Classic Chocolate Molten Lava Cake

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Impress that special someone with a classic chocolate molten lava cake recipe. Just six simple ingredients create a tender cake with oozy chocolate filling.

Classic Chocolate Molten Lava Cake - Looking for a romantic dessert ideas? Impress that special someone with an indulgent 5 ingredient tender cake with oozy chocolate filling. | jessicagavin.com

Do you want to show that special someone in your life that you love them? No need to spend an entire paycheck on a fancy gift, all you need to make their heart skip a beat is a warm classic chocolate molten lava cake. Whether it’s a Valentine’s Day celebration or just a cozy night in, this recipe is guaranteed to bring smiles.

Nothing sets the romantic mood like Marvin Gaye and the smell of a fresh chocolate cake baking in the oven. Just wait until you wow them as they take their first scoop of this indulgent dessert. The delicate cocoa cake shell cracks open to reveal just the right amount of delicious oozy chocolate on the inside.

Chocolate cake with raspberries and powdered sugar on top

This cake might seem complicated, but I promise you it’s the most straightforward dessert you’ll ever bake. This cake is like the perfect hand in poker, doesn’t reveal how amazing it is until just the right moment. When it does, BOOM, jaws drop and you know you won.

That first bite is a little crisp on the outside, tender cake around the edges and silky chocolate pudding in the center. How you can get three different textures in one small dish blows my mind. May I have another taste, please?

Making chocolate sauce for a classic chocolate molten lava cake

The recipe is just six ingredients that you most likely already have in your kitchen. It starts with melting chopped bittersweet chocolate and butter together until they meld into one gorgeous chocolate sauce. I used a Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate baking bar.

While all of that goodness is happening on the stove, the eggs and sugar get whipped until thick and pale, the perfect foam for the light and tender cake. The chocolate folds into the egg mixture, and then a small amount of flour is incorporated until a fudgy pourable batter is created.

Chocolate mixture sitting inside 8-ounce ramekins, ready to bake for 10 minutes

The luscious chocolate cake batter gets poured into 8-ounce ramekins. You can make these cakes right away, or you can refrigerate them up to a day in advance. This means you can prep the day before and bake them right when you need them. So they are hot, fresh and super melty. No extra messes to clean up during your romantic celebration. You can look like an all-star as you pull out these steamy cakes, put them on a dessert plate and serve them with a devilish smile.

IMPORTANT TIP! Make sure to remove the cakes at the EXACT time, don’t get distracted by social media, TV, makeout sessions, the dog or kids if you can help it. Each additional minute changes the texture of the cake.

Molten lava cake cut open with chocolate sauce oozing out of the center

Because each oven differs (I have a gas oven) its a good idea to test a cake before you serve them. If you can, you’ll want to experiment to find the right time to remove the lava cakes from the oven. With my oven, here’s what I observed when testing different cooking times:

No refrigeration before baking

  • 9 minutes is the perfect bake time; about 50% cake to 50% molten lava center
  • If you want more lava (about 75%), go 8 minutes
  • If you want more cake texture (25% lava), go 10 minutes
  • At 12 minutes, you’ve got a moist and tender cake, but no lava

Refrigerated before baking

  • At 10 minutes there was 60% lava
  • 11 minutes about 40% lava

Both were delicious, just depends on if you want more cake vs. lava center. I noticed that the refrigerated cake had a richer chocolate ganache-like center, although they need about 1 to 2 more minutes of baking to account for getting the cake and ramekin to get up to temperature.

Lava cake on a plate with raspberries and chocolate sauce coming out of the center

How could you make this cake even more spectacular? A light dusting of powdered sugar is all that is needed, but I like to add a little bit extra. How about some fresh berries, a drizzle of salted caramel, whipped cream or a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

I would love to hear how your chocolate molten lava cake turns out, if you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I want to help ensure you have success on your special day!

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How baking time affects the molten center

These chocolate lava cakes are baked at very high temperatures, heating the oven to 450 degrees F, to ensure a gooey molten center. The high heat helps the edges set quickly without cooking the center. Each minute changes the amount of cake-to-lava ratio. So make sure to set a timer and promptly remove from the oven at the indicated time, and only let the ramekin sit for 1 minute before unmolding. The hot ramekin will cause carryover cooking if the cake is left inside too long.

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Classic Chocolate Molten Lava Cake

Impress that special someone with a classic chocolate molten lava cake recipe. Just 6 simple ingredients create a tender cake with oozy chocolate filling.
Pin Print Review
4.24 from 25 votes
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings 4 cakes
Course Dessert
Cuisine French

Ingredients

  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, baking bars
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting ramekins
  • powdered sugar, for dusting

Instructions 

  • Set the oven rack to the middle posiiton. Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C).
  • Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a microwave-safe dish for 30 seconds. Brush melted butter on the inside of four 8-ounce ramekins. Lightly coat with flour. Tap out the excess flour. Set the ramekins on a baking sheet.
  • In a double boiler, over simmering water, melt 8 tablespoons butter (4 ounces) with the chocolate. Remove from heat and whisk together to combine.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs and egg yolks, sugar, and salt at high speed until thickened and pale, about 3 minutes.
  • Quickly fold chocolate into the egg mixture. Fold in the flour until just combined.
  • Divide batter evenly into the prepared ramekins and bake on a sheet tray for 9 minutes, or until the sides of the cakes are firm, the tops are just slightly cracked, but the centers are soft and slightly jiggly. Let the cakes cool in the ramekins for 1 minute.
  • Run a knife or small spatula along the sides of the ramekins a few times to release the cake.
  • Cover each ramekin with an inverted dessert plate. Carefully turn each one over, let stand for 10 seconds and then unmold. Use the spatula or knife to lift the corner of the ramekin and a gloved hand to lift and unmold the cake.
  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

Recipe Video

Notes

  • Do not overbake these cakes! I find that each additional minute will result in a noticeably less molten chocolate cake filling.
  • This recipe can be made a day ahead (batter portioned in ramekins and covered with plastic wrap) or refrigerated for several hours before baking. Bake straight from the refrigerator for 10 to 11 minutes.
  • Coconut oil can be substituted for butter.
  • MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE: Substitute all-purpose flour with gluten-free flour.

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Nutrition Facts
Classic Chocolate Molten Lava Cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 430 Calories from Fat 324
% Daily Value*
Fat 36g55%
Saturated Fat 21g105%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 253mg84%
Sodium 37mg2%
Potassium 10mg0%
Carbohydrates 26g9%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 22g24%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 1100IU22%
Calcium 30mg3%
Iron 2.2mg12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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24 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Emilee says

    Hi Jessica!

    I recently made your Molten Lava Cake recipe and it was delicious. I made the first one by itself to see if I had my time correct. When I pulled the cake out of oven it looked perfect and released from my ramekin with no problem. The middle was perfectly molten however my husband posed a good question that I could not answer. What temperature does the molten center need to reach to make it “safe” to eat? I hadn’t thought of this especially considering there is a decent amount of egg in the recipe. I don’t want to give anyone I prepare food for food poisoning.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Great question! Even light cooking helps to destroy salmonella bacteria. Typically whole eggs set between 144 and 158°F. To completely destroy the bacteria the eggs should be cooked to 160ºF. A typical cake sets around and an internal temperature of 200 to 210ºF, which is why for the molten cake it’s still gooey in the center because you don’t cook it completely (plus there is less flour). To address your concern, you can use an instant-read thermometer to check the center temperature of the cake before stoping the baking process. It may not be as runny in the center but shoot for 160ºF. You can also use pasteurized whole eggs or pasteurized egg products to reduce the bacteria levels even before baking.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You can make the cake a bit taller if evenly dividing the batter, but give at least 1/2-inch from the rim. Keep the bake tie the same. If you use less batter in the 6-ounce ramekin, cook for 7 to 8 minutes.

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