tryingto make 30 of these for a 60th b-day party. I am a fool.

    1. I have only made the recipe as written and really can’t give advice if you deviate. Good luck!

      But my gut tells me no, this is not a recipe that you can create en-masse in advance; I may be wrong though.

  10. Made this last night and it was DELICIOUS! so easy too! your title is perfect for it :) i can’t wait to make this again. i’ve probably made like 15 of your recipes now and they’re all so amazing. thanks for sharing!

  11. I tried the Molten choco lava cake for tea yesterday and my kids enjoyed them. Needless to say they were completely wiped out. Thanks a ton for the recipe.

  12. I tried this recipe this afternoon and it was easy and delicious.I used milk chocolate chips, and served it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.I am really impressed at how good and easy this is.This recipe is a keeper.

  13. Made these for Valentine’s day.  I used to make a different recipe that made 6 of them, and we really only need 2- so this recipe is perfect!  They were SO easy, SO delicious, and I will definitely make them again!  I added a dash of vanilla and salt to the recipe, but otherwise followed it exactly.  I’m hesitant with coffee- but you are right, I didn’t taste it!  :) Thanks for the recipe.  

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! And yes to only needing two of these :)

  14. I made this for my Valentines and we loved it. I switched the light corn syrup to organic agave. It is so decadent; a good thing this recipe only makes 2 small cakes for our own good. Wonderful recipe, extremely easy and quick. Thank you

  15. Hello, This is so delicious and so yummy.thanks for sharing your recipe. i have a question can i do this cake in 9 inch round cake pan?Thanks!

    1. I haven’t tried so can’t say for sure. Something about the larger surface area makes me wonder if the texture will come out the same or not.

  16. This is so delicious and easy  My family loves them!  I also add some cocoa in addition to the chocolate!  Awesome!

  17. This was amazing. Came out perfectly and looked as good as the photos. To make it a bit less sweet, can I cut down or eliminate the sugar without affecting the consistency? 

    1. I would probably use a darker percentage chocolate, i.e. less sweet chocolate to begin with, rather than tweaking the sugar ratios. That way you know the texture will still turn out the same. Glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  18. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!! I tried it out the other day and it was AMAZING – even more so because of how easy it was. I couldn’t help myself and had to add some toasted marshmallows for a s’mores variation :)  If you’re interested, here are some pictures! Thanks again.

    http://www.doughing-it-right.com 

    1. No because it’s too shallow and it won’t work. You can find ramekins at anywhere from Target for about 2.99 to online searches or fancier cooking stores like Williams-Sonoma, etc.

  19. I was thinking of these for dessert on NYE.. We are going to a friends house for dinner, and I am bringing dessert.  Would it make sense to make the batter at home, fill the custard dishes, keep refrigerated and bake there?  I don’t want to invade her kitchen, and know they should be served from the oven.   Any thoughts would be appreciated.. Thanks!

    1. I’ll be honest, this is one of the very few desserts on my site that isn’t really suitable towards making ahead. You have to make the batter, then bake it, then eat it, all in short order – or they won’t turn out, or won’t turn out well.

      If you’re looking for something that’s NYE worthy and chocolaty, this cake is great https://www.averiecooks.com/2012/08/chocolate-cake-with-chocolate-ganache.html as are these brownies https://www.averiecooks.com/2014/07/the-best-turtle-brownies.html They’re both easily made in advance and very transportable. And look through the related recipes on each; as well as search by my tabs by dessert categories if you want something other than chocolate. LMK what you end up doing!

  20. Came out wonderful!!! It was so quick and delish! (we used sugar free chocolate because we didn’t have anything else in the house…. and it was amazing!) 

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! And glad sugar free chocolate worked, too!

  21. I need to make enough for six people, is it a straight double of the recipe? Sometimes I prefer to do two separate batches as doubling is not always successful:( I use TJ dark chocolate all the time, quality and price can’t be beat!!

    1. I have never doubled this recipe and I know what you mean about sometimes just making two batches of something is safer. I think with this recipe you’d be fine to triple the recipe for a total of 6 cakes, but like I said, I haven’t done that personally. LMK how it goes!

      1. Perfection! Used my food scale, tripled the recipe and it was Devine! I might have been able to leave in oven one extra minute but no matter, it was gooey and delicious!
        I highly recommend using the espresso powder and if you don’t have or don’t want to spend the money I buy instant espresso put in plastic bag and roll with rolling pin to a powder consistency, works like a charm!

        Thanks for the great foolproof  recipe!

      2. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! Glad it worked tripling it!

  22. Made these for dessert tonight….omg….they were amazing! I had the TJ dark chocolate bar on hand, and had purchased some espresso powder from Sur La Table that I was dying to use, so this was the perfect recipe. I doubled it thinking my husband and I would each eat two but one was so sinful that I really shouldn’t have eaten the second (but of course I did) :-) Can’t wait to make these again!!!

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! And yes, I love realllllly rich desserts that are over-the-top decadent and definitely 1 per person on this one. Unless you accidentally make 2 for each person. Then it’s 2 per person :)

      Your espresso powder from Sur la Table sounds great and can’t go wrong with TJ’s chocolate. Glad it was a hit!

      1. Just a note….4 years later, I still make these all the time. One of the best Chocolate Lava Cake recipes out there!

      2. I am glad you make these all the time! I figured 4 years later this post needed to be reposted since readers and times change, but glad you are a fan of these for years now!

  23. Hi there! I would like to try this recipe for 10 people… but I don’t have ramekins :/ … could I add the same mixture to an oven dish instead? Thanks! 

    1. Hmmm, not sure a big oven dish will bake properly due to surface area.

      I’d probably go to Target or TJ Maxx and pick up 10 ramekins, they’re $1-2 each and you’ll have them forever and be good to go and guaranteed that the recipe will work out!

  24. Love the recipe! Chocolate lava cakes are my favorite. Is there a concern at all with the middle not technically being baked through and raw egg? I want to make this for my friend, but she is pregnant so I want to make sure this would be unconditionally safe! Thanks!

    1. Yes I think the egg is cooked to a safe point. It’s not ‘that’ gooey and un-set that I would worry about anything personally (I served this to my child and felt 100% fine), but if you’re concerned use pasteurized eggs to begin with. And as always, use common sense because I’m not a dietician or food safety expert!

      Enjoy the cakes!

  25. Averie, you saved Easter dinner! I had actually made a dessert pinned from another food blogger that was an epic disaster (recipe had so many flaws in it, I should have known better) but I remembered I had pinned your chocolate lava cakes a few days ago, knew I had all the ingredients, and whipped them up in 15 min. They were AMAZING! Thank you, thank you, thank you! 

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and what a great comment to read! Sorry that your first recipe didn’t pan out but so glad mine did and it saved Easter! Happy Easter!! :)

  26. After seeing this post – a molten chocolate lava cake is ALL I am craving. Just divine!

  27. Now I’m not normally a pudding person…but these look amazing! And looks so simple, will certainly be giving these a try :-). Thanks for sharing!

  28. Averie,

    Making Molten Lava Cake is on my bucket list. I’ve pinned for later. Happy Easter.

    Annamaria

  29. This definitely wasn’t a time for sharing…these look so good.  I’ve never made lava cakes but you make it look easy so that may need to change.

  30. I used to not like lava cakes (I know, right) but now I’m totally a fan. I just pinned your recipe, it’s going on my to-do list soon :)

  31. These cakes look amazing! Can I make the batter for two and bake one at a time? How long would the unbaked serving keep in the fridge?

  32. Wow! These look so decadent and rich. Love how it only makes two so I’m not tempted to eat the entire batch! I can’t wait to try this recipe, love how easy it is!

  33. My husband love molten cakes. I’ll have to surprise him with this easy homemade version. Thanks for sharing!

  34. I’ve never bothered ordering molten lavas from a restaurant because I’ve been permanently spoiled by the homemade version! I’m the weirdo that doesn’t really like cake with ice cream (I know!) so I usually top mine with real whipped cream…Looks like you just set off a craving….

    1. what a amazing lava cake and i loved the melt down where the lava cake was oozing out it was spot on it was so amazing and i learnt everything i have looked at. i also learnt how to cook lava cake and it was yummy

  35. Oooh, these sound like an ooey, gooey treat. I may be expanding my baking repertoire sometime soon …

  36. Coffee in my chocolate = YES. Molten lava center = DOUBLE YES. These look amazing… And like something I need to make ASAP. They’ve been on my list for awhile now! Time to get bubbling!

  37. Oh, NO. You cannot have made these so easy! Now I’ll bake and eat a bazillion. This is a new fave of mine, Averie!

  38. I had no idea I could have a lava cake within 15 min but it looks like a short time in a hot oven makes it possible!! Ice cream and hot fudge on top are almost a necessity for me. These look too easy and so good!

    1. They’d be perfect for you and Jon. And so easy! One of the best things I’ve made in ages!!

  39. Molten chocolate is heaven! And hey- they’re pretty small, so devouring a whole one isn’t *too* bad. That’s what I try to tell myself, anyways.