Chocolate Lava Cakes feel like a very 90’s dessert if I’m being honest, but they’re kind of delightful so I feel like we should be making them more often. I’m sharing a recipe today that makes two lava cakes, perfect for Valentine’s Day or any day.
You can also easily double this recipe for 4 servings, and you can even make the batter ahead of time if you want. They’re super chocolatey, easy to make, and a fun little way to wow your friends. I’ve made these like 5 times in the last few weeks testing this recipe, and I can confirm that even if they don’t make it out of the ramekin in one piece, they’re still going to taste amazing!
How to Make Chocolate Lava Cakes
Start by prepping your ramekins- you want to coat the entire inside of the dishes with softened butter- I find this is easiest when you use a paper towel to smear it into every corner of the dish or using a pastry brush is another great option. Then dust 1 tbs of the cocoa powder into your ramekins and turn the dish around until it’s entirely coated, tapping out an excess.
This recipe uses both chocolate chunks and cocoa powder for a really chocolate-forward result. Start by melting your butter and then adding in chopped chocolate and letting it melt from the hot butter. Use the kind of chocolate you like to eat here- I like it best with milk chocolate, but it’s also really yummy with dark chocolate. Then whisk in your flour and remaining cocoa powder until the mixture is smooth.
In another bowl, whip your eggs and sugar until they’ve thickened and form ribbons when you lift the whisk out of the bowl. You can do this by whisking by hand for about 5 minutes, or using an electric hand mixer for about 2 minutes. They’ll be pale and fluffy. Gently fold this mixture into your chocolate mixture until everything is just combined.
Then it’s off to the oven- the baking part is the trickiest stage for these cakes- you want to bake them until they have risen and look set around the edges, but still have a small jiggle in the center. Then carefully unmold the cakes while they are still hot by inverting a plate on top of each ramekin and flipping them while wearing oven mitts.
You should end up with a sweet chocolate cake that has a molten center and it’s really delightful. I like to serve it with a little unsweetened whipped cream or some vanilla ice cream!
Tips & Tricks for Chocolate Lava Cakes
Here’s all my tips and tricks for perfect chocolate lava cakes every time!
- Use the kind of chocolate you like to eat. I actually prefer these cakes with milk chocolate because they aren’t super sweet on their own, but they are still absolutely perfect with dark chocolate, so go with something you like!
- What if the butter doesn’t completely melt the chocolate? If the chocolate isn’t fully melted for you, pop the bowl into the microwave for 15 seconds and continue whisking. Repeat until everything is just melted.
- Can I use regular cocoa powder? You can, but the chocolate flavor will be less strong. I only use dutch-processed cocoa powder for all my baking and I highly recommend it.
- How do I know when the eggs have been whipped enough? The eggs should be pale, fluffy, and nearly doubled in volume. They should form thick ribbons when you lift the whisk from the bowl.
- How do I know when the cakes are finished baking? This is the hardest part of this recipe- you want to pull the cakes out when the centers are just barely jiggling, but the edges look set. Too soon, and the cakes won’t hold their shape when you unmold them, and too long and you won’t have a molten center. Regardless, they’ll taste amazing!
- I’m at about 5,000 ft above sea level and I find that most people who live between about 3,000-7,000 ft above sea level do not need to make any adjustments to my recipes.
Chocolate Lava Cakes for Two
- 4 tbs. unsalted butter separated
- 2 oz chopped dark chocolate
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 egg
- 2 tbs. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1 tbs. flour
- 2 tbs. dutch-processed cocoa powder separated
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Generously butter 2 ramekins (that hold at least 1/2 cup) with 1 tbs of butter, and dust with 1 tbs. of cocoa powder to fully coat the dishes. Set aside onto a small baking sheet for easy transfer to and from the oven.
In a medium bowl, melt the remaining 3 tbs of butter in the microwave until just melted, about 30-60 seconds. Add in the chopped chocolate and stir to melt the chocolate completely. Stir in the salt, flour, and remaining 1 tbs of cocoa powder.
In a another medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, egg, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt until the mixture is very pale and thick, about 3-5 minutes. It should form thick ribbons when you hold the whisk above your bowl.
Pour the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture and gently fold to combine until no streaks remain in the batter.
Divide the mixture evenly between your prepared ramekin dishes. Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until the cakes have risen but are still slightly wobbly in the centers. You want the centers to just jiggle slightly when you shake it, but the cake should look set around the edges. Carefully flip out onto plates immediately and serve while warm with whipped cream or ice cream on top!
Hello and welcome! My name is Nicole, and Dough-eyed is a food blog for people who want to bake for their family and friends in high-altitude areas. Think of me as a friendly voice there with you in the kitchen, here to give you confidence when you’re baking, and to help you with the struggles of baking at high-altitude. Come back every week for new recipes, tips, and advice on high-altitude baking!