A soft, delicious chocolate exterior, and a mouthwatering, decadent, gooey liquid center – these Chocolate Molten Cakes are impressive and couldn’t be easier to make! You can prep these cakes in 15 minutes, using just one bowl, and these can be made ahead of time too.
This chocolate molten lava lake recipe can also be adapted to be made gluten free, sugar free and dairy free!
When did Valentine’s day become synonymous with chocolate? It may be just a marketing strategy, but I ain’t complaining! 🙂 February also happens to be by birthday month, and I’m down for some luscious chocolate deliciousness, any time, any way and any where!
I’ve been wanting to share this super easy recipe for Chocolate Molten Cakes (Chocolate Fondant Cakes) for a long time! It’s a foolproof recipe, mostly because it’s foolishly simple. I’ve made it hundreds of times, and it comes out perfectly every time. And now I want to share it with you guys too! 🙂 This divine chocolate dessert has a prep time of just 15 minutes, and you can get it on the table (or in your mouth) in under 30 minutes, from start to finish.
Or if you’d like to, you could even pour the batter into the ramekins and freeze them for later.
So what is a chocolate molten cake (chocolate fondant cake)?
Also known as chocolate molten lava cake, these are mini chocolate cakes. They are made with a chocolate cake batter, then poured into mini pans or ramekins and baked until the outside is set, with a divine, luscious liquid center.
The gooey liquid center oozes out (like molten lava!) when you cut into the chocolate fondant cake. They are a stunningly impressive and delicious chocolate dessert, but here’s the kicker – they are also ridiculously easy to make!
Can I double this recipe? or halve it to make just two?
This recipe makes four portions. It can be halved so you can make chocolate molten lava cakes for two, or it can be doubled for a crowd. It’s very versatile.
I made these chocolate molten lava cakes in these metal ramekins that you can buy here. I like the shape of these, and because they are metal, they conduct heat more evenly, for more consistent results. But you’re welcome to make these in glass or porcelain ramekin dishes too if that’s what you have. However, you will need to increase the baking time by 1-2 minutes, because glass/porcelain ramekins are thicker than these metal ones.
How do I make chocolate molten cakes (chocolate fondant cakes)?
From prepping your baking ramekins, to getting them in the oven, it only takes 15 minutes! Here’s how it works.
- Prep the baking ramekins first. Use your fingers, or a pastry brush or even butter wrappers to coat the ramekins with butter. I like to use softened butter, because that way I can get a generous coating of butter on the ramekins. This helps the cakes slide right off when they are done baking.
- Dust each ramekin with cocoa powder instead of flour, so that you don’t end up with nasty white streaks on your finished chocolate molten lava cakes.
- Next, make the cake batter using just ONE BOWL. Simply, place the bowl on a weighing scale, and weight the ingredients directly into that bowl as you go.
- You can use a microwave to melt the chocolate and butter, so you don’t to mess around with a double boiler. Melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 30 second increments.
- Add the sugar and eggs straight into the melted chocolate. You don’t have to whisk egg whites and yolks separately using another bowl.
- Next, add the flour. This recipe uses only 2 tbsp of flour, just to give the chocolate fondant cakes some structure as they bake. The batter will still be runny, and will thicken as it cools down further. So it’s easy to pour it into the ramekins. Just divide the batter between 4 ramekins, and then these decadent chocolate molten cakes are ready to be baked!
All this takes just 15 minutes! You don’t have to place extra chocolate truffles in the middle, or whisk eggs separately, or other cumbersome steps that most other chocolate molten lava cake recipes use. All you’d have to clean afterward is the bowl, a spatula and the whisk. 🙂
However, please note that if you do use volume measurements, or like to have the ingredients pre-weighed (like I have done for the recipe video in this post, just for presentation purposes), then you will be using more dishes.
And with a baking time of 11-12 minutes, this delicious chocolate dessert will be ready in under 30 minutes!
Can I make these cakes ahead of time?
If you’re making these chocolate fondant cakes for a romantic dinner on Valentine’s day, I assure you this dessert is not something you will have to stress about. You can make these cakes a day ahead of time, or a week, or even a month! You can freeze these chocolate molten cakes for up to a month in the freezer, or refrigerate them for up to 4 days.
As for reheating chocolate molten lava cakes that you’ve already baked – You could reheat them in the microwave just until they are hot enough, but NOT to cook the cakes further. To do this, you will need to heat the cakes in 5 – 10 second intervals (depending on how powerful your microwave is), until the cake is warm and still soft to the touch when you squeeze it gently.
HOWEVER, in my experience, it’s kind of hit or miss to get the reheating time just right, so I wouldn’t recommend doing this. It’s much easier and more reliable just to freeze unbaked cakes, and then bake them fresh when you need ’em.
How can I adapt this chocolate molten cake recipe for dietary restrictions?
Gluten free – Use 1 tbsp of cornstarch instead of flour, OR use 2 tbsp of gluten free baking flour.
Sugar free – You will need to use sugar free dark chocolate, and use a 1:1 sugar free sugar substitute. I made these with this sugar brand, and they turned out great!
I wouldn’t recommend using a sweetener like stevia, because the sugar in this recipe is not only a sweetener, but it also helps make the batter loose. Adding a few drops of stevia may sweeten the cake, but the batter might be too thick then. But you can experiment and see if this works for you (and if it does, i’d love to know!)
Dairy free – Butter adds a lot of flavor to this chocolate molten lava cake recipe. You can substitute it with a dairy free butter, or margarine or coconut oil (which will have an impact on the flavor). Also make sure that the chocolate you’re using is dairy free as well.
Serving suggestions for chocolate molten lava cakes
These chocolate cakes are perfect just as is! Perfectly sweetened, with a deep, decadent chocolate flavor, these are a great after-meal chocolate dessert, or for celebratory occasions. But if you’d like to dress them up some more, here are a few simple options.
- Dust them with confectioner’s sugar.
- A dollop of whipped cream or clotted cream.
- Serve with some fresh strawberries or raspberries.
- A scoop of ice cream.
- A drizzle of chocolate sauce, berry sauce or peanut butter sauce.
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WATCH THE RECIPE VIDEO FOR CHOCOLATE MOLTEN CAKES
Tools I used for this recipe (affiliate links)
Metal ramekins – I like making these chocolate molten lava cakes in these metal ramekin dishes. You’re welcome to make them in porcelain/glass ramekin dishes too.
Kitchen scale – Makes the process of prepping these chocolate molten lava cakes so easy and quick.
Large pyrex jug – I make the batter in the large pyrex jug from this set, so that I can pour the batter easily into the ramekins, and there’s less cleaning and washing to do after.
My favorite chocolate – You can use supermarket chocolate to bake this recipe too. I used this callebaut chocolate, and it’s one of my favorite chocolates in the US.
Spatulas – I love this set, and I have it in two sizes. They are perfect for different baking/cooking needs.
Whisks – A good set of whisks is a must for all your baking needs.
Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes (Chocolate fondant cakes)
- 7 oz semisweet chocolate chips 55% cocoa content, approximately 1 cup + 3 tbsp
- 4 oz unsalted butter 1 stick of butter, see DF substitutions in Recipe Notes
- ¼ tsp sea salt or just a pinch, if you don’t like a hint of saltiness in your cakes
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2.3 oz white sugar about ⅓ cup
- 2 whole eggs large
- 2 egg yolks from large eggs
- 0.7 oz AP flour or 2 tbsp, see GF substitutions in Recipe Notes
- Extra butter and cocoa powder to dust ramekins
- Confectioner’s sugar and berries to serve
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Generously butter four, ½ cup ramekins, and dust them with cocoa powder. Set aside until needed.
- Place the butter, chocolate and salt in a large microwave-safe bowl.
- Melt the ingredients in the microwave in 30 second increments, while stirring in between. This should take approximately 60 - 90 seconds. You can also melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler.
- Stir the sugar and vanilla into the warm butter-chocolate mixture.
- Next, add the eggs and yolks and whisk them in well. You should end up with a “gloopy” chocolate batter.
- Stir in the flour.
- Pour the batter into the prepared ramekins. Make sure they are no more than ¾ of the way full, since they will rise as they bake. If you're not baking the cakes right away, cover the ramekins with plastic wrap and freeze/refrigerate for later.
- Place the ramekins on a baking tray and transfer the tray into the preheated oven. The cakes will take about 11 minutes to bake in metal ramekins. In glass/porcelain ramekins, they may take about 12 minutes. (See Recipe Notes for baking times for frozen cakes).
- When the cakes are done, remove them from the oven, and let them rest for about 30 seconds (no more than a minute).
- Using a towel/cloth napkin, turn the cakes out onto serving plates (be careful, as the ramekins will be very hot, and may be slippery too). Tap the top of the ramekin with a spoon to loosen the cake, and gently remove the ramekin to reveal the cake underneath. Serve immediately while the cakes are still warm.
- Dust the cakes with confectioner's sugar, and serve with raspberries or strawberries.
Tips & Tricks
- Refrigerated chocolate molten cakes - Metal ramekins take about 11 ½ minutes. Refrigerated porcelain ramekins with thicker walls will take about 12 ½ minutes.
- Frozen chocolate molten cakes - Metal ramekins take about 12 - 12 ½ minutes. Porcelain ramekins with thicker walls will take about 13 - 13 ½ minutes.
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