Molten Chocolate Cakes

Oooo, Molten Chocolate Cakes! Also known as Chocolate Lava Cakes, these warm, chocolatey cakes with an oozy-gooey center will never go out of style.

Molten Chocolate Cakes, which have been popular since the 1980s, are a cross between a soufflé and a sponge cake.

The key to the liquid center is to just bake it long enough to set the outsides of the cake, but not so long that it bakes all the way through.

This really is a dessert that should be served warm from the oven, probably with a scoop of ice cream.

That being said, it is possible to work ahead to make molten cakes. See the FAQ section at the end of the post for how to work ahead.

Scroll through the process photos to see how to make Molten Chocolate Cakes:

a bowl with cubes of butter and chocolate and a bowl of melted chocolate with liquor being added
Melt the butter and chocolate then stir in the Grand Marnier and vanilla.
eggs and sugar in a bowl and a bowl of whipped eggs and sugar.
Whip the eggs with the sugar until it forms a “ribbon” when drizzled over the surface
a bowl of whipped eggs with flour sifted. Whisking eggs into chocolate and whisking cake batter
Sift the flour and cocoa into the eggs. Whisk the eggs into the chocolate.
molted chocolate cakes before and after baking
Bake just until the sides of the cakes are set and the center is still soft.
a ramekin with baked cake and a knife going around the sides
Run a knife around the sides of the cake then flip onto the serving plate. Serve immediately

FAQs about Molten Chocolate Cakes (Lava Cakes):

Can I make lava cakes ahead of time?

Yes, you can mix the batter and fill the ramekins. Then you can refrigerate the cakes for several hours before baking. You may need to add a few minutes to the baking time if the batter is cold.

To work further ahead, you can freeze the unbaked cakes. Defrost while the oven preheats then bake. Again, you may need to add a few minutes to the baking time if the batter is cold

Can lava cakes be baked in advance?

They really are best fresh from the oven. Technically, the cakes can be baked ahead of time but they should be warmed up again before serving. For this reason it makes more sense to hold the unbaked cakes and then bake just before serving.

Do molten cakes have to be served warm?

Well, they don’t have to be served warm, but they sure taste better that way.

Can molten cakes be reheated?

Molten cakes are definitely best right from the oven, but leftovers can be reheated just long enough to warm them up but not so long that you end up baking the cakes all the way through. How long to reheat will depend on how cold the cakes were when they went into the oven.

Can molten cakes be frozen?

Yes, the unbaked cakes can be frozen and then baked as described above.

Baked cakes can be frozen, then defrosted and reheated at a later date. They won’t be quite as nice as freshly-baked, but they’ll still taste great.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

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5 from 3 reviews

Molten Chocolate Cakes

Molten Chocolate Cakes! Also known as Chocolate Lava Cakes, these warm, chocolatey cakes with an oozy-gooey center will never go out of style.
Prep Time15 minutes
Bake Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
4 individual cakes
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  • 6 oz semi sweet chocolate
  • 4 oz unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier liquor
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 oz granulated sugar (1/3 cup)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 oz all purpose flour (3 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Generously butter 4 (6-oz.) ramekins. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet.
  • Microwave the chocolate and butter in large microwavable bowl on high in 30 second increments until butter is melted, stirring in between.
    6 oz semi sweet chocolate, 4 oz unsalted butter
  • Stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Stir in the Grand Marnier and vanilla. Set the chocolate mixture aside.
    1 tablespoon Grand Marnier liquor, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Whisk the eggs and yolks with the granulated sugar until the eggs are tripled in volume and leave a ribbon when drizzled over the surface. Sift the flour, cinnamon and pepper over the eggs and use a wire whisk to fold them in. Fold 1/2 of the egg mixture into the chocolate then fold in the remaining eggs. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared ramekins. *See Note
    3 oz granulated sugar, 2 large eggs, 2 egg yolks, 1 oz all purpose flour, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Bake 10-12 minutes until sides are firm but centers are still soft. Remove from the oven and let stand 1 minute. Carefully loosen edges with small knife. Invert cakes onto serving plates. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Serve immediately.

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*At this point the ramekins can be refrigerated for several hours or frozen for a few days. Allow the refrigerated or frozen cakes to come to room temperature while the oven preheats. You may need to add a few minutes to the baking time.


Serving: 1cake | Calories: 630kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 243mg | Sodium: 43mg | Potassium: 300mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 979IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 4mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!


    1. No. The liquor is there for flavor. You could use a different liquor or just leave it out if you don’t want alcohol. A spoonful of strong black coffee would be another nice flavor enhancer.

  1. Eileen your recipes rock!!! My daughter made 10 of these for my birthday and topped them with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream. They were DEEEEEELICIOUS!!! A unanimous decision was reached that they were the best Molten Lava Cakes anyone, at our table, had ever had! Thank you so much for all you do for the baking community.

    1. Yes, I think you could use a muffin tin. If it’s a standard muffin size the cakes will be smaller and baker faster so keep an eye on them.

    1. Hi Ceeny, because the chocolate contributes fat, sugar and structure to the cake, it would take some testing to adapt it to a non-chocolate flavor. Sorry, I couldn’t say off the top of my head how to change the flavor.

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