Chef John's Chocolate Lava Cake


Legend has it that this dessert was the result of a major catering disaster. The dessert for this particular event was to be individual chocolate cakes, but someone took them out of the ovens too soon and the centers were not cooked enough and still liquefied. Well, there was no time to take them off the plates and bake them more, so the chef simply had his wait staff introduce the dessert as Chocolate 'Lava' Cake! Brilliant!

Prep Time:
5 mins
Cook Time:
25 mins
Additional Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
4 servings


  • butter as needed

  • 2 egg yolks

  • 2 eggs

  • 3 tablespoons white sugar

  • 3 ½ ounces chopped dark chocolate

  • 5 tablespoons butter

  • 4 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 3 tablespoons flour

  • 1 pinch salt

  • teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Generously butter the inside of 4 (5 1/2 ounce) ramekins. Place them in a casserole dish.

  2. Whisk together egg yolks, eggs, and sugar in a bowl until light, foamy, and lemon colored.

  3. Melt chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second intervals, stirring after each melting, 1 to 3 minutes.

  4. Stir melted chocolate mixture into egg and sugar mixture until combined.

  5. Sift cocoa powder into the mixture; stir to combine.

  6. Sift flour and salt into the mixture; stir to combine into a batter.

  7. Stir vanilla extract into the batter.

  8. Transfer batter to a resealable plastic bag. Snip one corner of the bag with scissors to create a tip.

  9. Divide batter evenly between the prepared ramekins; tap gently on the counter to remove any air bubbles.

  10. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

  11. Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

  12. Arrange the ramekins in a casserole dish. Pour enough hot tap water into the casserole dish to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

  13. Bake in the preheated over for 15-18 minutes. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.

  14. Loosen the edges from the ramekin with a knife. Invert each cake onto a plate and dust with powdered sugar.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

394 Calories
29g Fat
32g Carbs
7g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 394
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 29g 37%
Saturated Fat 16g 82%
Cholesterol 241mg 80%
Sodium 207mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 32g 12%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 7g
Calcium 39mg 3%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 155mg 3%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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