These decadent gluten-free chocolate lava cakes are the perfect dessert for any special occasion. Rich chocolate cake with a fudgy molten filling, made in less than 20 minutes!
There's something special about chocolate lava cakes, also known as molten lava cakes. I think it's the aspect of having an individual mini decadent dessert, all to yourself, one that looks impressive and tastes indulgent. They have a rich chocolate exterior with a warm gooey center, which is every chocolate lover's dream. Perfect for Valentine's day, Galentine parties, or any special occasion. Surprisingly, this gluten-free lava cake recipe is super easy to make, with a high-end look, that will leave all of your guests impressed.
- Dark Chocolate Bars: If you like dark chocolate, look for a dark chocolate bar that's 60-70% cacao. Semi-sweet bars can be used but will make the lava cake much sweeter. You can use dark chocolate chips, but because of the stabilizers, the chocolate lava will not ooze as much as the chocolate bars.
- Butter: Unsalted butter or ghee works great in this recipe. You can also use melted coconut oil as a dairy-free option.
- Coconut Sugar: Coconut sugar gives this recipe rich caramel undertones. You can use any kind of sugar to your liking; cane sugar, brown sugar, or even maple sugar.
- Almond Flour: This recipe is very versatile. To keep things gluten-free and grain-free, I used a touch of almond flour. You can also use gluten-free flour.
- Eggs and Egg Yolks: The whipped whole eggs and egg yolks help the molten cake to rise and give the cake a sponge-like texture.
- Salt: Just a pinch of salt helps balance the flavor.
- Vanilla Extract: Use a high-quality vanilla extract for the best results.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: I use this to dust the ramekins, prior to baking. You can also use flour, but the exterior of the cakes with have a slight floury tint.
- Espresso Powder (optional): Espresso powder helps enrichen the chocolate flavor.
Preheat the oven to 450° F. Butter and lightly dust the bottom of the (4-6) ounce ramekins with unsweetened cocoa powder. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet.
In a microwave-safe bowl, add the chopped chocolate and butter. Microwave high in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until smooth. It should take about 60-90 sections. Once melted, stir in the espresso powder.
While the chocolate melts, in a large bowl, beat the eggs with the egg yolks, coconut sugar, and vanilla extract at high speed until thickened and pale. This will take around 3 minutes.
Add the melted chocolate, almond flour, and salt to the egg mixture.
Fold in the ingredients, stirring until combined.
Using a large ice cream scoop, divide the batter evenly into the prepared ramekins.
Bake for 7-9 minutes. The sides of the cakes should be set, but the centers soft. Let the cakes cool in the ramekins for 1 minute.
Run a clean knife around the edges of each cake to help loosen them, then cover each ramekin with an inverted dessert plate. Carefully turn each one over, let stand for 10 seconds and then remove the ramekins.
Add a light dusting of powdered sugar over the top, and serve with vanilla ice cream.
Ramekin Size and Baking Time
To get that perfect gooey chocolate molten center, make sure to watch the baking time. Depending on your size ramekin will depend on how long to bake your molten chocolate cakes. I use 5-ounce ceramic ramekins but you could go up to 8 ounces. Anything higher than 8 ounces is not recommended.
Every oven is different so the cooking time will vary, but you will know the cakes are finished baking once the center reaches 150°F. The lava cakes will continue to bake once removed, and reach a temperature of 160°F which is safe to eat.
- 4-ounce ramekin: 7- 8 minutes baking time
- 5-6 ounce ramekin: 7- 9 minutes baking time
- 7-8 ounce ramekin: 9 - 11 minutes baking time
You can add a teaspoon of the following to the center of each molten cake, prior to baking.
- Peanut butter
- Almond butter
- Raspberry jam
Chocolate Lava Cake Toppings
We love serving these chocolate lava cakes with a dusting of powdered sugar and vanilla bean ice cream. Here are some other ideas:
- Ice cream: vanilla bean, coffee, or mint chip
- Whipped cream
- Fresh berries
- Salted peanuts
- Salted pistachios
- Caramel sauce
- Chocolate ganache
- Flaky sea salt
These chocolate lava cakes can be made in advance up until the baking point. Store the ramekins with chocolate batter covered, in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before serving. When ready to bake, pull the ramekins out of the refrigerator while the oven preheats, and proceed to bake.
Chocolate lava cakes are best served immediately after they are baked, they do not reheat well.
Yes, you can make the lava cake batter up to 24 hours in advance. Pour the batter into the ramekins, cover, and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
I recommend using between a 4-6 ounce ramekin for best results.
Yes, you can use gluten-free flour instead of almond flour.
The edges of the cake should be cooked all the way around with the center slightly soft. A cooked-through lava cake will measure 160°F. The cakes continue to cook after removing them from the oven. I like to pull them out once they reach 150°F.
You can use a 6-cup jumbo muffin tin and bake the lava cakes at 450° F for 7-9 minutes, or use a regular 12-cup muffin tin and bake for 6-8 minutes.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Lava Cakes
- 6 ounces dark chocolate, (60-70% cacao bars) finely chopped
- ½ cup butter, plus extra to butter ramekins
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons (14 grams) almond flour
- 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting ramekins
- In a microwavable bowl, add the chopped chocolate and butter. Microwave on high for 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until smooth. It should take about 60-90 sections. Once melted, stir in the espresso powder. Set the bowl aside.
- In a large bowl at high speed, beat the eggs, egg yolks, coconut sugar, and vanilla extract until thickened and pale. This will take around 3 minutes.
- Pour the melted chocolate mixture into the large bowl. Add the almond flour and salt. Fold in the ingredients, stirring until combined. Using a large ice cream scoop, divide the batter evenly into the prepared ramekins.
- Using a large ice cream scoop, divide the batter evenly into the prepared ramekins. Bake for 7-9 minutes. The sides of the cakes should be set, but the centers soft.
- Let the cakes cool in the ramekins for 1 minute. Run a clean knife around the edges to help loosen the cakes, then cover each ramekin with an inverted dessert plate. Carefully turn each one over, let stand for 10 seconds and then remove the ramekins.
- Finish the cake with a dusting of powdered sugar and serve immediately with ice cream or whipped cream if desired!