Mini Lava Cakes for Two

4.9 from 53 reviews

Make chocolate lava cakes for two with this simple recipe! This decadent small-scale dessert is such a treat. No special equipment required, just a muffin tin. Recipe yields 2 small lava cakes, perfect for 2 people (or 4 people if you’re willing to share).

mini chocolate lava cake recipe



  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, assuming you will be baking these lava cakes right away (see notes for make-ahead option).
  2. Prepare your muffin tin by heavily buttering only two of the cups (one on the center outside edge, the other on the opposite). See photos for reference and be sure to coat them well. Then sprinkle some cocoa powder into the buttered cups. Turn and tap the tin over the sink to lightly coat the insides of the cups with the powder. Set the tin aside.
  3. Place the butter in a medium heat-safe mixing bowl and melt it in the microwave (alternately, gently melt it over low heat on the stove and then remove it from the heat). Add the chocolate to the bowl and stir until melted (if the chocolate won’t melt on its own, gently warm the mixture in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring after each, or over very low heat on the stovetop). Set aside.
  4. Crack one egg and pour the egg white into a bowl for later use* or discard it. Pour the yolk into another medium-to-large mixing bowl. Crack the second egg into the yolk bowl (both the white and the yolk). Add the sugar, vanilla and salt. Beat the mixture with a whisk until foamy and pale, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Pour the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture. Add the flour. Whisk until the mixture is fully combined.
  6. Divide the mixture between the two prepared muffin cups. You can fill them all the way to the top (you should have just enough mixture to fill them, but if you have extra, discard it).
  7. Bake for 5 minutes, until the cakes have risen from their cups but still jiggle in the center just a bit. Place the muffin tin on a heat-safe surface and let the cakes cool for 1 minute.
  8. In the meantime, find two dessert plates or appetizer plates with raised rims. Here’s the slightly tricky part—place the plates upside down over each of the cakes. While wearing oven mitts, securely grab both plates and the tin itself with both hands. Flip the whole thing and place the plate sides down on the counter. Gently lift up the tin and the lava cakes should release without trouble.
  9. Garnish as desired (if using powdered sugar, place a small spoonful in a fine-mesh sieve and sprinkle the sieve over the plates). Serve at once! Leftover cakes will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for a few days (the texture will change, but should still be delightful).


Recipe adapted from Georges Vongerichten’s Molten Chocolate Cake recipe, via Mark Bittman in The New York Times, with reference to Yossy Arefi’s Chocolate Lava Cake for Two

Make it ahead: You can prepare the recipe through step 6 up to one day in advance. Refrigerate the tin in the meantime but let it warm to room temperature before baking.

Make it gluten free: Simply use a gluten-free flour blend. I successfully used Bob’s Red Mill.

Baking time note: If you are using whole wheat or all-purpose flour (not gluten-free) and prefer an even gooier cake, you could likely get by with 4 minutes 30 seconds baking time. The cakes will be a little more delicate, though, so I’d suggest trying this only after successfully baking with the 5-minute method.

Special diet note: I don’t believe this recipe can be made vegan or egg-free, as the eggs provide the structure to this soufflé-like dessert. You could possibly make the recipe dairy-free by using dairy-free butter, such as Miyoko’s Creamery, and dairy-free chips, such as Enjoy Life, but I haven’t verified.

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