Our easy Chocolate Lava Cake recipe is also, thankfully, one of the most decadent! While some chocolate lava cake recipes require separating and whipping eggs, this recipe uses only whole eggs and takes just minutes to make. Keep reading to learn all of the secrets to making a perfect chocolate cake with a molten core. Or, skip to the recipe card at the bottom of this page. Or, watch our video recipe!
Love everything with chocolate? Try our Italian Hot Chocolate recipe!
Watch the Video Recipe!
Learn how to make our Chocolate Lava Cake in this video recipe, filmed in Italy:
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Easy Chocolate Lava Cake Recipe: Ingredients
A traditional Chocolate Lava Cake has just a few ingredients:
- dark chocolate (we recommend 70%): 5 oz (150 g)
- butter: 9 tbsp (125 g)
- granulated sugar: 1/3 cup (75 g)
- flour: 7 tbsp (50 g); cake or all-purpose
- eggs: 3 whole
Optionally, you can turn one or more of these Chocolate Lava Cakes into a self-saucing chocolate cake! To do that, fill the muffin mould halfway with chocolate cake batter. Then add about a tablespoon of your favorite nut butter or thick jam to the center of that batter. Fill the rest of the mould with the cake batter, including around the filling you’ve just added. Italian flavors we love to add include:
- pistachio butter
- sour cherry jam
- hazelnut butter (like Nutella, but there are other brands we prefer)
- peanut butter
Jam? Use with Caution!
Unlike nut butters, some jams can contain too much liquid to add to this recipe. Those jams will run and then leak out of the cake instead of staying in the center.
If you want to use jam, you can thicken the jam with a bit of butter. Or, combine a bit of jam with a bit of the cake batter and simply add that to the center of the cake. This way, the Chocolate Lava Cake will still have a molten chocolate center, but that chocolate will have a punch of whatever extra flavor you’ve added. Cherry and chocolate…strawberry and chocolate… orange and chocolate— all of these make excellent combinations!
Which Chocolate to Choose?
We love dark chocolate! We recommend choosing a dark chocolate that is at least 70% but no more than 80% cocoa. Check the package because even 50% chocolate can be labelled ‘dark chocolate’ in some countries.
Avoid 100% Cacao Products
A chocolate mass / bar that says it is 100% cacao isn’t a good choice here. Dark chocolate bars (even 70-80%) contain some sugar and emulsifiers that help the chocolate melt perfectly. The 100% cacao mass products are missing that.
Chocolate Brands We Love!
We are picky about our chocolate! Italy produces some of the best chocolate products in the world. In Italy, we often use a brand of Perugina Chocolate called ‘GranBlocco 70%’ however we’ve noticed that can be difficult to find abroad. Here are some alternatives (affiliate links):
- Perugina 70% Dark Chocolate: https://amzn.to/3F8vo77
- Guittard 70% Baking Chocolate : https://amzn.to/3q67eWq
If you can find it, the best chocolate in the world include products with Nacional or criollo cacao. Just be sure the products you purchase for this recipe are 70%-80% dark chocolate bars, for the reasons already explained.
How to Make Chocolate Lava Cake
Make a Double Boiler – It’s Easy!
We recommend using a double boiler method to prepare the batter for this Chocolate Lava Cake recipe (called a bagnomaria in Italian). Double boilers can be removed from the heat once the water is hot, or left on the heat gently simmering. However, for this recipe we want to remove the double boiler from the heat.
Why use a double boiler? Instead of melting and combining our ingredients over direct heat (which risks overcooking or burning them), a double boiler gives us a gentle indirect heat for preparing our ingredients. This is perfect for melting butter and chocolate and incorporating eggs which we don’t want to overheat.
To make a double boiler at home, simple bring a large pot of water to a vigorous simmer. Then, remove it from the heat and immediately cover it with a mixing bowl. Here’s a look at the double boiler we made with the bottom of our Le Creuset Tri-Ply Pasta Multi-Pot (affiliate link) and our large De Buyer Stainless Steel mixing bowl (affiliate link).
Melt the Butter and Chocolate
Over a double boiler, melt the butter with the dark chocolate.
Tips: Use Shaved, Chips or Chunks of Chocolate!
In the video, we simply start with large squares of dark chocolate. This is because we wanted to show the simplest method. Some people find shaving chocolate to be too much work. However, to get the chocolate to melt more quickly, you can shave the chocolate first. This just means using a large knife to break the chocolate into horizontal chunks.
Or, use chocolate chips or chunks. However, be sure to check the package for the % of cacao used in the chips or chunks. Many chocolate chip products are just 50% cacao.
Add the Sugar and Flour
Once the butter and chocolate are melted, mix in the sugar. At this point, the sugar won’t dissolve but it will once we’ve incorporated the eggs.
After the sugar is in, stir in the flour.
Add the Beaten Eggs
The final ingredient for this easy chocolate lava cake recipe is beaten eggs. Whisk in the eggs quickly, but do not leave them on the double boiler for more than 30 seconds. If you have any doubts, remove the mixing bowl from the water bath entirely before mixing in the eggs (off the heat). We don’t want the eggs to overcook.
Fill the Moulds with Batter
To make traditional Chocolate Lava Cakes, simply fill muffin moulds to the top with the chocolate batter. By baking them at the right temperature for the right amount of time, we’ll get that lovely molten filling!
If you want to get creative, you can add one of the other fillings we’ve recommended above to the center of your little cakes.
Silicone Moulds are Ideal!
We absolutely love, love, LOVE silicone moulds for making chocolate lava cakes and muffins. We highly recommend the De Buyer Silicone Muffin Moulds (affiliate link) that we used in the video recipe. It’s made from a new generation of extra flexible silicone. It was completely non-stick and the chocolate lava cakes were so easy to pop out.
If you use silicone moulds, we recommend transferring them to the oven on the oven grate itself since the moulds are really flexible.
Moulds Not Non-Stick? Butter and Sugar the Inside!
If you are using a non-stick muffin pan that is not silicone or you are using ceramic ramekins, you’ll want to butter and then add granulated sugar to the sides of the moulds.
Bake the Chocolate Lava Cakes
The key to achieving a perfect chocolate lava cake bake is to bake them at medium-high heat for a short period of time. This will result in the outside being cooked (like a normal cake), while the inside remains molten and soft.
Bake the chocolate lava cakes in a pre-heated 410° F (210° C) FAN oven for 8 minutes.
Or, bake at the same temperature in a STATIC oven for about 9 minutes.
This is just a guide, based on our oven. Ovens differ in terms of how efficient they are, how the fan setting performs and how accurate the displayed temperature is.
Let the lava cakes rest for a minute before trying to remove them from the moulds!! When just out of the oven, they can be a bit fragile.
Serve warm and … Buon appetito!
Easy Chocolate Lava Cake Recipe
- 1 pot for making a homemade double boiler
- 1 mixing bowl for making a homemade double boiler
- 1 whisk
- 1 silicone muffin mould for 4 other options: ramekins, non-stick muffin pan
- 5 oz dark chocolate (70% is best)
- 9 tbsp butter
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 7 tbsp flour all purpose or cake
- 3 whole eggs
- Over a double boiler: Melt the butter with the dark chocolate.9 tbsp butter, 5 oz dark chocolate (70% is best)
- Once the butter and chocolate are melted, mix in the sugar.⅓ cup granulated sugar
- After the sugar is mixed in, stir in the flour.7 tbsp flour
- Beat the eggs. Whisk the eggs quickly into the rest of the cake batter.NOTE: Remove the mixing bowl from the double boiler before whisking in the eggs. Alternatively, remove the bowl after 30 seconds on the double boiler and continue mixing until the batter is smooth and shiny. We don't want to overcook the eggs!3 whole eggs
- Fill the moulds to the top with the chocolate batter. If adding an optional filling, see the article for details on that.
- Bake the chocolate lava cakes in a pre-heated 410° F (210° C) FAN oven for 8 minutes. Oven temperature can vary depending on the oven. Let the cakes rest in the mould for a minute before trying to remove them.
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