Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes For Two
These Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes for Two are the perfect small batch dessert! These lava cakes are incredibly easy to make and ready in less than 30 minutes.
Do you ever have those moments when you want something sweet, but you don’t want to make a huge batch? Maybe it’s just you and one other person living in your home and you really don’t have a need for a lot of desserts. That’s where small-batch desserts come in super handy.
And can I just tell you something? These molten chocolate lava cakes may be my favorite small batch recipe to date, and that’s saying a lot given the number of times I’ve made my small batch chocolate chip cookie recipe.
You can mix everything up for these lava cakes in one bowl and be eating them in less than 30 minutes. Oh, and how perfect would these be for Valentine’s Day?!
This simple dessert for two comes together with minimal ingredients. Here’s everything you’ll need to make these molten lava cakes:
- Unsalted butter: I recommend using unsalted butter since the amount of salt in salted butters can vary between different brands.
- Semi-sweet chocolate: I like to buy a 4-ounce bar of semi-sweet chocolate and save it for whenever I want to make these lava cakes. You’ll only need 2-ounces, so I just cut it in half and save the other half for later.
- Powdered sugar: Be sure to use powdered sugar for this recipe and not granulated sugar. Granulated sugar won’t give you the same texture and the lava filling won’t be as smooth.
- Eggs: Note that this recipe calls for one whole egg and one egg yolk. Save the egg white for breakfast the next morning!
- Vanilla extract: Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
- All-purpose flour: Just 1/4 cup flour is all you need in this recipe.
- Instant espresso powder: The espresso powder just enhances the chocolate flavor in these cakes, it won’t make them taste like coffee. I love to add a little espresso powder to chocolate desserts to make them even more chocolatey.
How to Make Chocolate Lava Cakes
You’ll start out by melting the butter and chocolate together in the microwave. Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, you’ll whisk in the powdered sugar, an egg, one egg yolk, and a little vanilla extract. Then, you’ll mix in some flour and a little instant espresso powder.
I also used two 6-ounce ramekins to bake these and they worked perfectly for this recipe. I have ramekins in a few different sizes and use them all of the time, they’re inexpensive and great to have on hand!
The cakes won’t take very long in the oven, I typically bake mine for right at 13 minutes. The edges should be firm, but the center will be just a little soft. That’s when you want to remove them from the oven, so the center flows out like the picture above!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Omit the Espresso Powder?
Like I mentioned above, the espresso powder won’t make the lava cakes taste at all like coffee; it simply enhances the chocolate flavor. However, if you don’t have any espresso powder, you can feel free to leave it out of the recipe. You can also substitute instant coffee, if needed.
Can I Make This Recipe in a Muffin Tin?
If you don’t have ramekins on hand, you can likely bake the chocolate lava cakes in a muffin tin. I’m not sure if using a muffin tin will affect baking time, but I would just check and remove the cakes from the oven once the edges are firm and the center is still soft.
Can I Prepare These Ahead Of Time?
Yes, absolutely! After you fill the ramekins, cover them tightly with plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator for one to two days. When you are ready to bake them, place them on the counter and let them come to room temperature, then bake as directed.
- I really love Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate bars for this recipe and I use them all of the time in other recipes as well.
- I prefer using Medaglia d’Oro or King Arthur espresso powder. But use whatever kind you like!
- You can really top these molten chocolate cakes with anything you like. A few of my personal favorite toppings are ice cream, chocolate sauce, and homemade salted caramel sauce.
More Small Batch Desserts to Try!
- Apple Crisp for Two
- Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Small Batch Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Small Batch Peanut Butter Cookies
- Chocolate Mug Cake
Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes For Two
- 1/4 cup (60 grams) unsalted butter
- 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate , chopped
- 1/2 cup (60 grams) powdered sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup (32 grams) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray two 6-ounce ramekins well with nonstick cooking spray and place on a baking sheet. Set aside.
- Add the butter and semi-sweet chocolate to a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 20-30 second increments, making sure to stir well after each increment, until melted and smooth. Remove from the microwave and whisk in the powdered sugar until well combined, then add in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix until fully combined.
- Add in the flour and espresso powder and mix until just combined, making sure not to over mix the batter. Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared ramekins.
- Bake at 425° for 12-14 minutes or until the edges are firm and the center is slightly soft. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 1 minute. Carefully invert each ramekin onto a small plate, serve, and enjoy!
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Any chance this recipe could be made with granulated sugar instead of powered? I don’t have any and wondered if I could make a swap because this recipe looks amazing and I want to try it so badly!
I honestly haven’t tried it, so I’m not quite sure.
I was out of powdered sugar and wanted to make these again. I put some regular sugar in my high powered blender and it got close to powdered sugar consistancy. It worked but highly recommend sticking with powdered sugar for a smooth center. These are excellent!
Take regular granulated sugar & if you have a coffee grinder or a powerful blender add the sugar & blend till powdered!
These were SOOOO good!!! This is my first time ever trying (and making) this dessert, and I couldn’t be happier with how the cakes turned out. Will be saving this recipe 🙂
I’m going to try these. There is just my husband and I and extra desserts are dangerous to have around. I don’t have espresso powder but I always add coffee to my chocolate cake. Do you think instant coffee would work?
Yes, you can replace the espresso powder with instant coffee.
I made these for the second time and they are delicious! I did find that they broke when I took them out of the ramekins and the outside was slightly crusty. Any suggestions?
Hi, Kathy! They may have just been slightly over baked. Did you spray your ramekins too? You could try buttering them and dusting with cocoa powder next time and see if that helps.
hi can i use cocoa powder if i dont have semi chocalate how would that be ?
It wouldn’t work for this recipe. You do need the melted chocolate for it to turn out right.
Hi! Do you know if this recipe would need to be adjusted for 4500 ft elevation? Thanks!
I’m not very familiar with high altitude baking, but King Arthur Flour has a great guide for how to adjust recipes for high altitude here.
I had these on the table for two of us in about 30 minutes. They were absolutely perfect. Topped them with fresh whipped heavy cream and baked for exactly 13 minutes. Thanks for such an easy, delicious two-person dessert. I will definitely make this again and will probably also scale up to make for dinner parties.
Can I use regular or decaf ground espresso instead of instant?
You can omit it from the recipe. It just enhances the flavor of the chocolate a little more, but they still taste fine without it!
So good. I looked at several other recipes and decided to try yours. So glad I did.
Made this for Valentine’s Day dessert.
Since I didn’t have espresso, I used instant coffee. Worked like a charm and per your suggestion, baked for 13 minutes.
Thank you for sharing this recipe.
The good: super fast and easy and it’s definitely a lava cake! Mostly ingredients that are easily on hand. One of these would be plenty for two people to share.
The setback: the cake didn’t have the deep dark chocolate richness of the restaurant lava cakes and at 600 calories, 60 carbs, and 37 fats (6 proteins) BEFORE adding any toppings, I would really need restaurant quality for this level of a splurge. Each mini cake has 1/8th a cup of butter…I have to think there is a way to cut this without sacrifice. I may try it with different butter substitutes and see if I can get more of a moist dark chocolate cake (and less fats). Decent recipe, just not good enough to justify the major splurge.
These were great! I happened to have half of a whole egg left over from another recipe, so I used that instead of the yolk (so basically 1.5 whole eggs). They came out totally fine that way!
Can this recipe be multiplied for an 8 or 10 inch round? And if so what would that be? Thank you so much in advance.
Made it for our anniversary. Turned out so good! I swapped all purpose flour to gluten free flour and expresso powder to instant coffee. I baked for 10 minutes and take out of the oven when I saw the outside was cooked. Perfectly melted and gooey inside. Thanks for the recipe.
SO GOOD! And super easy! Thanks for the recipe.
My daughter & I made these for one of my sons birthdays. They turned out so good!! This is my favorite baking website. Everything I’ve made from here turns out perfect!! Thank you Danielle for all of your delicious recipes. You always make your directions easy to follow. Sooo yummy!!!
Thank you, Brenda! So happy to hear that!
This looks so delicious! Can I use use less sugar?
I don’t recommend reducing the sugar in this recipe.
OUTSTANDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I made this for the first time last week. My husband, who could be a food critic, literally licked the plate. I served it with vanilla ice cream, strawberries and caramel sauce. I can’t believe how elegant this simple recipe turned out. “Outstanding” is the only word to use. Danielle, I discovered you and your website about a year ago and because of your tips, recipe descriptions, I have more confidence in my baking. I think I might have to make a folder just for your recipes so I can find them easier!!!
Thank you so much, Pat! So glad you’re enjoying the recipes!
Can I use brewed espresso instead of instant espresso powder?
I don’t recommend it for this recipe.
Oh my goodness. These are so delicious and easy. My college daughter was home and said she had been craving them so I whipped them up while she was doing homework and she was thrilled. I used instant coffee that I ground up into a powder, amazing. Thanks for a great recipe.
Delicious! Could these be frozen for future? Thank you!
I haven’t tried it, but I think it would be okay.
I made these for my Valentine.. he loved it.
These were super easy and super delicious!
Can the lava cakes be frozen?
I haven’t tried freezing them, but I think it would be fine.