Mini Lava Cakes For Two
Mini Lava Cakes are rich and decadent molten chocolate cakes baked in two ramekins then served with a dusting of powdered sugar and whipped cream. They make the perfect dessert for two for your date night at home.
With Valentine’s Day coming up, it’s time to start thinking about potential romantic desserts for two.
But sometimes you want literally two servings of dessert without any leftovers.
Have you ever had a mini lava cake? I believe some steak houses still serve them, but honestly I can’t remember the last time I had one.
A molten lava cake is a rich, chocolatey dessert with a gooey fudgy center. When you break it open with a spoon, the chocolate oozes out onto the plate, much like lava (hence the name).
You achieve the liquid center by purposely underbaking it. It’s why they’re so loved as they’re rich and moist, almost like a chocolate cake with a sauce baked directly into it.
The middle reminds me of my Thick Hot Chocolate being all thick and creamy.
After multiple rounds of testing, I’m bringing you the best Mini Lava Cake recipe you can make at home.
I’m not sure why I waited so long to make them as they’re one of the best chocolate desserts I’ve had in a long time. I mean, who doesn’t love an ooey gooey chocolate middle?
With ingredients you can easily find in your pantry and roughly 30 minutes of your time, you can make these Lava Mini Cakes right now.
Ingredients For Mini Lava Cakes
To make your mini molten lava cakes, you’ll need the following ingredients (which I bet you have in your kitchen right now):
- Unsalted butter: Used for the fat to moisten the cake. If you’re using salted butter, omit the salt as the cakes will be too salty.
- Baking chocolate: I chose bittersweet chocolate for a rich chocolate flavor, but you can also use semisweet for a more mild flavor.
- Egg and egg yolk: Yes, you’ll need both an egg and an egg yolk. That extra white would make your cakes a little too moist. Check out my post on what to do with egg whites so you don’t waste it. I highly recommend my Egg White Cookies.
- Sugar: Although not much, you do need a little bit of sweetener to balance the dark chocolate.
- Espresso powder: Optional but coffee really intensifies the chocolate flavor.
- Salt: Makes the cakes not taste bland. Not needed if you’re using salted butter.
- Flour: Forms the cake structure so it doesn’t fall apart after baking
- Vanilla: Absolutely needed to boost the chocolate. Without it, your cakes will taste flat.
Making Mini Lava Cakes in Ramekins
I’ve seen similar recipes make their mini chocolate lava cakes in a muffin pan. Although doable, I much prefer ramekins as they make a larger, more substantial mini cake.
However, I learned through several rounds of testing that ramekin size and even thickness matters.
I personally have four 6-ounce ramekins which are narrow and deep. Two of them technically measure at 5.75 fluid ounces and have a thin ceramic wall. The other two measure at 6 fluid ounces and have a thicker ceramic wall.
Although both sizes held the batter perfectly, the slightly smaller ramekins baked a little faster than the slightly larger ramekins.
Normally this doesn’t matter as you’d bake your ramekin dessert until done as directed, but for mini lava cakes every minute counts.
If you bake them a minute too long, the middle won’t be as molten.
And then there are glass ramekins which don’t conduct heat as well as ceramic, so you may need a minute or two longer to bake.
The more you use your ramekins, the more you’ll know how they work.
Follow the visual cues in the recipe. And if you’re still unsure, it’s better to pull them a minute early than a minute late.
Can I make Mini Lava Cakes in a muffin pan?
Don’t have ramekins? This recipe will make 4 mini cakes in a standard 12-cup muffin pan. Because they’ll be smaller, you likely only need to bake for 6-8 minutes.
How To Make Mini Chocolate Lava Cakes
Here’s how to make your lava mini cakes:
- Lightly grease two 6-ounce ramekins. This is important so the cakes easily slide out without breaking.
- Melt the chocolate and butter together. I used a bowl over a pan of simmering water, but you can also (carefully) use a microwave.
- Beat your egg, egg yolk, and sugar until thickened and pale. This will take about 2-3 minutes on high speed as you want them thick, yellow, and even a bit foamy.
- Add melted chocolate, vanilla, espresso powder, and salt. Gently incorporate on low speed.
- Fold in the flour. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in by hand so you don’t overbeat the batter.
- Bake at 450F until the edges and most of the top are firm but centers are soft. This will take about 8-10 minutes, depending on your ramekins.
- Invert onto a plate and serve immediately before the centers cool.
What Temperature To Bake Mini Lava Cakes
You want to bake your mini molten lava cakes at 450F for roughly 8-10 minutes.
When I first tested this recipe, I started out at 400F. It would’ve been fine if this was a regular cake recipe, but they weren’t very molten inside.
Turns out the temperature wasn’t high enough. You need to bake them at 450F so the outside sets up quickly while the center is still underbaked.
That’s why I highly recommend using an oven thermometer to ensure your oven is accurate.
What To Serve With Mini Lava Cakes
If you’re a peanut butter lover, pair them with peanut butter whipped cream.
For a double chocolate dessert, serve them with chocolate whipped cream.
You can also serve your lava cakes for two with vanilla bean ice cream for a play on a hot and cold dessert.
Don’t have time (or the energy) to make garnishes? The easiest way to decorate your lava cakes for two is with a dusting of powdered sugar.
How To Make Lava Mini Cakes Ahead Of Time
Make your individual lava cakes ahead of time by filling your ramekins with the cake batter then refrigerating for 24 hours.
When you’re ready to bake, let the ramekins sit at room temperature while the oven preheats then bake as directed. You may need an extra minute or two if the batter is still cold.
It’s challenging to bake them ahead of time then reheating because you’ll risk overcooking the center, which means no mini molten lava cakes.
How To Store Lava Mini Cakes
Too full from a big dinner? Or maybe you’re single and saving your second cake for later. Whatever the reason, you can save it for the next day.
Store your mini lava cakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Of course the middle will no longer be molten, but it’s still a delicious chocolatey center (kinda like a truffle).
You can also rewarm your cake in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.
More Ramekin Recipes
Craving more dessert? Check out my other Ramekin Dessert Recipes including the following favorites:
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces or 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 egg yolk, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional but makes the cakes taste extra chocolatey)
- 1/8 teaspoon table salt
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- Whipped cream and strawberry sauce, for serving
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Lightly grease two 6-ounce ceramic ramekins.
- Add about an inch of water to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat and place a heatproof bowl over top. Add the butter and chocolate then melt until smooth. Remove from the heat and cool while you finish making the batter.
Alternatively you can microwave the butter and chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, then melt in 15 second increments until fully melted.
- In a large mixing bowl on high speed (with paddle attachment if using a stand mixer) beat the egg, egg yolk, and sugar until thickened, pale, and foamy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Turn the speed down to low and add melted chocolate, vanilla, espresso powder, and salt.
- Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the flour by hand.
- Transfer the batter to the ramekins then bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edge and top of cakes are firm but centers are soft.
If you don't want your cakes super gooey or if you're using glass ramekins, you may want to bake for an extra 1-2 minutes.
- Let cakes cool in ramekins for 1 minute then carefully invert and unmold onto plates. Serve immediately with whipped cream and strawberry sauce.
- It's very important your oven is accurate as the high heat is needed to set the cakes before the centers are done. Use an oven thermometer to ensure it's a proper 450F.
- To make ahead of time, transfer batter to ramekins, cover, and refrigerate up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, let sit at room temperature while oven preheats then bake as directed. You may need an extra 1-2 minutes if the batter is still cold.
- Don't have ramekins? This recipe will make 4 mini cakes in a standard 12-cup muffin pan. Because they'll be smaller, you likely only need to bake for 6-8 minutes.
- Since you're using an egg yolk, check out my guide on What To Do With Egg Whites.
- Enjoyed this recipe? Check out my Brownies For Two and Small Chocolate Cake recipe.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Adapted from Jean-Georges Vongerichten via Food and Wine