This recipe for a classic chocolate lava cake is a simple yet showstopping dessert, that takes minutes to make! It’s secretly vegan and gluten free, and perfect for chocolate lovers!
Whenever I go to a dinner party or host an event, I always raise my hand for dessert duty. I mean, it’s pretty much a given amongst my friends that I’ll always turn up with either some brownies, blondies or if I’m being fancy, a cheeky cheesecake.
Recently, I hosted some friends over for a dinner and I wanted to do something that looked impressive, tasted delicious, but was actually incredibly easy to make- molten lava cakes.
Molten lava cakes, also known as chocolate lava cakes, are what I like to call the chocolate version of a creme brulee. With the creme brulee, the highlight is breaking the sugar crust on top before digging into the custard below. Similarly, the lava cake involves you breaking into the center of it, releasing a pool of melted chocolate.
You need just 8 simple ingredients to make them, and no eggs, butter, or dairy whatsoever. It’s the perfect vegan and gluten free dessert that is sure to impress.
How do you make chocolate lava cakes
While lava cakes look incredibly fancy and intricate to make, they actually take less than 20 minutes all up! The hard part is waiting for the 15 minutes before flipping it over, but I promise you it is worth it!
- All purpose flour– Sift your flour first, to ensure that there are no clumps. I used gluten free flour, but if you aren’t gluten free, regular flour works fine.
- Sugar– Any granulated sweetener will work, like white sugar or brown sugar. See my tips below for a sugar free option.
- Cocoa powder– Unsweetened cocoa powder. For a richer flavor, you can use dark cocoa powder.
- Baking powder and baking soda– Both are used to give rise to the lava cakes but also keep them fluffy and moist in the middle.
- Oil of choice– Use a neutral flavored oil, like vegetable oil or canola oil.
- Vanilla Extract– A must for any good cake or baked good!
- Milk of choice– I used unsweetened almond milk, but this works with any plant based milk (oat milk, soy milk, etc).
- Chocolate– Use a chocolate bar instead of chocolate chips, so the center filling will ooze out evenly. I used Lindt 78% chocolate, which is a standard chocolate bar that happens to be vegan!
Start by greasing 4 parts of a 12-count muffin tin generously with cooking spray or oil. Next, in a large mixing bowl, add your dry ingredients and mix well. Add the wet ingredients, and mix until combined. Divide the lava cake batter into the 4 greased muffin tins. Place one piece of chocolate into the center of each lava cake. Bake for 20 minutes, before removing from the oven and letting cool for 15 minutes. Using a sharp knife, run it around the edges of each cake for easy removal. Flip the lava cakes over and serve immediately.
Can I make this healthier?
Generally, each lava cake yields a mere 175 calories per serving, which is quite standard for a single dessert.
However, if you’d like to reduce the calories even further, you can replace the sugar with monk fruit sweetener and swap out the oil for unsweetened applesauce. If you use the applesauce instead of oil, you will need to remove the lava cakes from the oven around the 18 minute mark.
With the dietary substitutions, each lava cake yields a mere 96 calories.
Tips to make the best molten lava cake
- If you have singular aluminum muffin molds, you can use those instead of the muffin tin. It makes the removal of the lava cakes so much easier.
- You must grease the muffin molds/muffin tins very generously, to ensure none of the cake sticks to the side.
- Feel free to add extra chocolate to the center. The amount used is a minimum, but you can never go wrong with too much chocolate!
- Serve lava cakes with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Storing and Freezing lava cakes
- To store– Lava cakes can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 1 week. Be sure to have removed them from the muffin tin/muffin mold before refrigerating.
- To freeze– Place individual lava cakes in shallow containers and store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- To reheat– Lava cakes are best enjoyed warm, so the chocolate oozes out of the center. Heat lava cakes in the microwave in 30-second spurts, until warm on top. Let sit for a minute, before cutting into the middle for the chocolate to ooze out.
More delicious chocolate dessert recipes you’ll enjoy
- Chocolate Mug Cake
- Double Chocolate Cookies
- Vegan Brownies
- Chocolate No Bake Cookies
- Double Chocolate Banana Bread
Chocolate Lava Cakes
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour gluten free, if necessary
- 1/2 cup sugar of choice white, brown, or sugar free sub
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 cup oil vegetable, canola, etc. * See notes
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons milk of choice I used unsweetened almond milk
- 4 pieces chocolate scant 1/4 cup of chopped chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease 4 aluminum muffin molds or 4 parts of a 12-count muffin tin generously. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk in the oil and vanilla extract. Slowly add the milk until the batter is smooth.
- Divide the batter amongst the molds/ramekins. Place one piece of chocolate in the center of each mold.
- Bake for 20 minutes, before removing from the oven and letting sit for 15 minutes. Using a sharp knife, run it around the inside edge of the molds, before flipping onto a plate and serving.