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This restaurant-quality molten lava cake features a spongey, moist cake with a hot, ooey-gooey chocolate center. It is so easy to make and perfect for the chocolate lovers in your life.

Molten lava cake served on a plates with a spoon near a glass of milk.
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Molten lava cake. It’s that dessert that comes out at restaurants and makes everyone ooo and ahhh. It looks good, tastes good, and something about the way the center melts into edible heaven leads people to think that it’s miracle dessert. Don’t get me wrong…it is a miracle. An absolute explosion of chocolaty goodness. But it takes no miracles to make. The recipe is actually quite simple.

All you need to do is whip up a simple batter, divvy it between a few ramekins, and bake. The result is a moist, spongey outer layer of chocolate cake that surrounds a hot, ooey-gooey chocolate center. How can you say no to that? It truly is a chocolate lover’s dream.

Molten lava cake served on plates with spoons near a glass of milk.

What is Lava Cake?

Somewhere between a chocolate cake, a souffle, and the best hot fudge sauce you’ve ever had lava cake is a dessert worth writing home about. To make it simple, molten lava cake is a chocolate fudge cake that hasn’t quite been cooked all the way through. This results in the cake having a runny center that has been pleasing taste buds for decades.

Why You’ll Love this Chocolate Dessert

It’s hard not to love a piping hot, chocolate-loaded cake that also happens to be filled with molten chocolate just waiting to pour out. Here are a few of my favorite things about this lava cake.

  • Quick and easy. This chocolate lover’s dream only takes 20 minutes to make. What are you waiting for?
  • The awe factor. There is something so magical about the moment you dig your fork into molten lava cake and the ooey-gooey center spills out. This dessert is sure to excite you and your guests.
  • So. Much. Chocolate. Every millimeter of this molten cake is exploding with chocolate flavor. Chocolate lovers…dive in.
  • Restaurant quality. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have a hard time wanting to splurge on a pricey dessert at a restaurant when I know I could probably make it at home. This lava cake is just as good as (if not better than) the Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse version that inspired me to have a run at making it myself.
Ingredients for molten lava cake seperated into bowls.

Recipe Ingredients

You mean I only need 7 ingredients to make a molten chocolate cake that will send my taste buds to heaven in one bite? Yep! That’s right. Only 7. Here’s a list of what you’ll need to make molten chocolate cake. Make sure to scroll to the recipe below for exact measurements.

  • Unsalted butter. Soften the butter a bit before beginning. It will incorporate with the other ingredients more smoothly.
  • Sugar. Granulated sugar will work the best here.
  • Eggs. These should be at room temperature.
  • Flour. Feel free to use your favorite 1:1 gluten-free flour instead.
  • Salt
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips. Melted. You can also use dark chocolate chips for a more bitter cake or milk chocolate chips for something a little sweeter.
  • Confectioner’s sugar. To dust the finished dessert.

How to Make Chocolate Lava Cake

This awe-inspiring dessert that we all scramble over at the dinner table is shockingly easy to put together. Here’s a brief overview of how to do it. Scroll to the recipe below for more detailed instructions.

  • Prep. Preheat oven to 400 °F and grease the inside of 5 ramekins.
  • Beat the butter and sugar until creamy before adding the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
  • Add in the flour and salt and mix until smooth.
  • Fold in the melted chocolate.
Ramekins filled with chocolate cake batter.
  • Bake. Fill each ramekin 3/4 of the way with batter, place them on a baking sheet, and bake for 12-15 minutes.
  • Cool for 10 minutes.
Dusting molten lava cake with powdered sugar.
  • Finish. Remove the cakes from the ramekins and dust with powdered sugar.

Tips for Success

Want to make the perfect, restaurant-quality molten lava cake? I have every faith in you. Just make sure to note these simple tips and tricks before getting started.

  • Grease the ramekins thoroughly. No one wants a lava cake that spills its center before it even gets to the plate. Avoid a mess by liberally greasing the ramekins. The cakes should come out easily if you do so.
  • Measure properly. When it comes to the flour, do not pack it into the measuring cup. This will end you with more flour than you need and will result in a dry, dense cake. Instead, spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level.
  • Use room-temperature eggs. They will mix into the batter more easily, helping to prevent you from over-mixing.
  • Don’t over-mix. Over-mixing the batter will cause the glutens in the flour to overdevelop. This will end you with a tough, dense cake. So make sure to mix just enough to incorporate all of the ingredients.
  • Get the temperature right. The high temperature prescribed to bake this dessert helps the outside cook faster than the inside. This is what will get you that goopy center. So make sure your oven has preheated fully before popping the lava cakes in to bake. Don’t trust your oven? Consider using an oven thermometer.
Molten lava cake served on plates with spoons near a glass of milk.

Serving Suggestions

Molten chocolate cake is rich and warm. It pairs beautifully with cool temperatures and delicate flavors. Here are some ideas for you.

  • With a glass of milk. There is nothing like washing down bites of a rich, chocolatey dessert with a swig or two of cold milk.
  • With ice cream. Vanilla would be my top choice here but coffee-flavored ice cream would bring out the chocolate flavors beautifully as well.
  • With heavy whipping cream. I love pouring a bit of heavy whipping cream over molten chocolate cake. It breaks up the richness of the dessert and provides a nice cool juxtaposition to the hot, molten center.

Can I Make Lava Cake Ahead?

You can! Just make the batter, cover it in saran wrap, and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When you are ready to bake, grease and fill the ramekins and pop them in the preheated oven.

Alternatively, you can make the batter, grease and fill the ramekins, cover them tightly with saran wrap, and store them in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When you are ready to bake, just preheat the oven and pop the lava cakes in.

Molten lava cake served on plates with spoons near a glass of milk.

How to Store and Reheat Extras

If you find yourself with leftovers, allow them to cool completely before storing them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, place the lava cake/s on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, and bake for 8 minutes. You can also use the microwave. Just cover the cake with a damp paper towel and microwave for about 30 seconds.

Can I Freeze Lava Cake?

You can. Arrange the cooled, baked lava cakes on a baking sheet and place them in the freezer for a couple of hours to firm up. Wrap the individual cakes in saran wrap and seal them in an airtight container. When it comes time to reheat, remove the saran wrap and bake in an oven set to 400 degrees F for 15 minutes or until heated through. Microwave person? Cover the lava cake in a wet paper towel and microwave for 45 minutes.

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4.84 from 6 votes

Molten Lava Cake

This restaurant-quality molten lava cake features a spongey, moist cake with a hot, ooey-gooey chocolate center. It's perfect for chocolate lovers in your life.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 cakes

Ingredients 

  • 4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • cup (67 g) sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • cup (42 g) flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ⅓ cup (240 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400 °F (204 °C). Grease the inside of your 4 ounce ramekins with some cooking spray or take a pad of butter and rub it around on the inside.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar until creamy.
  • Add in the eggs, one by one, beating after each egg.
  • Add in the flour and salt and combine until smooth.
  • Gently blend in your melted chocolate until just combined.
  • Divide batter evenly amongst your ramekins. I was able to make 5. You’ll want to fill the ramekins 3/4 of the way. Put your ramekins on a baking sheet.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the tops of the cake no longer jiggle when you shake the pan lightly.
  • Let sit for 10 minutes then take a knife and go around the edge. They should pop out easily.
  • Lightly dust with powdered sugar on top before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cake, Calories: 605kcal, Carbohydrates: 58g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 38g, Saturated Fat: 21g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 156mg, Sodium: 200mg, Potassium: 401mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 41g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

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Photography by Eat Love Eats

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45 Comments

  1. Can I make this in a bigger pan (7″ round) or should you suggest sticking with ramekin size? Your idea is greatly appreciated.

  2. I would like to use this recipe for a virtual baby shower. Do you think powdered milk could be substituted? Also, do you have a suggestion as an alternative to oil, which could be included in the mix?

    1. powdered milk substituted for which ingredient? but honestly, you don’t even have to answer that since the more i’m thinking about it…powdered milk substituted for whatever dry ingredient that’s in this recipe won’t work out. the only oil in this recipe is butter and while you could substitute a neutral oil, i would stick with the recipe. molten lava cakes are finicky as it is so substituting ingredients i haven’t fully tested is asking for failure.

  3. Delicious! Made these for my in laws last night and they were amazed – they love Fleming’s and these are exactly the same. We did serve them with mint chocolate chip ice cream and that was well received. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Yum!! Made these tonight because I had a chocolate craving, and they were delicious. The extra ones are going in the fridge for another day. …or later tonight. I will definitely save this recipe for another chocolate craving day.