Sunday, 27 October 2013

It's really that simple

I don't know why it took me so long to pick up the courage to make something so simple as molten chocolate cakes!

Somehow, I have this false impression that it requires skills and experience of a pastry chef to make them...probably because I only get to eat this delicious dessert during one of those rare occasions when I meet up with my friends for dinners.

Well, although the recipe is so straight forward, I only got it right on the second attempt. The first time I made them, I did the most unforgivable mistake of over just 2 minutes! The cake tasted awesome, but it didn't flow like lava :'(

The second attempt was perfect! This time I made sure my oven was well preheated just to be very sure that the cake would be cooked within the recommended baking time. I removed the cake from the oven once the timer started to beep. The surface appeared barely cooked, it was 'just set'. I was so tempted to put it back into the oven to bake it a little longer!

Besides baking time, the timing to unmold the cake from the ramekin is also one of the critical success factors to note. After removing from the oven, leave them in the ramekins to cool for at least 1 to 2 mins. This is to allow the cake to set a little, it may fall apart if you try to unmold it straight out of the oven. But this doesn't mean you should leave them in the ramekins forever as the cakes are meant to be served warm.

Surprisingly, unmolding the cake is not as difficult as I thought. Just run a knife around the sides of the ramekin, then flip it over a serving plate and remove the ramekin. The cake will not get stuck to the ramekin as long as you have greased it really well. Do be careful as the ramekin will be very hot.

I have also tried serving these molten chocolate cakes in the ramekin...saves me the trouble of unmolding and washing up extra serving plates ;)

Another wonderful thing I discovered about making these lava cakes is, you can actually prepare the batter a few hours ahead of time, keep them in the fridge and bake only when ready to serve. This is really something new to me. Whenever we order this dessert at cafes or restaurants, we were always told to place the order in advance as it would take at least 20 to 30 mins to prepare. So all along I was given the impression that this dessert can only be made and served right away!

As with any homemade chocolate cakes, do use the best quality baking chocolate you could afford. I have made these with valrhona baking chocolates and also Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips. It must be my unsophisticated palates, both tasted equally good to me even though one is more expensive than the other. I wouldn't attempt to describe how delicious these lava cakes turn out...but the fact that I made them 4 times in a row gets to show how everyone in the family loves it, and of course how easy it is for me to bake them!

If you are a first timer and eager to give this a try, you may want to hop over to my favourite baking website, to watch this video to get an idea how to go about making molten chocolate cakes and to avoid any pitfalls. The video certainly boost my confidence and I am very thankful for the wonderful and generous sharing by Stephanie Jaworsk. I have learned a lot from her website, she mades baking really easy for self taught home bakers like me :)

Molten Lava Chocolate Cake

(makes 4 servings)

135g dark chocolate
65g unsalted butter
2 large eggs
45g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
25g plain flour

some butter for greasing

  • Preheat oven to 200 degC.
  • Bring a saucepan of water to a simmer. Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl by setting the bowl over the saucepan; make sure the bowl is bigger than the saucepan. Stir the mixture to ensure all the chocolate is melted and the mixture becomes smooth. Remove from heat; set aside to cool.
  • Generously grease the bottom and sides of four 180ml (6 oz) size ramekins with butter; set aside.
  • Place eggs in the mixing bowl of MUM5 kitchen machine*. Attach the beating whisk and beat for a few seconds to break them up. Add the sugar and vanilla extract. Beat on speed 3 and gradually increase to speed 6 for about 3 to 4 minutes till the mixture triple in volume, becomes thick, pale and fluffy. Reduce to speed 4 and continue to beat for about 1 to 2 minutes to break up larger bubbles in the batter. When the whisk attachment is lifted, the mixture should fall and leave a ribbon-like trail.
  • Add in the melted chocolate mixture and beat on speed 4 for about 1 minute or until the mixture is thoroughly blended.
  • Sieve the flour into the mixing bowl. With a spatula fold in the flour until just incorporated. Do not over mix. Pour batter into the prepared ramekins to about half full.
  • Place filled ramekins on a baking tray and bake in middle rack  in preheated oven at 200 degC for 10 minutes. Do not over bake. The cakes are deliberately under baked. The cake is ready when the outside edges is set (gently touch the edges, it should feel soft but won't stick to your finger) and the middle still looks a little wet.
  • Remove from oven immediately and leave to cool for 1 to 2 minutes. Serve the cakes in the ramekins or alternatively, run a small knife around cakes to loosen. Invert warm cakes onto individual serving plates and carefully lift ramekin off cakes. Dust the top with icing sugar and serve warm with ice cream or berries.
The batter can be prepared a few hours ahead of time. Leave batter in the prepared ramekins, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate. When ready to serve, bring to room temperature while preheating the oven. Bake at 200 degC for 10 minutes just before serving.

*Note: I used my new Bosch MUM5PRO HomeProfessional Kitchen Machine MUM57830 to prepare the cake batter, read my review of this kitchen mixer here.


  1. Your molten lava chocolate cakes are well presented. Thanks for the tips on making successful lava cake. I shall attempt this delicious dessert one day.

  2. Yum yum! Your molten lava cake look really delicious and classy. I always have the impression that baking this particular cake requires a lot of skill. Wow baking the same thing four times? You have lots of patience and perseverance. Well done. I am sure your family must be delighted.

  3. Hi Vivian, do give it a try, you will be surprised at how easy it is to make this dessert!

    Hi Veronica, each serving portion is actually quite small, my kids couldn't get enough of it, so I have to keep making to satisfy their cravings, lol!

  4. Hi we love your blog and would like to get in touch with you about trying a new hand blender product - can you let me know your email? Thank you! Carlyn

  5. Well, well, I should have the confidence to bake this too! I also thought that it is hard to get it right. Yours looks perfect!

  6. Yeah, I made this before and I made the same mistake as you in my first attempt. Sinfully yummilicious ...

  7. This one is also my KIV. Am inspired to bake this coming weekend.

  8. hello! may i know if the batter could be left overnight? also, will the lava "harden" if it is not served hot?

  9. Hi Carlyn, my email address is
    However, I am not a good cook, I can only prepare simple meals, nothing that would require a food processor.

  10. Hi Phong Hong, it is very simple, just like making a sponge cake, just keep to the baking time...better to over bake then to under bake.

    Edith, I'm sure you will have a fun time baking this simple dessert :)

  11. Hi Huei C, I have not tried leaving the batter overnight. I usually prepare the batter in the afternoon and bake it at night. When the cake is done right (not over baked), the lava will not 'harden' even if the cake is cooled.

  12. looks absolutely delicious!!

  13. hello HHB, thanks for the advice! :) will be trying to make this cake for my friend's birthday ^_^

  14. Hi HHB, am an avid reader of your delicios cooking blog...
    I love your molten lava choc cake... Seems pretty straightfwd the way you have explained it, so have bookmarked it to make it this weekend! Will let you know how I'd go. Thanks for sharing the recipe.


  15. Hi Happy Home Baking,

    I'm so glad I've mastered my chiffon cake. Thanks for your valuable advice.

    I'm into another challenge - Swiss Roll. As usual, failed a few times and at the same time, succeeded some :)

    Your Molten Lava Cake looks fantastic! I'll definitely try it out.

  16. I tried and it turns out..great!!
    Thanks, HHB :)

  17. Hi Happy Home Baking,
    I have another question. Can I bake in the muffin cup instead?

  18. Cybil, thanks for your kind words!

    Huei C, hope this recipe turns out is so kind of you to make a birthday cake for your friend :)

    PS I love to bake, hope you will give it a try!

  19. Hi Anonymous, wow you are fast! I'm so happy to hear that it turns out great!!!

  20. Hi Amy, great to hear that you have mastered your chiffon cake! Swiss roll is a little tricky, but with practise I'm sure you will master it too :)

    I think you can try bake these molten cakes in muffin cups. Just that the cake will be smaller (in diameter) and taller? Do watch the baking time!

  21. This really look good!! I can't resist the temptation over the computer screen! :)

  22. I am awaiting for let it com from fridge and after baked properly. I always welcome innovative healthy dessert recipes and share with friends.

  23. hello HHB! it was a successful attempt! :D thanks for this super simple and great recipe ^_^

  24. hi Huei C., wow, 太好了, 一试就成功!你的朋友有口福了 ;)

  25. Hi HHB, This is in my to do list for a long time too ... you sure is "really simple" ? hehehe .. well I guess I have to try to know it ...

  26. I know what you mean. This dessert is quite intimidating if you've not done it before until you tried it for the first time. Then you'll realize there's no special skills needed. I love Choc Molten. Yours is so perfect!

  27. ooooh, I love gooey chocolate desserts! p.s: love your photos!

  28. Thanks Happy Home Baking. If my Molten Cake is successful in muffin cups, you'll be the 1st one to be informed :D

  29. Hi! Yr lava cakes look gorgeous! Already bookmark it but have some doubts over ramekin size. Are you able to give me the diameter n height? My new ramekin come with a diameter of abt 8 cm fm top, but 7cm if measure fm bottom. Height is abt 4.5 cm. So how many oz is this ramekin? Sorry if this sound a silly question...

  30. Hi MH, the base of my ramekin is 8cm in diameter and height is 4.5cm.
    Not a silly question, as I didn't know the size of my ramekin in oz or in ml until I realised that I can simply measure it by filling it with water to the brim, then measure the amount of water using my measuring cup ;)

    By the way, the amount of batter is very little, it will only fill slightly more than half of each ramekin (I used 4 ramekin). The cake will rise a little upon baking.

    Have fun!

  31. Thanks for the great recipe! I tried making it yesterday and followed the steps exactly to yours but the inside of the cake is mostly cooked with a small portion that is moist but doesn't flow. Cake was a little dry too. :( what could be done wrongly?

  32. Hi, maybe your oven was too hot? Did you use an oven theremometer? or are you using a fan forced convection oven? if yes, you may need to lower the oven temperature.

  33. yes, i used an oven thermometer and the oven i'm using is those small Tefal oven. so its the temperature. will try again another day. Thanks! ;)

  34. hi

    the egg are you referring to egg whites or egg yolk?
    cos from the video it stated both. but the video does not include the use
    of any flour .


  35. Hi newbaker, sorry if i have confused you. As mentioned in my post above, you can refer to the video to get an idea how to go about making a molten lava cake. I did not follow the recipe from the video. I used whole eggs for the recipe I posted here.

  36. Hi HHB

    It taste good!
    Initially, the middle is little wet(chocolate is liquidly and melted chocolate stick to my finger) , so i bake it for 1-2 min longer. Thus, It did not flow like lava..

    So isit correct to have the middle is little wet(chocolate is liquidly and melted chocolate stick to my finger) ?


  37. Hi Newbaker, the middle should appear a little wet but the edges should be set.

  38. Hi HHB

    If middle should appear little bit wet , does that also mean when touch the middle,melted chocolate will stick to the finger?

    Yeah my edge is set!

    Shall try this again;)

    new baker

  39. hey ! so happy to have chanced upon your website and this recipe. Previously copied a recipe for molten chocolate cake from a cooking book, and tried it and it involved lots more steps, eggs, etc... and it was a hassle... Also they suggested a long 13-15 cooking time and it came out tasting yummy but no lava.

    Then i saw your web and decided to give it a try since you wrote that your first attempt also was kinda failure. So i followed all your instructions and YAY it came out perfect. Best of all, your recipe is like so much easier, straight forward, and economical, and it taste just as good, and works much better. Definitely gonna stick to reading blogs for recipes instead of books... Its much easier when someone shares their experience and the tips you give are much better than a book that cant speak back to you.

    THANKS! from amateur baker penguin

  40. Hey!

    I wanted to ask also : If i put in the fridge beforehand to reserve later for cooking after dinner, when i take it out from the fridge, do i have to leave it for a few mins (and if so, how long?) to let it warm up to room temperature before putting into the 200C oven? Or do i put into the oven straight away and cook it for say 12 mins instead of 10 mins?

    What do you suggest based on your experience?

    Also, in the afternoon, when done with placing the batter in the ramekins, do we only cling wrap each ramekin, then put into the fridge? Or do we also place the cling wrapped ramekins into an air tight tupperware, then place the whole tupperware into the fridge?

    THANKS :) penguin

    1. Hi, thanks for your kind words :)
      After removing the batter from the fridge, you can leave it in room temperature for about 15mins while the oven is preheating. When oven is ready you can bake it for 10mins extend the baking time for 30secs or so if necessary. Better to underbake than over bake. Also since every oven works differently you may need to test it out.
      It is not necessary to keep the batter in air tight container just cling wrap will do. Hope this helps :)

    2. Thanks so much!! I will try it out in two days time and let you know how it went! THANKS :):):):):) Penguin

  41. hey! the cake went awesome! thank u so much for the recipe !! :) my guests loved it :) penguin

    1. happy to hear that all went well :):)