I’m a self-described chocoholic. For me, it hardly matters what form: I’ll snack on a small square of the good European stuff, a Snickers bar, or even a quick spoonful of Nutella—as long as there’s cacao involved.
So when I see chocolate lava cake on the menu, I don’t hesitate. I love it with a dollop of whipped cream, a little mint, and a scoop of gelato. But the showstopper of this dessert is tucked away inside, hidden from view: The second you slice into it, a river of oozing chocolate gushes out. Once I realized how easy these squat, personal-sized cakes are to make at home, I began making them all the time.
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Some Chocolate Lava Cake Tips
Follow a few simple steps, and this treat can be yours, as it only requires five pantry staples and comes together in 30 minutes. All you need is some good quality chocolate, butter, eggs, flour, and sugar.
Once all your ingredients are ready to go, make sure to butter the ramekins. Flipping out the little cake takes some finesse, and if it’s stuck to the ramekin and doesn’t release, you’ll miss out on the crowd-pleasing lava flow and end up instead with a messy pudding cake.
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The only tricky thing about this recipe is making sure the chocolate and eggs don’t seize up. After melting the chocolate with the butter, allow plenty of time for the mixture to cool. You’ll be adding eggs in afterward, and cracking eggs into a scorching mixture will result in a chocolate scramble.
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But the best part about these cakes are that they can be made ahead of time. Just stir the batter, pour it into individual ramekins, and pop them in the fridge until you’re ready. A half hour before baking, bring them to room temperature before sticking them in the oven.
Once the cakes are out, don’t let them cool too much—you’ll miss out on all the action inside. After spooning into this chocolate mess, you may never order it in a restaurant again.
Chocolate Lava Cake Recipe
The hotter the cakes are when you dive in, the more the lava will flow. Pair the cakes with whipped cream, a dusting of powdered sugar, and a mound of raspberries.
Chocolate Lava Cake
- 1 stick unsalted butter + 1 teaspoon for each mold
- 5 ounces chopped chocolate (I do 50/50 milk chocolate to bittersweet)
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- ¼ cup sugar
- 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour + 1 teaspoon for each mold
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- In a double boiler, combine the butter and chocolate and allow them both to melt. Remove from the stove and mix to combine.
- While the chocolate/butter mixture is cooling, generously butter and flour the ramekins. You can also use baking spray with flour to ensure full coverage. Place ramekins on a baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, combine eggs and sugar. With a hand mixer, blend until eggs have turned light and ribbons form when you move the mixer back and forth, at least 5 minutes. Do not under mix.
- Add flour to the chocolate/butter mixture and begin whisking. In a steady, slow stream, add the eggs and chocolate together, a little at first to cool down the chocolate to the point that the eggs do not scramble.
- Once combined, pour equal amounts into the 4 ramekins. Make sure to leave a little room as they will puff a bit. Do not overfill.
- Bake for 7 to 8 minutes. They should seem a bit raw in the middle when you remove them from the oven. Let sit at least 2 minutes before you place a dish on top and flip. I like to run a hot butter knife along the edge, so the cakes easily flip out of the ramekin.
- Serve immediately.
Header image courtesy Burak Karademir/Moment/Getty Images