Chocolate Lava Cakes are decadently rich but wonderfully easy with only 5 ingredients!
Chocolate Lava Cakes look impressive but are super easy to make! They take less than 10 minutes to whip up and only require one bowl and a whisk to prepare! You can prep the batter ahead of time and refrigerate then bake your Molten Lava Cakes for stress free entertaining! These Chocolate Lava Cakes emerges perfectly every time with a beautiful stream of silky chocolate you will want to lick from the plate!
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Molten Lava Cake
These Molten Lava Cakes are dangerously delicious. So much that I may or may not have eaten 3 out of the 4 Chocolate Lava Cakes I made for this post……all in the same day. I blame the fever I was having so nothing else sounded good to eat that day, but deep down I know the truth – the warm, oozing, liquid chocolate truth.
So what do Lava Cakes taste like? Soft warm chocolate cake outside giving way to a creamy, smooth stream of warm liquid chocolate inside, ensuring every forkful is bathed in velvety chocolate. It will be love at first bite.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SOUFFLE AND A MOLTEN LAVA CAKE?
Before we dive into this lava cake recipe, what exactly is a chocolate lava cake? What is the difference between a soufflé and a lava cake?
- Soufflés and molten lava cakes are similar in appearance, share many of the same ingredients and are even served with similar toppings, all of which leads many to believe that they are the same dessert. The differences lie in the texture of the desserts as well as the presentation.
- A soufflé is fully cooked, whereas a lava cake maintains a runny, chocolatey liquid center.
- This does not mean that soufflés are the same consistency as say, cake. A soufflé is definitely moist in the center, much more so than a slice of regular cake would be.
- The soufflé has a merengue appearance on top and a light texture. It comes in a variety of flavors like chocolate, lemon or even cheese.
- Molten lava cake features one flavor- chocolate! It is denser than a soufflé and, as previously mentioned, boasts a river of chocolate lava that oozes from its center once cut into.
- While soufflé is typically served in its cooking container, molten lava cakes are often scooped out of their ramekins and served atop a plate where all of that gooey goodness can flow freely. Aren’t you just dying to dive into a chocolate molten lava cake right now?
WHEN WAS CHOCOLATE LAVA CAKE INVENTED?
A chef in New York City, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, is credited with inventing chocolate molten lava cake in 1987. Vongerichten removed a sponge cake from the oven too early and realized that while the center was still runny, the outside of the cake had a texture and taste that were desirable.
Fun Food Fact: Vongerichten is the man behind the famous Jean-Georges restaurant located in New York’s Trump International Hotel and Tower. Stay with me, there’s a food war brewing. Jacques Torres, a French chef and chocolatier who also happens to be a judge and co-host of the popular food show Nailed It!, says that the lava cake already existed in France before Vongerichten claimed to have invented it.
Wherever the truth lies, our lives are blessed from the creation of the Chocolate Lava Cake!
Lava Cake Recipe
I wanted to post these individual Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes of delight in time for Mother’s Day, because like the Blackberry Hoisin Ginger Pork Tenderloin I’ll be serving, they look and tastes royally gourmet but are actually super simple to make!
I always had assumed Chocolate Lava Cakes must be difficult to make or master because they taste absolutely heavenly, and it takes effort to get to heaven.
I was so pleasantly surprised to discover that a Lava Cake Recipe only require 5 ingredients (chocolate, butter, sugar, eggs, flour) and less than 10 minutes to whip up! You don’t even have to get out a single pot or electric mixer! just a good old fashioned bowl and whisk will do the trick.
CHOCOLATE LAVA CAKE INGREDIENTS:
These Chocolate Lava Cakes are fabulous because you can make them with pantry ingredients! All you need are:
- Semi-sweet chocolate: you will need 4 oz. of your favorite baking chocolate bar NOT chocolate chips. Chocolate chips won’t produce the same “lava” center we’re looking for. Use quality chocolate like Ghirardelli, Nestle or Lindt for best results. If you LOVE dark chocolate, you can also use that instead of semi-sweet. Semi-sweet chocolate is technically dark chocolate but not as dark as some.
- Butter: use unsalted butter so we can control the salt.
- Powdered sugar: use powdered sugar and NOT granulated sugar.
- Eggs: we will use both 2 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks so you will need a total of 4 eggs.
- Salt: just an ⅛ teaspoon will do to enhance the chocolate flavor.
- Flour: I use all-purpose flour but I’m sure a gluten free 1 to 1 baking flour would also work great.
What Supplies do I need to Make Chocolate Lava Cakes?
- Ramekins: which are also called soufflé cups. The size of the ramekins matters because it affects the depth and width of the lava cake which will affect the cooking time. For this recipe, I used four 6 oz. ramekins. If you have smaller or larger ramekins, you can use them, but you will need to adjust the baking time accordingly.
Muffin pan: If you don’t have any ramekins – never fear, our muffin pan is here! The muffin cups in standard muffin pan/cupcake pan are 4 oz., smaller than our 6 oz. ramekins, so you will want to divide the batter between 6 muffin cups instead of 4 and bake for 8-10 minutes.
- Cooking spray: Use cooking spray WITH flour and not just cooking spray (it will say on the front label if it has flour in it. This ensures your chocolate lava cakes slip out easily.
HOW TO MAKE A MOLTEN LAVA CAKE
This Chocolate Lava Cake Recipe is SO easy to make! Here is a breakdown of the steps for perfect lava cakes every time:
- Preheat oven. We are going to bake our Chocolate Lava Cakes at 425 degrees F. The high heat ensures the outside bakes fully while leaving our center molten.
- Melt the butter and chocolate. Add butter and baking chocolate to a large microwave-safe bowl. Use a bowl large enough to incorporate all of your lava cake ingredients because this is going tot become our mixing bowl. Microwave butter and chocolate for 1 minute, then stir until the chocolate is completely smooth.
- Whisk in sugar. Next whisk in the sugar until completely smooth. This tempers the warm chocolate mixture before adding the eggs.
- Whisk in eggs. Add eggs and egg yolks then then beat for 1 minute.
- Add flour. Add flour then stir until just combined. As in all cakes, you never want to over-mix or the gluten in the flour will make the cake dense and tough.
- Spoon batter into ramekins. I like to use a measuring cup to make sure the batter gets evenly divided. If your batter isn’t evenly portioned, the Chocolate Lava Cakes will bake unevenly.
- Bake. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 12-13 minutes, or until the sides are firm but the centers are still soft.
- Invert. Let Molten Lava Cakes cool for 2 minutes – NO LONGER – you may want to set your timer. If the lava cakes are left in the ramekins any longer you risk a nonexistent lava center. Gently loosen cakes from ramekins by sliding a knife around the edges of each cake; then invert cakes onto serving plates.
- Serve immediately. Dust Chocolate Lava Cakes with powdered sugar (optional) or any of my toppings listed below. Serve immediately because the lava cakes will continue to cook in the center as they sit.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN CHOCOLATE MOLTEN LAVA CAKE IS DONE?
Taking your Chocolate Lava Cakes out of the oven at the correct time is crucial for lava success. You will know your chocolate molten lava cake is done when the edges are cooked all around and the center has risen but is not too puffy and is set up but still slightly soft, yet not jiggly.
You can double check the doneness by inserting a toothpick into the sides of the cake- it should come out with a few moist crumbs and then the center – it should still be wet.
What to Serve with Chocolate Lava Cake:
Chocolate Lava Cakes are fabulous in their own decadence, but even more delicious with some toppings. Here are a few ideas:
- Powdered sugar: a light dusting of powdered sugar not only looks beautiful but enhances the sweetness.
- Chocolate Sauce: chocolate, on chocolate, on chocolate. My dreams come true. I like to use my 5 minute Chocolate Ganache recipe – it is SO easy and lusciously creamy.
- Caramel: I LOVE drizzling my Molten Lava Cakes with my 5 minute Caramel Sauce. I don’t think it gets any better than this.
- Coconut: If you love coconut, try topping with my Coconut Caramel Sauce, toasted coconut and even pineapple and/or bananas!
- Sea salt: you got to love the sweet and salty combo!
- Ice cream: vanilla ice cream is always a win with chocolate. It’s sweet, creamy and refreshing. You can also pair Molten Lava Cakes with strawberry ice cream, raspberry ice cream, pistachio ice cream, etc.
- Whipped cream: an easy win and it looks beautiful, especially with berries.
- Berries: Raspberries, strawberries, or blackberries or a combination of all three!
- Nuts: just think of your favorite brownies and how pecans add a fabulous nutty dimension!
HOW DO YOU STORE LEFTOVER MOLTEN LAVA CAKE?
Chocolate Lava Cake is best eaten immediately. We don’t want you to miss out on the warm melted chocolate lava in the center of the cake! The longer the cake sits once removed from the oven, the more time it has to continue cooking. We want that gooey chocolate lava river to stay runny, so it’s ideal to consume it shortly after it comes out of the oven.
You can refrigerate your baked molten lava cake, although I don’t recommend it. As you cook, store and reheat it, you may lose the liquid or lava texture in the center.
However, if you want to refrigerate your cooked cakes, wrap them individually and securely in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to three days. Just be aware that your lava cake will now just be a chocolate cake minus the molten center when ready to eat.
CAN I PREPARE MOLTEN LAVA CAKE AHEAD OF TIME?
YES! I love that Molten Lava Cakes are prep ahead friendly! This eliminates the need to bake your lava cakes ahead of time, because you can have them all ready to pop in the oven.
If you have guests coming, you can refrigerate your chocolate molten lava cakes uncooked in your ramekins for up to one day. IF you are planning on doing this, make sure you place parchment paper on the bottom of your ramekins, cut to size, before spraying with non-stick spray. This will ensure that your cakes don’t stick to the bottom of the ramekins after sitting for a longer period of time prior to cooking. Cover the ramekin with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Another method to refrigerate your uncooked molten lava cake is to keep the prepared batter in its mixing bowl, seal it with plastic wrap and store it for up to two days in the refrigerator.
HOW DO I BAKE MY PREPPED LAVA CAKES FROM THE REFRIGERATOR?
Before baking your Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes from the refrigerator, place them (or your mixing bowl with batter) on your kitchen counter and allow to come to room temperature. Check the temperature often. You do not want the batter to sit out longer than needed because it does have dairy and egg in it.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- If batter is still in mixing bowl, fill greased ramekins.
- Place room-temperature ramekins on baking sheet and bake for 12-13 minutes.
- Remove from oven when edges are firm while center is soft but not jiggly.
CAN I FREEZE CHOCOLATE LAVA CAKE?
You can freeze cooked chocolate molten lava cake, although I don’t recommend it. I think you will get the best experience from this dessert if you eat your cakes soon after baking them in the oven.
- Allow cakes to come to room temperature.
- Remove from ramekins and let cool completely.
- Wrap your cakes individually and securely in plastic wrap.
- Place your cakes in heavy-duty zip bags, removing air, or in an airtight container
- Label and store for up to three months.
HOW DO I REHEAT COOKED LAVA CAKE?
Remember when you reheat your baked Chocolate Lava Cakes, you are solidifying the center and they will likely loose their lava. Still, you will have a delicious chocolate cake!
To reheat cooked molten lava cake from the freezer:
- Thaw lava cake overnight in the refrigerator.
- Place lava cake on a microwave-safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel
- Heat on medium power for about 40 seconds, or until the center is soft
To reheat cooked molten lava cake from the refrigerator:
- Unwrap cake.
- Place on microwave-safe dish.
- Cover with damp paper towel.
- Heat on medium power for about 40 seconds, or until the center is soft.
Looking for more Chocolate Dessert Recipes?
- Chocolate Eclair Cake
- Chocolate Fondue
- German Chocolate Cupcakes
- Crockpot Chocolate Peanut Clusters
- Chocolate Covered Strawberries
- Chocolate Raspberry Cake
- Easy Churros with Chocolate Sauce
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Chocolate Lava Cakes
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Generously spray 4 small ramekins/custard cups with nonstick baking spray WITH flour or grease and dust your cups with cocoa powder. Place cups on a baking sheet.***
- Add butter and baking chocolate to a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute, or until butter is melted, then stir until butter and chocolate are completely smooth. Stir in sugar until smooth. Add eggs and egg yolks then then beat for 1 minute. Add flour and salt then stir until just combined.
- Evenly spoon batter into prepared cups. Bake for 12-13 minutes, or until the sides are firm but the centers are still soft (but not jiggly). Let cool for 2 minutes, then gently loosen cakes from custard cups by sliding a knife around the edges of each cake; then invert cakes onto serving plates. Dust with powdered sugar (optional) and serve immediately (because the cakes will continue to cook in the center).
- You can refrigerate your chocolate molten lava cakes uncooked in ramekins for up to one day. If you are planning on doing this, make sure you place parchment paper on the bottom of your ramekins, cut to size, before spraying with non-stick spray. This will ensure that your cakes don’t stick to the bottom of the ramekins after sitting for a longer period of time prior to cooking. Cover the ramekin with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- Another method to refrigerate your uncooked molten lava cake is to keep the prepared batter in its mixing bowl, seal it with plastic wrap and store it for up to two days in the refrigerator.
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