Molten Chocolate Cakes

Rich molten chocolate lava cakes make a simple & elegant dessert for Valentine's Day or any special occasion. Take under 30 minutes. Dairy-free option.

Jack first made molten cakes for us for Valentine’s Day a few years ago, and these luscious little cakes have been a tradition of ours ever since.

It’s the one night a year that Jack cooks, and he doesn’t play it safe. He might not know the difference between a scallion and a scallop, or that 3 cloves of garlic are not 3 bulbs of garlic… every single pot and pan we own will be scattered around every bit of counter space we have… but over the years he’s learned to make a mean molten cake.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Molten Chocolate Cakes

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 12 cakes
  • 2 sticks + 6 tablespoons butter or vegan butter
  • 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose or spelt flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a double boiler or in a glass bowl set on top of a pot of boiling water.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the yolks and eggs and then stir in the powdered sugar. Stir the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture and then stir in the flour.
  4. Grease a muffin pan (don’t ever use paper liners) and fill muffin cups almost to the top.
  5. Bake for 5-8 minutes. Watch closely: the whole cake will puff up and they’re done a few seconds after you see the very center puff up. Remove from the oven. Place a baking sheet on top of your muffin pan and flip, holding both pans together. Gently lift up the muffin pan and shake it a little so the cakes release before the “lava” center breaks through the top (now bottom) of the cake. If that happens, it’s still ok, just try to shove the chocolate goo back up in the cake and place gracefully on a plate.
  6. Scoop ice cream on top and serve.
The batter keeps in the fridge for a couple of days. Increase the baking time a few minutes to account for the batter being more chilled. This works better than baking off extra and storing already-baked cakes.

Recipe adapted from the Food Network.




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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Rachel Cantin

    Sooooo good! It made enough for 18 perfect portions on my side

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      So glad you loved it!

  2. Vidya

    Why have you mentioned not to use paper liners ‘ever’? I was thinking of using that for lava cakes for my guests

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Vidya, we flip the pan upside down and they need to be able to pop out of the pan pretty easily (and then they’re served upside down). You could use paper liners if you want to, but they might be more like messy cupcakes than a lava cake.

  3. Lindsey

    If I don’t have bittersweet chocolate, could I use semi-sweet instead?

    • jeanine

      they’ll be extra sweet – you might want to reduce the sugar a bit but I’m not exactly sure what the ratio would be without trying it myself.

  4. Daniella

    I had no idea these were so easy! Must try these.

  5. kelsey from

    Beautiful! I can so relate to this story. I even struggle to keep my mouth shut when I see shaun using the knife too aggressively. All out of love, no? : )

  6. NicoleD from

    With that generous scoop of ice cream and bright red berries, that dessert looks fantastic! My husband rarely ventures into the kitchen, but when he does, it’s a long affair with crashing pans and salty language 🙂

  7. these look divine. I really enjoy your photos 🙂 clean, crisp, beautiful styling.

    • jeanine

      Thanks Nicole, this made my day because I really admire your work…

  8. Molten chocolate lava cake is one of my favorite desserts, and how sweet of him to get in the kitchen and bake for you. I understand how you feel though, as my husband banishes me from the kitchen when he cooks, and I try my best not to say “I told you so” when things go awry. Happy Valentine’s Day!

    • jeanine

      yes, he’s a keeper 🙂

  9. Bec Brown from

    Ohhh YES PLEASE! This looks soooo damn delish, nice work!! x

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.