Dessert/ Gluten-Free/ Recipes

The BEST Lava Cakes (with a gluten-free option!)

These lava cakes have been a staple in my family since my awesome sister-in-law introduced them to us about 10 years ago (maybe even longer?). They were always a go-to for dinner parties I hosted and friends always wanted the recipe and were blown away by how simple they are. These are a perfect dessert to make for Valentine’s Day; stay in, make these, drink wine, be happy. The best ever lava cake recipe!

But after I figured out I can’t have gluten or cow’s dairy, I stopped making them, which is shame because they are stupid delicious. I realized recently that they really don’t have that much flour and I thought I may be able to sub Earth Balance for the butter. So, I set out to make a gluten-free and dairy-free version.

The best ever lava cake recipe!

Tommy gave the GF/DF version two thumbs up and said he never would have known if I hadn’t told him.The best ever lava cake recipe!

However, if you don’t need gluten or dairy free, just use regular (unsalted) butter and all-purpose flour; it’s much cheaper. 🙂 Tip: the hardest part is removing it from the ramekin so they don’t break. I’ve learned over the years a few tricks for success, so make sure you follow step #7 in the numbered instructions.

Dark Chocolate Lava Cakes

I listed the directions twice intentionally – I like to see recipes with pictures as an overview, but then when I make it, I don’t like having pictures breaking up the directions. Hence, the directions 2x. 🙂 Hope that helps you!

  • Preheat oven to 400*
  • Using a small piece of butter, rub the inside of the ramekins so they are lightly coated with butter. Use a paper towel to spread if necessary – you need a thin layer of butter entirely coating it. Place a teaspoon or so of sugar in each ramekin and twirl to coat the butter with sugar. Dump out any excess. This is a step you can’t skip or else they’ll stick!

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  • Melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. It should take 60-90 seconds to be fully melted. If you want to go all fancy, you can use a double boiler to melt, but ain’t nobody got time for that. Whisk to combine the butter and chocolate once fully melted.

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  • In second bowl,  whisk the eggs, sugar and flour. Slowly add the chocolate mixture. SLOWLY. If you dump it in all at once, you’ll curdle your eggs. Ew, grow.

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  • Pour a little chocolate mixture, whisk. Pour a little more, whisk. Etc. (Full disclosure: I just wrote whiskey instead of whisk. Guess what I want now?)

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  • Divide into ramekins – fill about 2/3 of the way up, definitely not to the top. You’ll regret it if you do.

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  • Bake in the preheated ovenfor 13-15 min. Put the ramekins on a small baking sheet to simplify things.

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  • They should puff up a little on the sides and still look slightly uncooked in the middle.The best ever lava cake recipe!
  • Let sit for one minute and then place a small plate on top of each ramekin, and while holding the plate in place, flip the ramekin over onto the plate. (Be careful – you’ll need to use a towel or pot holder that allows you to grip the ramekin well.)

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  • Before removing the ramekin, tap it with a butter knife a few times and let it sit for another minute. Now you can remove the ramekin, and it should slide out nicely and look lovely.

    The best ever lava cake recipe!

  • If you accidentally drop the ramekin on a lava cake and break it, you have to eat it in addition to a pretty lava cake. That’s the rule. Hence, I ate two lava cakes when I made these. True story.

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Hope you love these as much as I do!

Dark Chocolate Lava Cakes

Makes 5 delicious lava cakes. This recipe doubles well for a crowd too!

  • 4 oz bittersweet choc (I always use 1 bar of Ghiradelli)
  • 1/4 lb unsalted butter (1 stick) + extra for greasing ramekins
    • Use Earth Balance if dairy free is necessary. They sell it in sticks for baking.
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 3/4 cups sugar  + extra for dusting ramekins
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 400*.
  2. Using a small piece of butter, rub the inside of the ramekins so they are lightly coated with butter. Use a paper towel to spread if necessary – you need a thin layer of butter entirely coating it. Place a teaspoon or so of sugar in each ramekin and twirl to coat the butter with sugar. Dump out any excess. This is a step you can’t skip or else they’ll stick!
  3. Melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. It should take 60-90 seconds to be fully melted. If you want to go all fancy, you can use a double boiler to melt, but ain’t nobody got time for that. Whisk to combine the butter and chocolate once fully melted.
  4. In second bowl,  whisk the eggs, sugar and flour. Slowly add the chocolate mixture. SLOWLY. If you dump it in all at once, you’ll curdle your eggs. Ew, grow. Pour a little chocolate mixture, whisk. Pour a little more, whisk. Etc. (Full disclosure: I just wrote whiskey instead of whisk. Guess what I want now?)
  5. Divide into ramekins – fill about 2/3 of the way up, definitely not to the top. You’ll regret it if you do.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven (400 degrees) for 13-15 min.
  7. Let sit for one minute and then place a small plate on top of each ramekin, and while holding the plate in place, flip the ramekin over onto the plate. (Be careful – you’ll need to use a towel or pot holder that allows you to grip the ramekin well.) Before removing the ramekin, tap it with a butter knife a few times and let it sit for another minute. Now you can remove the ramekin, it should slide out nicely and look lovely.
  8. Dig in. oooh & ahh at the lava. Serve with ice cream. (I served mine with Arctic Zero mint chocolate chip; vanilla or coconut milk ice cream are other favorite pairings!) I go light on ice cream because I don’t like it to compete with the rich, chocolaty taste. But load up if that’s your thing!!

The best ever lava cake recipe!

Notes:

  • Bring all your ingredients at room temperature before beginning, especially the eggs.
  • Ghiradelli does have a small amount of dairy. If you need to be 100% dairy free (e.g. you’re vegan, can’t have ANY dairy for a severe allergy), be sure to use a different dark chocolate that suits your needs. I haven’t tried other brands.

The best ever lava cake recipe!

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  • Cara's Healthy Cravings
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    Such a great dessert! I think I made a version of these last year for Valentines. I love them warm chocolate lava mixed with ice cream, it’s dreamy!

  • Ashly hutcheon
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    Perfect!! Looks so familiar! ?

  • melissa
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    YUM. also hilarious. I would buy your cookbook just because of your writing haha

  • lynn @ the actor's diet
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    I swear, Lava Cakes never get old!

  • Amy M
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    These were easy and delicious! Your 10 minute goat cheese frittata was also a big hit. Thanks!

  • RLR
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    I’m making these for my birthday next week! Four people – four lava cakes – no leftovers to tempt my raging sweet tooth! I love lava cakes, but haven’t had any since going gluten free. Yay!