How to Make Restaurant-Quality Chocolate Lava Cake With Just 5 Ingredients

Making chocolate lava cake at home is easier than you may think.
Making chocolate lava cake at home is easier than you may think. / Institute for Culinary Education

Chocolate lava cake is a regular item on dessert menus for a reason. The baked good—which reveals its gooey, molten center once you cut into it—is as decadent as it is impressive. Luckily, you don’t need to go out to enjoy this show-stopping final course. You can make the cake at home in roughly 30 minutes using just five ingredients.

This recipe for chocolate lava cake comes from the Institute of Culinary Education. Though the end result is restaurant-quality, ICE’s lead recreational chef-instructor Roger Sitrin recommends it to anyone who’s new to baking. “It definitely is a beginner’s recipe, and that’s the beauty of it,” he tells Mental Floss.

The recipe makes four servings, so start by greasing four 4-ounce ramekins and coating them with sugar. Next, mix 4 ounces of melted, unsalted butter with 4 ounces of dark chocolate. The butter should be off the burner but still hot enough to melt the chocolate. Set the mixture aside to cool.

To make your batter, whisk together 2 egg yolks, 2 whole eggs, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of flour in a separate bowl. Stir in the room-temperature chocolate and pour the batter evenly into the prepared ramekins. The mini-cakes will be done after 8 minutes in a 400°F oven (the centers should still be gooey). You can release them from the ramekins by flipping them onto a plate. Serve with ice cream or fresh fruit or, alternatively, eat them plain from the ramekin with the nearest spoon.

If you’re looking to impress guests, this is the right dish to make. In addition to their dramatic presentation, molten chocolate cakes are easy to make ahead of time. “You make them, then you put them in your freezer. Then when people come over you pop them out of the freezer right into the oven,” Sitrin says. “I always have these in my house [...] so when someone shows up unexpectedly I have dessert for everyone.”

Even if you’re not much of an entertainer, the individual cakes are good to have on hand in case of emergency chocolate cravings.

The Institute of Culinary Education offers classes in cooking and hospitality management out of its campuses in Los Angeles and New York. Whether students are pursuing a new career in the culinary arts or they’re veterans looking to continue their education, ICE has courses to suit their needs. To learn more recipes like the one below, you can find the school’s curricula here.

Molten Chocolate Cake

Serves 4

4 ounces dark chocolate
4 ounces (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 large whole eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon sugar, plus more for molds
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Prepare four 4-ounce ramekins by praying them with cooking spray and coating them in sugar.
Melt butter in sauce pan. When melted and still hot, remove from heat and add chocolate. Mix until smooth.

  3. Allow to cool to room temperature. 
In a separate bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and flour.

  4. Whisk in the chocolate mixture and distribute evenly between the four ramekins. At this stage, cakes can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen for up to 6 months.

  5. Bake in oven for 8 minutes. Remove while center still looks uncooked. Flip mold onto a plate and unmold. Serve with ice cream, raspberries, or some other garnish.