Molten Chocolate Lava Cake
Cakes,  Desserts

Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes

Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes perform a marvelous trick. Dig into a moist, rich cake and out flows warm dark chocolate. Restaurants serve these elegant little desserts to oohs and aahs. And with our recipe, you can bring the same chocolate drama right to your table in almost no time and with no fuss.

The secret is what you do ahead of time, behind the scenes. Whisk up the batter before dinner, or even a day or more ahead. It only takes a few minutes. Then pour the batter into silicone molds or ramekins and store them in the fridge or the freezer. All that’s left is the baking—or should we say, the underbaking. And then the unveiling.

Just let the chilled cakes come to room temperature, which could take two or three hours. They don’t mind sitting out while you leisurely enjoy your meal. Allow just 10 minutes for baking and unmolding. They stay gooey in the center since they don’t spend much time in the oven.

Voilà—an instant dessert.

These alluring deep chocolate mini-cakes give everyone a personal lava experience. No need for sharesies. For a romantic dessert for two, cut the recipe in half.

Two French chefs, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Michal Bras, each claim to have independently invented the chocolate lava cake in the 1980s. But when you bring these sweet indulgences to the table, you’ll get all the credit.

Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes

Equipment: 4 3½-ounce silicone baking molds or 4-ounce porcelain or glass ramekins.

Serves 4. Easily halves.

  • ½ cup butter
  • 4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chopped into small pieces, or chocolate chips*
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
  • Cake Goop for greasing ramekins or molds (Or brush with additional melted butter and dust with additional flour)
  • Cocoa for dusting greased ramekins or molds (optional)
  • Confectioner’s sugar for dusting after baking (optional)

*We like 72 percent cacao dark chocolate, either chips or chopped-up bars, from Trader Joe’s.

  1. Microwave butter in a medium bowl until melted. Add chocolate and stir to melt.
  2. In another bowl, combine eggs, egg yolks and sugar. Beat until light and thick, about 2 minutes. You can do this by hand using a whisk or (even easier) a manual rotary egg beater.
  3. Pour the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture and add the flour. Whisk until combined.
  4. Lightly brush four 4-ounce molds or ramekins with cake goop, or grease with butter and dust with flour (and/or cocoa) and tap out excess. Coat carefully to prevent sticking.
  5. Pour batter into prepared ramekins or molds. They can sit at room temperature for a couple of hours. You can refrigerate the filled ramekins or molds, but bring them back to room temperature before baking (this can take a couple of hours). You can also freeze them for a few days. If frozen, defrost in the fridge overnight and then take out of the fridge to bring to room temperature.
  6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425°. Place ramekins or molds onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the sides have puffed up and the tops are barely set, 7 to 9 minutes. It’s better to underbake than overbake. Let cakes sit for 1 minute.
  7. Put a dessert plate on top of the ramekin or mold and (using a potholder to handle hot ramekins) carefully invert the cake onto it. Wait 10 seconds for the cake to release, then lift off the ramekin or mold. Dust cakes with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.
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