Decadent Desserts: A Beginner's Guide to Baking a Lava Cake

Decadent Desserts: A Beginner’s Guide to Baking a Lava Cake

It’s one of the most popular flavors in the world, heralded for its rich and creamy taste. Yet, did you know that chocolate also makes you feel good?

It’s true! It releases endorphins and serotonin in our bodies from the second we take that first bite.

That feeling of serenity and joy you get after you finish that decadent brownie or that cocoa-dusted truffle? That’s science telling you it’s good to indulge your sweet tooth every now and again!

While chocolate is beloved in many different forms, today we’re focusing in on one: the gooey, melt-in-your-mouth lava cake.

Firm and moist on the outside but gushing with velvety pudding on the inside, it’s an iconic confection that’s earned its spot at the dessert table.

Ready to learn how to whip one up in the comfort of your own kitchen? Today, we’re sharing how to create four single-serving cakes just perfect for a family night.

Let’s get started!

Beginner’s Chocolate Lava Cake Recipe

Are you a novice baker looking for a basic recipe you can turn to time and again? This chocolate lava cake is quick and easy, without scrimping on flavor.

In most cases, you’ll find lava cakes designed to be portioned out into individual servings. Why? The secret behind this ultra-smooth dessert is the slightly underbaked inside that’s hidden beneath a layer of perfectly crusty cake.

It’s easiest to get this perfect ratio when you scale down the size of the cake, allowing each one to bake for a shorter time to maintain that balance. A large sheet cake, for instance, may be too done in one section or not done enough in another.

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients

To make a molten lava cake, it helps to have all of your necessary supplies at arm’s reach before you begin. For this particular recipe, you’ll need to begin with four ramekins or custard baking dishes.

Here are the items to have on hand:

  • Four ramekins or custard cups
  • One stick of butter
  • Two ounces of bittersweet chocolate
  • Two ounces of semisweet chocolate
  • One and 1/4 cups of powdered sugar
  • Two whole eggs
  • Three egg yolks
  • One teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour

You’ll also need to keep a carton of vanilla ice cream in the freezer for serving time! Chocolate molten lava cake without a hearty scoop of ice cream on top just isn’t the same!

Step 2: Prepare the Space

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray your custard cups or ramekins with non-stick baking spray. Then, place them on a baking sheet.

Step 3: Combine the Ingredients

Next, combine the butter and both kinds of chocolate in a large, microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high until the butter is melted, which should take around one minute.

The chocolate won’t be entirely melted, but that’s OK. Stirring the hot butter around will do the trick. Whisk until everything is melted and combined.

Then, stir in the powdered sugar and mix until blended. Whisk in the eggs first, then the egg yolks, and then stir in the vanilla and flour.

Step 4: Divide the Servings

Once all the ingredients are combined, divide them evenly among the ramekins or custard cups.

Step 5: Baking

Place the baking sheet with the ramekins in the oven and bake for around 13-15 minutes.

You want the sides of each cake to be firm to the touch, but the middle should be soft and jiggle a little when you shake the cup.

Step 6: Cool and Serve

Allow the lava cakes to stand and cool for approximately one minute. While they are still warm, place a small plate on top of each ramekin.

Invert the ramekin so the cake turns over onto the plate, bottom-side up. Due to the sprayed sides, they should slip right out. You can even turn the ramekins over and let each cake slide into a bowl.

To top it all off, serve with a giant scoop of ice cream! You can also dust the top of the inverted cakes with powdered sugar and sprinkle fresh fruit on top. Strawberries, raspberries and even mandarin orange slices are a great addition

Vegan Variation

Today, 3% of the population adheres to a vegan diet. If you’re looking for a vegan-friendly lava cake recipe, this one is a superstar.


For this recipe, you’ll use vegan-friendly alternatives to eggs, flour, and refined sugar. Here are the ingredients to have on hand:

  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar
  • Two and 1/2 tablespoons of cane sugar
  • One tablespoon of coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • Two tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour, plus 1/2 tablespoon
  • Two tablespoons of unsweetened chocolate chips (melted)
  • Two squares of vegan dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • Pinch of sea salt

Preparing the Cups

Like the traditional beginner recipe shared above, prepare four ramekins with non-stick baking spray.

Then, dust each cup with a little cocoa powder (separate from the two tablespoons you’ll need later). Place the cups on a sturdy baking sheet.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mixing Method

First, mix the almond milk and vinegar together to activate.

Then, combine milk and vinegar mixture with the applesauce, sugar, melted coconut oil, and vanilla. Stir together until smooth.

To this mixture, add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and sea salt.

Then, gently fold in the melted unsweetened chocolate.


Pour the mixture into the prepared ramekins. Stick the broken vegan chocolate pieces into the batter.

Bake for 20 minutes. Let them cool for five minutes, then invert onto a plate or into a bowl. Drizzle with vegan-friendly chocolate syrup for an extra-sweet touch.

Fruit Filling Variation

While chocolate lava cakes taste great with fresh fruit on top, you can also bake the fruit into the batter for a surprise your guests will love. Here’s a simple recipe to follow if you want to go this route.


Gather all of your supplies before beginning. This recipe uses fresh raspberries and raspberry preserves. You can also get the same taste by using this super-easy raspberry cake filling recipe!

You can also substitute strawberries!

  • One stick of unsalted butter, plus two tablespoons melted butter
  • One tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour, plus one tablespoon
  • Six ounces of dark chocolate, chopped
  • 15 fresh raspberries
  • Four teaspoons raspberry preserves (seedless if preferred)
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • Three large eggs, brought to room temperature
  • Powdered sugar (to sprinkle)
  • Pinch of sea salt

Preparing the Cups

Again, you’ll use four ramekins or custard cups here. Brush each with melted butter

Then, mix the unsweetened cocoa powder with the one tablespoon of flour. Dust the mixture over each cup and tap out any excess. Place each cup on a baking sheet.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mixing Method

Put the stick of butter and dark chocolate in a medium saucepan to melt. Keep the heat low and stir frequently to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn on the bottom.

Once melted, set aside to cool slightly.

Then, mash the fresh raspberries and the preserves together in a small bowl, or bring out the prepared raspberry filling.

Separately, use an electric mixer to beat the eggs, salt, and granulated sugar together. Beat at a high speed for about three minutes until the mixture thickens and turns yellow.

Then, use a spatula to fold in the butter/chocolate mixture. Fold in 1/4 cup of flour.


Pour 2/3 of the chocolate batter into each ramekin. Then, divide the raspberry filling between the cups as the middle layer. Finally, top each cup with the remaining batter.

Bake for 16 minutes, then transfer the ramekins to a rack to cool for around five minutes. Invert onto a plate or into a bowl. Sprinkle each cake with the powdered sugar while still warm.

Toppings to Fall For

Want to make an impression at your next dinner party? Want to know how to make lava cake that your neighbors will be talking about for weeks? Get creative with your toppings!

While fruit, chocolate syrup, and ice cream are no-fail toppers for your confection, you can also think outside the box!

Try lightly toasting a few jumbo marshmallows in the oven. Then, place one on top of each lava cake, along with a honey graham cracker. Voila! You’ve just made the most decadent s’mores ever.

Fresh mint leaves, buttercream frosting, miniature macaroons, and sprinkles are other fun ways to add some color and flavor to your cake.

Bake Your Way Around the Kitchen

Getting comfortable in the kitchen takes time. It also takes plenty of practice, trial and error and taste tests along the way.

If you’re looking to hone your baking skills and learn a few go-to recipes to keep up your sleeve, you’ve come to the right place.

From this lava cake tutorial to kid-friendly pastries, muffins and more, we’ll tell you precisely how to make crave-worthy desserts. We also share tips on how to find the best equipment to keep in your cabinets.

Now that you’ve gotten your feet wet, go ahead and flex your baking muscles! Why not whip up this mango mousse cake next?

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