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. 

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4.40 from 108 votes

The Best and The Easiest Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes

By Averie Sunshine
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
Servings: 2
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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
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, 1/2 of 1 stick
  • ½ 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 

  • 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.

Notes

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 867kcal, Carbohydrates: 86g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 53g, Saturated Fat: 31g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 19g, Cholesterol: 278mg, Sodium: 173mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 61g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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

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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.

Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe last night as a test for my future dinner party. I followed it exactly and it came out perfect! So excited that I texted the pic of the lava flowing out to all my sisters!

    1. Thanks for the 5 star review, Diane, and kudos to you for trying a recipe BEFORE a big event and not the day-of! I bet your sisters were impressed with the lava coming out :)

  2. 4 stars
    Picked this recipe as it doesn’t require any eggs beating. overall ok but cake turned out on the dry than gooey side. Did everything as the recipe except i put in oven for 10 instead of 11. I think I’ll try again next time but with 8-9 mins instead.

    Thank you!

  3. 3 stars
    Picked this recipe as it doesn’t require any eggs beating. overall ok but cake turned out on the dry than gooey side. Did everything as the recipe except i put in oven for 10 instead of 11. I think I’ll try again next time but with 8-9 mins instead.

    Thank you!

  4. 4 stars
    Picked this recipe as it doesn’t require any eggs beating. overall ok but cake turned out on the dry than gooey side. Did everything as the recipe except i put in oven for 10 instead of 11. I think I’ll try again next time but with 8-9 mins instead.

    Thank you!

    1. All ovens run differently and sounds like yours runs a bit hot. Or your ramekins were smaller than mine, lots of variable. But yes, reduce the cooking time next time and that should create moister lava cakes. Thanks for trying the recipe!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 5 stars
    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.

  8. 5 stars
    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.

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

  9. 2 stars
    Avery’s fun description prompted me to finally attempt this decadent dessert. This old, love-to-be-in-the-kitchen cook with a chocoholic hubby thought this was  Divine! Followed exactly, was very easy and turned out great. Former San Diegans now huge fans of yours!

  10. 5 stars
    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!

  11. 5 stars
    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!

    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!