These Mini Chocolate Cakes have a deliciously gooey center and are so easy to make. Learn everything you need to know about making lava cakes. They are perfect for special occasions like Valentine's Day. By the way, have you tried my Valentine's Day Cake yet?
Mini Chocolate Lava Cakes are small chocolate cakes baked in ramekins. They have a gooey center, and the edges are similar to chocolate cake. Enjoy them when they are still warm and dust with powdered sugar, top with ice cream, chocolate fudge sauce, and berries.
Ingredients notes and substitutions
- Chocolate - I recommend using high quality semi-sweet chocolate bars (50-60%). My personal favorites are Ghirardelli and Lindt. Chocolate chips are not recommended as they don't melt as tenderly as high quality chocolate bars and the core of the lava cakes wouldn't be gooey. The quality of the chocolate is the key to a gooey center.
- Cocoa - You can use either natural cocoa powder or Dutch-processed cocoa powder. Just don't use sweetened cocoa powder.
- Butter - European butter gives the best results due to its 82% fat content, but it works just as well with US butter (80%).
Start with combining chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and microwave until melted. I suggest placing the chocolate in the bowl first and put the butter on top because it helps with stirring. Stir every 20 seconds to prevent seizing.
In a small bowl whisk eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla.
In a medium bowl, combine sifted powdered sugar, flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, and salt.
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. If there are lumps of flour, use a whisk to break them up. But be careful that you don’t overmix the batter so that you don’t create air pockets. Too much air would make them cakey rather than gooey.
Butter 6 ramekins.
Then place one tablespoon of flour into the first ramekin and move and shake carefully until the bottom and the sides are evenly coated with flour. Then tap excess flour out of the first ramekin into the second ramekin and repeat until all ramekins are floured.
Spoon the batter into the ramekins and bake for about 11-13 minutes until the edges look solid, dry, and firm and the center soft. The center is gooey and thick rather than completely liquid.
Expert tips for success
- Don't overcook them. Remove from the oven once the edges are firm and dry and the center still looks moist. Please resist the urge to bake them until they look dry and set in the center.
- Let them rest for 1-2 minutes before inverting the cakes onto plates. They continue to bake and need a little time to set and come out nicely from the molds.
- Be careful not to burn yourself. Use a napkin or oven mitts to invert the cakes onto plates.
Can I bake them in a muffin pan?
If you don't have ramekins, you can make them in a muffin pan instead. You will have enough to get about 8 mini cakes. In this case, I recommend reducing the baking time to 8-9 minutes. Don’t use muffin liners, but butter and flour the muffin pan.
You can make the batter in advance for up to 2 days. Let the prepared batter in the mixing bowl, cover it tightly with plastic wrap, and store in the fridge until you are ready to bake them. Let it come to room temperature before you spoon the batter into the ramekins.
Storing and freezing instructions
Although they are best eaten on the same day and freshly baked, you can store leftover cakes in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 day and reheat them in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds before serving.
You can also freeze the baked cakes. Therefore, let them cool completely then wrap each cake tightly in plastic wrap or place in freezer bags. They freeze well for up to 3 months. To thaw, unwrap, and let sit on the counter for about 1 hour. Then reheat in the microwave before serving.
More dessert recipes to try
- Mini Cheesecakes
- Spanish Flan
- Strawberry Chocolate Pop Tarts
- Red Velvet Donuts
- Chocolate Soufflé
- Creme Brûlée
Mini Chocolate Cakes Recipe (Lava Cakes)
- 1 ½ cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate, chopped
- ¾ cup unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
- In a heatproof bowl, combine chocolate and butter and microwave for about 2 minutes, until fully melted. Stir every 15-20 seconds to prevent seizing. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, stir eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla* to combine. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk powdered sugar, flour, cocoa, and salt to combine. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, slowly stir just until combined. Use a whisk to remove any lumps, if there are any. The batter will be thick. Set aside.
- Butter and flour six 1-cup-sized (6oz / 240ml) ramekins.
- Spoon batter evenly into the ramekins. Bake for 11-13 minutes. I baked mine for exactly 12 minutes. The edges will look solid and firm and the center soft. Remove from the oven and let stand 1 minute. Then place an inverted plate on top of each ramekin and turn over. Caution: the ramekins are still super hot! Use a napkin or oven mitt. Top with powdered sugar, ice cream, berries, or chocolate fudge sauce to your preference. Serve immediately.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge up to 1 day. Reheat in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds. However, they are best eaten fresh on the same day. Freeze up to 3 months.
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