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What are Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes
A molten chocolate lava cake consists of soft chocolate cake with a warm, gooey interior that is similar to hot fudge. The center of the molten lava cake stays gooey by under baking it.
The basic ingredients for this dessert include eggs, chocolate, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, salt, and butter. Pretty simple, but super delicious!
How to Make Perfect Molten Lava Cakes Every Time
- The first step to success is coating the ramekins with butter and cocoa powder. We use cocoa powder instead of flour so that there isn’t any white residue left on the cakes when they come out of the ramekins.
- When you begin making the batter, beat the eggs on medium high speed for 5-8 minutes. At this point, the eggs should be light in color, and you should be able to drizzle a figure eight and see it for a few seconds.
- Sift all of the dry ingredients and fold them in carefully.
- Then fold the chocolate in carefully so you don’t knock the air out of the batter.
- Don’t over bake the molten lava cakes either! If the cakes bake even 2 minutes too long, they will be far less gooey and fudge-like in the center.
- When the cakes come out of the oven, turn them over to serve within 5 minutes. If the cakes sit for too long after coming out of the oven, they will continue to cook and solidify in the middle. So be sure to serve them within 10 minutes after baking.
Troubleshooting Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes
When making molten chocolate lava cakes, you might come across a few issues. Have no worries though! This sections should help answer any and all questions you might have. And if I miss one, let me know!
Problem: The lava cake center isn’t fudgy and oozy.
This problem occurs when the lava cakes bake too long. The solution is to bake them for 13 minutes, or until the tops have formed a cake like surface but are still jiggly toward the center. Even 2 minutes extra can drastically change the results because these cakes are small.
Problem: Molten lava cakes won’t come out of ramekins.
Don’t you just hate that? After making these beautiful cakes that are ready to be served, they won’t come out of the ramekins! The cakes stick if the ramekins aren’t buttered and coated in cocoa powder well enough.
The trick is to make sure that there is a good coating of butter, and then the cocoa powder will easily stick. When the cakes bake, they won’t cling to the sides of the ramekins with that “nonstick” coating.
The other solution is to run a thin pairing knife around the cakes right against the ramekins, and this will loosen the sides if they aren’t pulling away.
Problem: The eggs won’t make ribbons when drizzled.
Eggs whip up best when they are room temperature, so it may just be a matter of whipping them longer if they are cold. I have whipped eggs for as long as 10 minutes because sometimes they need a few extra minutes.
So if after 5 minutes they aren’t ready, keep going.
Another reason that the eggs won’t make ribbons after 5 minutes has to do with the type of mixer you are using. If you are using a hand mixer, it will take closer to 10 minutes to mix because a hand mixer doesn’t have the same power as a 10 speed stand mixer.
Test the eggs after 5 minutes, and then every couple of minutes after that.
Essential Baking Tools for This Recipe
- 4 – 4 ounce ramekins
- Small offset spatula
- A sifter for the dry ingredients
- A hand mixer or stand mixer
- Dutch process cocoa powder
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Molten Lava Cakes
- 3 eggs
- 2 yolks
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably this kind)
- 1/2 Tbs Dutch processed cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 6 Tbs all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 5 Tbs butter
- Vanilla Ice Cream, Whipped Cream, Chocolate Sauce, or Creme Anglaise for topping
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 1 egg yolk
For the Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 4 four ounce ramekins with butter and cocoa powder. Place the ramekins on a sheet pan and set aside.
- Whip eggs and yolks with a hand or stand mixer for 5-10 minutes, or until the eggs are light and thick. You should also be able to lift the whisk and draw a figure 8 in the eggs and it will stay for a couple of seconds.
- Next, sift dry ingredients directly into the eggs and fold in gently.
- Melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler, then fold them into the batter until completely combined.
- Pour batter into the ramekins and bake for 12-14 minutes. The cakes are done when they are set around the edges but still jiggle when you lightly shake one of the ramekins.
- Turn cakes out onto plates and top with ice cream, whipping cream, berries, and/or creme anglaise. If cakes won’t release, run a pairing knife around the cakes to loosen them from the ramekins, then turn them out onto serving plates. Serve the molten cakes within 10 minutes after they come out of the oven so that they stay warm and gooey!
For the Creme Anglaise
Pour the heavy cream, milk, and half of the sugar into a small pot. Cut a vanilla bean in half, and then slice the half open so that you can see inside the bean. Scrape the seeds out and put them in the pot along with the vanilla bean.
Stir the ingredients together and place the pot on medium heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer or just until you begin to see the mixture bubble around the edges of the pot.
Remove from heat and let the vanilla bean steep in the mixture for 10 minutes. In other words, let the vanilla bean sit in the pot for 10 minutes so the flavor can develop.
While the vanilla bean is steeping, mix the egg yolk and remaining sugar in a bowl.
Temper the egg yolk mixture with the hot cream mixture. In order to do this, slowly pour the heavy cream mixture into the eggs while whisking vigorously. By slowly mixing the heavy cream in, the eggs will adapt to the hot temperature and will not turn into scrambled eggs.
Return the mixture to the pot over medium heat, and whisk continuously until the mixture thickens.
Dip a spoon or spatula in the cream sauce once it has thickened a little, and draw a line through the cream with your finger. If the mixture tries to run back together, then it needs to cook longer. If the creme anglaise does not run into the little valley created by your finger, then it is ready!
Place the pot in an ice bath to cool it down quickly, and then serve with the lava cakes.
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