Molten Lava Cakes

CATEGORIES: Cakes and Cupcakes, Sara

Now that we’ve got breakfast, dinner, and treats to give away covered, we need a quick and easy, yet sinfully delicious dessert. You know you can always count on me for that, right??

There are a million recipes out there for Molten Lava Cakes. I’ve tried tons of different ones and honestly I’ve never had a bad one. I mean, how can anything that looks like this not be good?! This particular recipe I got from my beautiful, intelligent, and outrageously talented sister-in-law Emily. (You know, since this week we’re sucking up to our in-laws and I can’t let Kate upstage me.) Can you believe I actually have THREE sister-in-laws named Emily?? For the record they are all beautiful, intelligent, and outrageously talented 🙂 This particular one happens to be married to my brother Nate and I love her.

I used to make mini chocolate souffles a lot, but these are so much easier and they turn out every time so I’ve bagged teh souffles. Seriously, you can whip these suckers up in less than 5 minutes and be eating them shortly after that. So easy, so impressive, and so so good.

And since I know at least one person will ask- yes you need to use bittersweet chocolate! Remember you’re adding sugar too and these are very rich as is. Adding a sweet chocolate like milk or semi will be a little overkill. Besides bittersweet chocolate is my favorite! Live on the wild side.






  1. I just bought a bunch of those cute little heart shaped ramekins at Michael’s last week. Wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them but they were so cute I just had to have them – now I know what I’ll do with them!

    I love love molten lava cake. Our Chili’s use to have it and that was the only reason I went there but it has closed down but now I can make it at home – thanks!

  2. This is probably the seventh time I’ve been craving something, and searching for recipes, when it miraculously ends up on your site the next day 🙂 Looks delicious! Mmm mmm!

  3. Oh my gosh! When did you add “Print recipe text only” button! I’ve been meaning to ask you if you could add it! Thank you so much, it sure makes it a lot easier and we don’t have to use a bajillion sheets of paper to print out the recipe!

    And oh yeah, this recipe looks amazing.

  4. These look soooooo good. The chocoholic DH will love it!! The dude puts chocolate ice cream in his root beer floats and I think he’s a freak for it. But I love himi anyway.

  5. We just added that, nice eh? A huge thanks to 2 people. Kevin from Closet Cooking told me about that easy way to do the text only printing, and the fabulous Tae helped us work out a bunch of printing bugs we were not smart enough to figure out on our own! She added the “print this page” link at the bottom of the post, and that will print out the post in it’s entirety without all of the sidebar stuff. And it doesn’t cut-off anymore! Thanks Tae!

  6. Oh wow, those look amazing!!

    And, my sister and I are obviously related since I came to comment specifically on the “print text only” feature. Ditto what she said. I love your pictures but they just don’t translate as well onto a black and white print out. Thanks!

  7. Wow! thanks for the flattering words!

    I actually got this recipe from a friend. But mine NEVER look as beautifully spectacular as hers – OR YOURS! Amazing Sara. Amazing.

    I love these with fresh raspberries. . . MMmmmmm

    And I love the new printing feature – thanks!

  8. OMG These look so good. I am a sucker for chocolate and the thought of chocolate oozing out of a chocolate cake just makes me happy 🙂

  9. I really need to try these babies out. I have never made them. Can you believe that? I will try the ramekins. Can not go wrong with individual servings.

  10. So, my question is about the bittersweet chocolate? Something like semi-sweet chocolate chips? Or the unsweetened bakers chocolate? I feel like I should know the answer, but I just don’t! Help.

  11. Angela,
    Bittersweet chocolate is sweeter than unsweetened and not as sweet as semi-sweet. It’s actually labeled “bittersweet” and you can find it by the chocolate chips. Where I live the only brands of bittersweet chips I ever see in the stores are Ghirardelli or Guittard. If you don’t see chips, then you should for sure be able to find a bar of chocolate (usually right above the chocolate chips). And actually, a bar is easier to measure, but I usually get chips because ounce for ounce it’s cheaper.

  12. mmmmmm. I made molten lava cakes for my husband on our first Valentines day together. Thanks for the reminder and the recipe. I’m totally making these!

  13. This is exactly what I had in mind for our Valentines Day dessert! Now I don’t have to search the internet for a recipe. Thanks!!

  14. I just finished eating this. Mmmmmm. I used real heavy whipping cream. It was divine. I make 6 muffin tins and two ramekins with this recipe. Perfect for my family of 4 – we can all have another serving tomorrow! I love that you can throw it together within quickly and go from a chocolate craving to pure chocolate decadence in minutes. Yum!

  15. Sara, I made these & they are super yummy! The store I went to was out of bittersweet chocolate chips & so I bought 2 bars of bittersweet chocolate. They were pricey & I had to double the recipe for my big family so I also used semi-sweet choco. chips. I thought it worked great…In fact there was a similar recipe on the inside of the choco. bar label…they suggested baking at 425?

  16. Jodi- good to know that you liked it with semi-sweet. I know the bars can be pricey. Cooking it at a slightly higher heat probably wouldn’t hurt, but for this recipe I’d stick to how it’s written.

  17. Thank you so much for this recipe. I had house guests this week and served this to rave reviews. I was told they were restaurant worthy and this came from foodies! Easy, elegant and delicious. I garnished with fresh whipped cream and a sprig of mint. Thanks again!!!

  18. Anne, it will make 6 muffin cups, or I get 4 ramekins. It depends on the ramekin size though, mine are a bit larger.

  19. I made these for our dinner guests on Saturday night to rave reviews! They were so easy and took only about 30 mins start to finish. I will definitely be making this again – thanks!

  20. I tried these out the other day, and I just wanted to add my two cents. If you have leftovers (unlikely, I know, but there were only two of us…), the leftovers refrigerate great! Then we just popped them in the microwave for 25 seconds, and it was just like they were freshly baked. Amazing!

  21. so this might be a dumb question, but do you know if these can be made ahead of time and then re-heated or maybe frozen and then heated? thanks -marie

    p.s. I recently discovered this site and it is now my offical #1 recipe site! There are so many recipes out there and i make them and they are either gross, dont work, or nothing special, but EVERYTHING ive tried from this site so far is AWESOME! LOVE IT!

  22. Marie- not a dumb question at all! They can definitely be made ahead of time and refrigerated before baking. I haven't tried freezing this recipe, but I've made other similar ones and frozen them (unbaked) and then baked from frozen and they've worked great. So chances are it would work!

  23. I just made these tonight for my sister's birthday and they were SUPER yummy. I made them ahead of time, and put them in the fridge and they still turned out perfect. Great recipe!

  24. The hubby and I made these last night- it was a fun recipe to make together! I melted the chocolate and prepared the pans while he mixed the ingredients- then we both enjoyed the spoils of our hard work 🙂

    I only had semi-sweet chocolate on hand, so I reduced the sugar in the recipe to 1/4 cup, and it turned out fine, not too sweet at all. I loved the crunchy sugar crust on the outside from lining the cups with sugar! Now I need to go find some of those adorable ramekins! Maybe Michael's will have them for Valentine's day again this year…

  25. I did these lovely cakes yesterday with my friend, and we were amazed how fast they took to prepare and bake!

    We baked them in a 6 muffin pan, but the batter only made 5, and we put it at a 195 degrees Celcius oven for 10 min at first, but the top was still liquid, so we left them for 5 more min, and when we took them out, they looked good but a bit puffed on the top, so we left them for about 20 min as we had dinner and then had them.

    When we ate them, the top only was molten while the rest was more cake like. I was trying to see what went wrong, so I thought of asking you: Is it the heat of the oven (should it have been more)? Should we not have left them for 5 extra minute and took them out and let them rest outside? OR should we not have left them for 20 min outside and ate them right after 10 min?

  26. well it's really just the middle that's gooey, so the rest will be rich and cake-like. Sounds like you just overcooked them a bit too long, don't leave them in quite as long next time and you should be good!

  27. Don't know if you will get this comment or not. Those look so good! I also wanted to say that my name is Emily and I have 2 sisters in law who are also Emily. It gets kind of confusing when we are all together.

  28. Just made these today…I also used semi-sweet chocolate, since that’s what I had on hand, and still used the 1/3 c of sugar…tasted just fine to me, but I reallllllllllly like sweets and chocolate 🙂

    Only problem for me was they cooked up too well (I used a muffin tin and probably could have made 4 or 5, instead of 6 and they would have turned out perfect) but they were still delicious…just not as molten as I would have liked maybe.

    Thanks for the recipe and I’ll try for 4-5 cakes next time instead! 🙂

  29. Do you think this would work in a 1/2 pint mason jar? I’m making teacher gifts for the end of year and thought this would be a cute idea.

    1. Ya, that would probably work, although I’ve never eaten these at room temp! But I would think they’d cook up just fine.

        1. Lisa did they work? I am throwing a party Friday and have another 1/2 pint mason jar desert and need a chocolate one.

  30. Made these again tonight- I’ve been saving up all my weekly WW points all week just so that I could enjoy these on Sunday night! It was my reward for being so good- and as usual, they were worth it 🙂

  31. Hey Sara! 🙂 What do you mean by “real” butter. When I bake I often use unsalted butter. So do you mean “real” as in regular salted butter? Or “real” as in, don’t use margarine? Either way, I’d love to know what kind of butter you used in this recipe. Having company this weekend and can’t wait to make them!

  32. Just finished eating these. I made the batter this afternoon (adding some decaf instant coffee to make them extra rich), took them out of the fridge just as we sat down to dinner, baked and let them rest during dinner, and they were perfect by dessert! We scarfed down dinner because we were so excited for dessert:) Thank you for another great recipe!

  33. I made these this afternoon and I may never make brownies again! They were wonderful! Will be making these again when I need a quick Chocolate fix! Plus they are easy to share with friends & neighbors!

  34. Sara,
    Can we make these in mini-muffin pans? If so, how long would you suggest baking them? I have a large dinner party coming up (20 guests) and wanted to end with more of a mini dessert rather than a full size dessert.

    1. Kami- these are less gooey than Chilies- these are more of almost a fudge inside, whereas the chilis ones have more of a sauce in the middle. Both are yummy!

    1. I just used regular, 6-8 ounce ramekins (I have some of both) just watch the cooking time if you use anything smaller or larger. Enjoy!

  35. These babies are the best. I wanted to make these for my girlfriend on V-day and so I looked them up in our fancy baking cookbook – they were way over my head. Then I found this recipe and voila. So easy and so delicious. Can’t really eat but half of one though…soooo rich.

  36. Hi Sara, I know this reciepe was posted a while ago, but I hope you respond to my questions…I am making these cakes on Friday for my boyfriends birthday. I could not find any ramekins at Michael’s so I bought an extra large muffin tray instead. My concern is if I spray the tray with non-stick baking spray instead of butter will they pop right out??? Because I’d rather not use cupcake liners. Also I am concerned about the chocolate lava sauce. Since it isn’t baked all the way through, it doesn’t taste like raw cake batter does it??? And also what is the purpose of sprinkling the pan with graulated sugar in the beginning??? Sara along with anyone else that has tried the reciepe please reply as soon as possible. Thanks!

    1. Hi Lareasa- You know, you can find ramekins at just about any store that sells kitchen supplies, like target, walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, etc. It might be worth a trip to get some because I can’t guarantee they’ll pop right out of a muffin tin. The sugar sprinkled in the pan helps with that, as it creates a crust, but depending on the pan you use they may or may not slide out easily. The centers are just gooey and soft, that’s all.

  37. I made these last week for my boyfriend to celebrate his birthday and he and his family and friends loved them. However, I did make some changes. I made the batter the night before because I knew I would not have had time after work the next day. After making the batter, I made one to try out. I did not like the rich bitterness of all the bittersweet chocolate, so the next day before baking, I added about a cup of semisweet chocolate and a half a cup of powdered sugar. This gave it more of the taste I was looking for. Unfortunately, the cakes stayed about for a couple of hours before eating while we were at dinner so the lava didn’t flow out the way it would have if it was eaten immediately. I served it with vanilla ice cream, dusted with powdered sugar, drizzeled with caramel, pecans and strawberries. You would have thought it came from a gourmet chocolteir. Thanks for the recipe Sara!

  38. These look fabulous!! I was wondering if they could be made up in a jar. I am currently in love with that idea and want to find something with chocolate that’s decadent to make up in a jar to give out on Mother’s day. Can’t wait to try your pie in a jar – that’s my Father’s Day plan I think!

  39. It only made 4 ramekins for me just now. Good thing I’m testing the recipe for tomorrow. If they bake big I know I can use less in each and make the 5 needed for tomorrow.

  40. Turned out great! I baked off 3 of the 4 and everyone loved it. Saved the 4th from last night to bake with the batch I’m making for tonight’s dinner party.

  41. i made this recipe and it was grate what i did was i took small long platers each plater had 3 small boles one had the cake the other had a vanilla sauce and the last one was vanilla icecream evey one loved it

  42. Hi I loved your cake by seeing this now itself.On this Valentines friends I have a big party of couple friends I want to know whether I can make 100 of them early(3-4 hrs before) and preserve it ?And just bake for 1 min at the time of serving.can this batter be made very early and refrigerated.Please give me ideas of serving this beautiful recipe without making a mess 🙂

  43. Hi Sara! These cakes looks so decadent! These are my favorite dessert to get whenever we eat out!
    I have a question though.. I would like to make these for an office party.. wondering if I can make it the whole way through the night before, let it cooled, put in fridge, and just pop them in the microwave for 10-20 seconds at the office before party.. Would it still have that gooey melty center?

  44. Hi, Sara ~
    Would you recommend substituting either coconut oil or olive oil for the butter, in this recipe?
    I’d like to prepare a vegan version and would love to have your input.
    Many thanks!

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