Quick And Easy Lava Cakes

Quick & Easy Lava Cakes - An Oregon Cottage

Lava cakes are one of the most fabulous desserts I know of: oozing dark chocolate, crispy brownie outside, and melt-in-your-mouth goodness all wrapped up in an elegant presentation. Would you believe it if I told you that they take about 10 minutes to make and only 14 minutes to cook? Goodness – that something so good should be so easy is like a little chocolate miracle!

There are fussy recipes out there which have you shape balls out of ganache for the centers, or fill a pan with water to cook the ramekins in, but you can probably guess that my recipe is not like that. I’m all about simplicity, and I regularly look for the easiest route to an end product- as long as it doesn’t affect that end product.

And I can tell you- with conviction – that this simple recipe does not affect the end product at all…no sireee.

Quick & Easy Lava Cake ramekins

The recipe makes four half-cup sized ramekins. I used to make larger cakes, but they are really rich, so I cut the recipe down to fit into half-cup sizes. One of my “secrets” to making it easy to unmold the cakes after cooking (which isn’t really a secret- just good practice) is to generously brush the insides of the ramekins with butter – making sure to get all the crevices. Then I dust the cups with cocoa powder (not flour) so that there are no white particles when the cakes are released after cooking.

And more chocolate is always a good thing in my book.

Quick lava cakes - An Oregon Cottage

After prepping the ramekins, continue with the recipe, mixing the batter and dividing it between the cups. Bake until the top looks set – just make sure to bake the cakes right before you want to eat them, as they are gooiest when warm.

Tip: I often make the batter about an hour in advance (there’s no baking powder so they can sit even overnight in the fridge) and leave them on the counter while I prepare the meal. As we are sitting down to eat dinner, I’ll pop the cakes into the oven to cook while we’re eating so that they are perfectly molten when we’re ready for dessert.

Quick & Easy Lava Cake - An Oregon Cottage

Unmold the cakes by inverting the ramekins onto individual dessert plates with in about 5 minutes of removing from the oven. Lift off the ramekin carefully using a hot pad – but as long as I butter and dust the insides of the cups, I’ve never had a problem with the cakes sticking. They really are easy all the way around!

Easy Lava Cake with cocoa - An Oregon Cottage

I like to dust with more cocoa powder – you could use powdered sugar or drizzle with homemade chocolate syrup as well. Sometimes we even add a scoop of ice cream- but really not very often, as these are so rich.

Quick and Easy Lava Cakes - An Oregon Cottage

They’re so unassuming when served, but as soon as the fork hits them, the oohs and aahs start. Then when the first bite is taken…

Well, let’s just say you better be ready with the recipe!

Quick And Easy Lava Cakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A fabulous melt-in-your-mouth dessert of oozing dark chocolate inside with a crispy brownie outside.
Yield: 4½-cup cakes
  • ½ c. (3-1/2 oz.) chopped chocolate or chocolate chips (bittersweet or semisweet)
  • ⅓ c. butter (plus more for greasing)
  • ½ c. sugar
  • 3 Tb. flour (whole wheat pastry works good)
  • 2 eggs
  • cocoa powder for dusting
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees (if you are cooking right away). Generously grease the inside of four ½-cup ramekins with softened butter and dust with cocoa powder, tapping out any excess.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter together how you like, using a double boiler, or in the microwave. I prefer the microwave - I use a 4-cup glass measure and heat for 45 seconds, and then whisk until smooth. If using a double boiler, transfer the chocolate mixture to a medium sized bowl.
  3. Stir in the sugar and flour. Then add the eggs and whisk until everything is incorporated.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the cups (they will be about ¾ full) and set the cups on a small cookie sheet to make it easy to go in and out of the oven. **
  5. Bake for 15 minutes until tops are firm and edges are set. Invert immediately (or at least within five minutes) onto individual serving plates. Dust with additional cocoa powder, if desired.
**At this point, the cakes can be set aside at room temperature for an hour or so. Then simply bake them while you're eating so that they will be ready (and gooiest!) when you want to serve dessert. They can even be make the day before and kept, covered with plastic, in the refrigerator. When you're ready to serve them, let them sit on the counter at room temperature while the oven heats and then bake as directed.



  1. says

    I’ve been eyeing recipes for a while now but always deciding on something else since they looked so complicated. I’m going to try this one as soon as summer gives us a break down here in Buenos Aires.
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. says

    Hi Jami,

    I made these lava cakes for my husband’s birthday and they were delicious! Supremely easy to make too! Thanks for sharing this recipe–we have a new favorite chocolate cake recipe now. :)

    Take care,
    Carolina Country Living

  3. Lisa says

    Just made these. Amazing. I would have never even thought to try to make a lava cake until I stumbled upon this recipe. It will get much use at our house! Thanks!

    • Jami says

      Glad you liked these, Lisa. Hard to believe something could be so easy and yet so hard-looking (and SO good!), isn’t it? They are a regular at our house for a special treat, too!

  4. Jess says

    This cake is so good and the best part is how quick and easy it is! However, I do not always produce consistent result when I turn the cake out, there would be some that would already start oozing…. :-( Though not that pretty, they still taste delish but how do I prevent that? (I did grease/brush the ramekins with melted butter and dust ALOT of cocoa powder) The technique I use is put a plate over the super hot ramekin and then invert quickly. Appreciate any tip to make this cake perfect each time. Many thanks!

    • Jami says

      Hmmm, Jess, I don’t often have that happen. Sometimes a bit of the cake will stick, but it’s usually from the bottom (top when inverted), so the middle doesn’t ooze. You can try running a knife around the edges before inverting the cakes, and maybe even cooking them a minute more if there’s too much pudding center and not enough cake yet to hold it all in. Just throwing out ideas here – hope they help!

  5. Kristina says

    These turned out beautifully. The only change I made was to butter and then dust with sugar instead of cocoa powder – it gives them a nice crunchy exterior. Thank you :)

  6. says

    Um, we just finished our Valentine’s Day dinner at home with these. Holy Lord, they were amazing!!!!! Definitely going into the make again soon file!!!!

  7. John Hayden says

    Perhaps I’m missing a step? When do I put the melted chocolate mixture in? Do I put the cake batter in then the melted chocolate then more batter? And do I fashion a small cup in the batter to hold the melted chocolate? Thanks for any help. Look forward to trying these!

    • says

      Sorry John, I’m just seeing this now! You’re making it too difficult. :) Once the chocolate is melted, simply stir in the remaining ingredients and divide the batter between the ramekins. It ‘magically’ makes the lava-y inside (as long as you don’t overcook them), no extra steps needed!

  8. B says

    Looking forward to trying these! My ramekins are the larger 10 oz. size so I am planning on doubling the recipe to make 4 bigger servings. How long do you think I should cook them if they are twice as large?

    • says

      I haven’t made them bigger, only smaller, so I don’t know exact times. I would think an extra 5 minutes? There might be some trial and error, unfortunately (it happened to me with the smaller size) – however, it still results in a yummy cake, the center is just solid if it cooks too long. Wishing you luck with this! :)

  9. Sam says

    I just made these for Valentine’s day. We had a little but of a mishap (first one out of the oven turned into a puddle, so we put them in a few extra minutes and one of them ended up overcooked), but they were still amazing! I’m definitely making these again next time I have guests over.

  10. Melanie says

    Thanks for the recipe…I am heading into the kitchen to do some late night cooking. Best way to pass the time when you can’t sleep πŸ˜›

  11. Jess says

    Can this cake be frozen after making? They are so good I want to have them handy for whenever anyone pops by for a cuppa.

  12. says

    This was amazing..thank you! My husband has been recovering from surgery and hasn’t eaten much in days. When he declared he wanted lava cake at 10:45 pm last night, I wasn’t too thrilled about it…but wanted to bring some cheer to his bedridden days. Most lava cake recipes take soooo long to prepare, so this recipe was absolutely perfect and delicious.

    • says

      Glad you liked it, Alice! I feel the same way about it, too – it’s definitely a recipe that makes people feel special yet is so easy to do. Those are my favorite recipes. πŸ˜‰

  13. Cameron says

    I just have to say that this recipe is OUT OF THIS WORLD! thank you for this.:) I made this last night for my friends and they couldn’t believe how great it was. definitely giving an A++

    • says

      Sure, Maha, the cupcake tins are a bit smaller, though, so I’d just be careful how full I’d fill them. And of course getting them out when they’re warm will be a bit of a challenge, but if that’s your only option, I’d go for it. :)

  14. Stephanie says

    Just wanted to say thank you! I made these yesterday in 4 oz canning jars (leaving 1/2 inch headspace) and they turned out perfectly at 16 minutes (could be my oven). They did puff up out of the jars but didn’t make a mess and settled back down nicely inside after cooling. They are delicious and exactly what I’ve been looking for. My husband got hooked on Arby’s lava cakes but I wanted a better alternative. He told me he couldn’t eat the ones from there any more now that he’d had these. They are soooo much better. Thank you!!

    • says

      What a fabulous idea, Stephanie, to use the canning jars! Great alternative to ramekins. And you’re welcome – we think they’re the best, too. πŸ˜‰

  15. amna says

    my sister is 12 year ol and she made it correctly for me it was soo yummy. By the way is it necessary to use the semisweet choclatechips? we use sweetened.

  16. Lila says

    I don’t have 4 oz ramekins- I have 7 oz. Is that okay? How long do you think I should bake these then? I tried a different recipe and failed…my lava cake wasn’t coming out of the cup even though I sprayed it well, so I hope this one works well it looks delicious :)

    • says

      Hmm, Lila, that’s a big size difference and will make the baking time a lot different. I would divide between them and then check at the 10 minute mark. They’ll still be good if they’re overcooked, they just won’t have the ‘lava’ centers. You might have to do a couple run-throughs to get a time that works with your bigger ramekins.

      • Lila says

        Thanks for the quick reply. So you think it would be baked for less time like under 10 minutees? I plan to fill up 3/4 of the 7 oz ramekin. I’m new to baking here :)

        • says

          I don’t know exactly, Lila – are you doubling the amount of batter? If you’re using the recipe for 4-oz ramekins and putting it in 7-oz then they will be thinner and won’t need as much cooking time. When you’re adapting recipes, there will always be trial and error – it’s part of learning to bake. πŸ˜‰

  17. Lila says

    I plan to put a little less than double the batter for each cake but almost double considering mines a 7 oz. I couldn’t find any recipes for my ramekin size, but I was hoping I could use this and change the baking time. I don’t want to overbake it though because it might not ooze out.


  1. […] Tell me this doesn’t make your mouth just water? Yes, it’s that amazing and delicious and the perfect cure for another BLUSTERY day at the shore. Nor’Easters got nothin’ on this Chocolate Lava Cake! Oh yeah, and did I mention it’s gluten free? There are a few things I could’ve done to tweak it into being almost sinfully healthy, but I sadly, I’m out of coconut sugar, so I used white sugar and I would rather have used a coconut flour which would’ve made this a paleo recipe instead of the all purpose gluten free flour. However, here’s the recipe and it’s sooooo easy, you’d better run out, grab the ingreds and make it, like today! Here’s the original recipe: http://anoregoncottage.com/quick-and-easy-lava-cakes/ […]

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