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.
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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.
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.
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!
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.