Chocolate Lava Cake – Instant Pot |Oven

February 10, 2020 By Aneesha |

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Chocolate Lava Cake is what happens when chocolate cake meets soufflé! Also know as Molten Lave Cake, this popular dessert gets it’s name from the gooey and flowing lava-like chocolate center of a decadent cake. With this easy Instant Pot or oven recipe, you can make this irresistible dessert with only 5 ingredients, in less than 30 minutes!

Chocolate cake topped with raspberry and powder sugar

We’re a chocolate-loving family! No celebration is complete without one of us baking a decadent chocolate dessert. Lava Cakes are a regular in my home on Valentine’s Day, our wedding anniversary, and sometimes on Mother’s day too 🙂

Hubby loves it with French vanilla ice-cream, my girls’ latest favorite is to have with Salted Caramel Ice Cream, and me, just give me a spoon and I’m good as-is 🙂   The BEST part of this easy chocolate lava cake recipe is that it takes very little time and only 5-6 ingredients to make.

What is Chocolate Lava Cake

Also called Molten Lava Cake, this popular dessert is an ‘almost’ flourless cake that is cooked like a soufflé. Its brownie-like batter is assembled with only 5 basic ingredients– Chocolate, butter, eggs, sugar and flour. It is baked till the outer walls of the cake bake, but the center is still wet. As a result, when you cut into a molten lava cake, the center flows out resembling a volcanic lava flow.

It is claimed to have been invented by a french pastry chef in New York City in 1987, when he pulled out a chocolate sponge cake from the oven well before it was done. He found that the center was still runny, but had great taste and a warm luxurious texture. 

Melted chocolate lava cake topped with icing sugar and a raspberry

Molten Lava Cakes- Perfect Dessert for Two (or Four)

The quantity in this recipe makes two-4 ounce portions of Molten Lava Cake. It can be made using two ramekins. This quantity also fits 4 silicone cupcake molds. Since this is a decadent dessert, I like to make smaller individual portions using these Silicone Cupcake Liners.  These liners serve three great purposes in my home:

  • First, the silicone molds don’t get hot to the touch after baking, so handling is super easy, my kids bake with these often.
  • Second, taking the lava cakes out of these molds is a breeze. Simply, invert them on to your serving dish, and they slip out nice and easy.
  • Third, it does portion control for me. I take one, finish it and feel satisfied that I had a full dessert. This single serving cake looks tiny, but it is enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. 

I mostly end up making this Molten Lava Cake in my 6 qt electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot, or Mealthy Multipot, and they comes out really moist and delicious. But you can easily make this decadent dessert in the oven as well and get the same results. It all depends on how many cakes are you making. This recipe includes instructions for both methods!

Different Size Ramekins & Cook Times

The quantity of batter in this recipe will make:

Tip: These cook times are based on what works for my family. If you like a more cooked center, you can add another minute or two to get that consistency.

Ingredients for Chocolate Lava Cake

  1. Chocolate– The most important ingredient in this cake. Use any good quality baking chocolate bar or chips. I use Ghirardelli or Guittard brand. I prefer using Bitter-Sweet Chocolate Chips in this recipe.
  2. Butter– This is your basic unsweetened butter, at room temperature, which means, pull it out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before starting.
  3. Flour– I use only 2 tablespoons of flour in this quantity. I’ve tested this recipe with more ‘and’ less quantity and found this quantity to give the best results.
  4. Eggs– One full egg (large) + one egg yolk, at room temperature. (remove from fridge 30 minutes before baking)
  5. Sugar- I use confectioners sugar also called powdered sugar. I’ve tried this recipe with regular sugar too, but find confectioners sugar to give the best results.
  6. Vanilla Essence– This is the optional ‘6th’ ingredient, which adds a touch of aroma to the recipe, it can be skipped if you like.

How to Make Chocolate Lava Cake in Instant Pot

How to Prepare the Ramekins for Baking

  • Spray your ramekins with any non-stick baking spray (like Pam). Using a kitchen towel dab the excess oil away. Your ramekins are now ready for baking.
  • Skip this step if using silicone molds. Those are ready to go and do not need any greasing.

Lava Cake Batter

  • Melt butter and chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second increments. It takes around 1 minute or a few seconds longer depending on the quantity you are using. Using a whisk, mix well till smooth. 
  • Sift in confectioners sugar and mix again. Add eggs, vanilla and salt, and mix again.  Sift in flour and whisk till everything is incorporated.
  • Using an ice-cream scoop, divide the batter in the greased ramekins (or silicone cupcake molds), leaving 1/4 inch space from the top. Cook the lava cakes in an Instant Pot or Oven as follows:
Melting chocolate and adding sugar and eggs to make chocolate lava cake

Instant Pot Method for Choco Lava Cakes

  • Put 1 cup water in the Inner pot of the Instant Pot (2 cups for 8 qt), and place a trivet with handles. Place cakes on the trivet. If doubling this recipe, you might have to place 3 ramekins and stack the 4th one on top.
  • Loosely cover with aluminum foil to prevent any excess condensation from getting in. Lock lid in sealing position.
  • Cook on Manual/Pressure Cook (high pressure)for 7 minutes. If you like a less gooey center, increase time to 8 minutes. (see notes for more textures)
  • When cooking is done carefully release pressure manually (QR), and remove the cakes. Cool for 1 minute.
Steps showing how to cook lava cake in an Instant POt
Instant Pot method for Chocolate Lava Cakes in Ramekins
Step by step instructions on making a chocolate lava cake
Instant Pot method for Mini-Lava Cakes in Silicone Cupcake Liners

How to Make Molten Lava Cake in the Oven

  • Pre-heat oven to 425°F. Follow the steps and prepare the lava cake batter and divide in ramekins or silicone cupcake molds.
  • Place the cakes on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-9 minutes if using silicone molds, or 10-11 minutes if using ramekins, depending on how gooey you want the center to be.

Serving Suggestions for Chocolate Lava Cake

  • Cool the lava cakes for 1 minute. Invert them into the serving plate and dust with confectioners sugar (optional).  Serve warm as-is, or with a scoop of vanilla or your favorite ice-cream. Enjoy!

Can I double this Recipe

Yes, you can easily double or triple this recipe based on the number of portions you’re making. You can fit up to 8 ramekins easily in a 6qt or 8qt size Instant Pot, with the same pressure cooking time. If cooking a larger batch, I would recommend baking these cakes in the oven.

Chocolate cake topped with sugar and a berry on a gray plate

Common Questions Asked for Chocolate Lava Cake

Is Lava Cake just undercooked cake?

To get the gooey center, the chocolate cakes are pulled out of the oven before the center can set. Since these cakes include only a couple of tablespoons of flour, they are cooked through, just not firm. Also, the cook times is long enough to cook the eggs in the batter.

What is Lava Cake Made of?

Molten chocolate cakes are made with five ingredients: butter, eggs, sugar, chocolate, and flour.

How do you store a lava cake?

If you’re storing a cooked lava cake for later, you may lose the gooey center or lava texture upon re-heating. However, if you want to refrigerate your cooked Lava cakes, wrap them individually with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to two days.

How to Make Molten Lava Cake Ahead of Time?

For a party or any other time, you can assemble the batter, pour into individual baking ramekins, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate till later. Pull them out 30 minutes before baking. Cook them in an Instant Pot or oven and serve warm.

Flavor Variation: Salted Caramel Molten Lava Cake

If you haven’t tried out Salted Caramel Molten Lava Cakes yet, you’re missing out big time! Try them, it’s hard not to fall in love with that melted flowing slated caramel!

Chocolate cake topped with ice cream scoops

Recipe Tips for the Ultimate Chocolate Lava Cake

  • The quantity in this recipe makes two-4oz portions or 4-mini (silicone cupcake liners) size molten lava cakes.
  • Here are the cook times for different size ramekins and silicone liners:
  • These cook times are based on what works for my family. If you like a more cooked center, you can add another minute or two to get that consistency.
  • To make ahead, assemble the batter, pour into individual baking ramekins, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate till later. Pull them out 30 minutes before baking.
  • These lava cakes are best right after baking. If you’re storing a cooked lava cake for later, you may lose the gooey center or lava texture upon re-heating.
  • When multiplying this recipe, you can fit up to 8 ramekins easily in a 6qt or 8qt size Instant Pot, with the same pressure cooking time. If cooking a larger batch, I would recommend baking these cakes in the oven.

More CHOCOLATE Desserts

Other Popular Instant Pot Desserts

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Melted chocolate lava cake topped with icing sugar and a raspberry

Chocolate Lava Cake- Instant Pot or Oven

Chocolate Lava Cake, also known as Molten Lave Cake: this popular dessert gets its name from the warm liquidy, velvety chocolate center, inside a moist and decadent cake.  Using this simple recipe, bake your gooey lava cakes in an Instant Pot, or oven.
4.67 from 15 votes
Print Pin Rate Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Resting Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 28 minutes
Servings: 4 cakes
Calories: 332kcal
Author: Aneesha Gupta

Ingredients

Lava Cake

Serving Suggestions

  • Vanilla Ice-cream or Salted Caramel Ice-Cream
  • Powdered sugar for dusting on top

Equipment

Instructions

Prepare Ramekins (skip if using silicone mold)

  • Spray your ramekins with any non-stick baking spray (like Pam). Using a kitchen towel dab the excess oil away. Your ramekins are now ready for baking. Skip this step if using silicone molds. Those are ready to go and do not need any greasing.

Lava Cake Batter

  • Melt butter and chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second increments. It takes around 1 minute or a few seconds longer depending on the quantity you are using. Using a whisk, mix well till smooth. 
  • Sift in confectioners sugar and mix again. Add eggs, vanilla and salt, and mix again.  Sift in flour and whisk till everything is incorporated.
  • Using an ice-cream scoop, divide the batter in the greased ramekins (or silicone cupcake molds), leaving 1/4 inch space from the top. Cook the lava cakes in an Instant Pot or Oven:

Instant Pot Method

  • Put 1 cup water in the Inner pot of the Instant Pot (2 cups for 8 qt), and place a trivet with handles. Place cakes on the trivet. If doubling this recipe, you might have to place 3 ramekins and stack the 4th one on top.
  • Cook on Manual/Pressure Cook (high pressure)for 7 minutes. If you like a less gooey center, increase time to 8 minutes. (see notes for more textures)
  • When cooking is done carefully release pressure (QR), and remove the cakes. Cool for 1 minute.

Oven Recipe

  • Pre-heat oven to 425°F. Follow the steps and prepare the lava cake batter and divide in ramekins or silicone cupcake molds.
  • Place the cakes on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-9 minutes if using silicone molds, or 10-11 minutes if using ramekins, depending on how gooey you want the center to be.

Serving Suggestion

  • Cool the lava cakes for 1 minute. Then, invert the cakes on to the serving plate and dust with confectioners sugar (optional).  Serve warm as-is, or with a scoop of vanilla or your favorite ice-cream. Enjoy!

Video

Notes & Recipe Tips

Recipe Tips for the Ultimate Chocolate Lava Cake

  • The quantity in this recipe makes two-4oz portions or 4-mini (silicone cupcake liners) size molten lava cakes.
  • Here are the cook times for different size ramekins and silicone liners:
  • These cook times are based on what works for my family. If you like a more cooked center, you can add another minute or two to get that consistency.
  • To make ahead, assemble the batter, pour into individual baking ramekins, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate till later. Pull them out 30 minutes before baking.
  • These lava cakes are best right after baking. If you’re storing a cooked lava cake for later, you may lose the gooey center or lava texture upon re-heating.
  • When multiplying this recipe, you can fit up to 8 ramekins easily in a 6qt or 8qt size Instant Pot, with the same pressure cooking time. If cooking a larger batch, I would recommend baking these cakes in the oven.
 
If you are new to the Instant Pot, please read my FAQ on Instant Pot Terminology and Accessories to learn more.   
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates and are based on 4 mini-cupcake size lava cakes.  If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 332kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 120mg | Sodium: 44mg | Potassium: 158mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 474IU | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Choco Lava cake, Chocolate Lava Cake, Instant Pot Chocolate lava cake, Instant Pot Lava Cake, Molten Lava Cake
Did you try this recipe?Mention @SpiceCravings or tag #spicecravings!

This recipe was originally published in 2017 and has been republished in 2020 with updates recipe measurements, photos and tips.

HEY! NICE TO MEET YOU!

Aneesha holding a glass of white wine Hi, I'm Aneesha, a foodie by birth and the mind, body and soul behind Spice Cravings. Here I share quick, easy & healthy Indian & global recipes that are low in effort and big on taste! A recipe doesn't make it on the blog unless it is tested multiple times and gets a thumbs-up from my taster-in-chief, my husband, and my teen-chefs, my twin girls!

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12 Comments

  • Reply
    Puja
    April 26, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    Hi Any substitute for egg?

    • Reply
      Aneesha
      April 27, 2020 at 4:52 pm

      Hi Puja, sorry I’ve never tried this particular recipe with egg substitutes, so can’t say.

  • Reply
    Poo
    March 31, 2020 at 8:56 pm

    Which flour did you use? Can we use oat flour or almond flour? Thank you

    • Reply
      Aneesha
      March 31, 2020 at 9:02 pm

      Hi Pooja, Sorry, I’ve never used either of those in this cake, so can’t say. If you do try it, do let me know how it turns out!

  • Reply
    Lynda
    February 19, 2020 at 9:01 am

    Is vanilla essence the same as vanilla extract?

    • Reply
      Aneesha
      February 19, 2020 at 9:16 am

      Hi Lynda, I meant to write vanilla extract 🙂 Thanks for pointing that out, I’ll fix it.

  • Reply
    Rachel
    February 15, 2020 at 5:41 am

    I followed this recipe perfectly and mine ever baked! I tried 11 mins in the oven as indicated at 425. They were all liquid. Tried another 10 mins, all liquid. I gave up having already doubled the baking time. Too scared to put my ramekins in the IP, I don’t want them shattered. Did anyone get these to work?

    • Reply
      Aneesha
      February 15, 2020 at 10:22 am

      Hi Rachel, I’m very surprised that your cakes didn’t bake even after the extra 10 minutes, that’s 21 minutes of baking time, which is good enough to bake cupcakes. This recipe has been tested by me and made readers many times, plus it is consistent with other lava cake recipes. I would recommend checking your oven- pre-heat it to whatever temp you want and then place a meat thermometer in it for 10 minutes. Pull out the thermometer and check if the reading matches the temperature you set. I hope this solves the mystery. And on another note, I use ramekins in the IP all the time, they turn out fine, no problem at all.

  • Reply
    Maxene
    February 12, 2020 at 11:24 am

    Did I miss something? How much chocolate does the recipe cake

    • Reply
      Aneesha
      February 12, 2020 at 11:27 am

      Hi Maxena, It’s mentioned in the recipe card- ½ cup Bitter-Sweet Chocolate Chips (4 ounces). Hope this clarifies things.

  • Reply
    Nancy
    February 1, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    5 stars
    Your chocolate lava cake recipe was awesome! The directions were easy to follow, and my family loved the results. It was my first sweet food in the Instant Pot. Thank you.

    • Reply
      Aneesha
      February 1, 2020 at 7:32 pm

      Hi Nancy, that’s so awesome, I love it when the whole family enjoys a recipe. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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