This Instant Pot Lava Cake is a chocolate lovers dream - rich, decadent, with the gooey molten chocolate flowing out. The best part they can be made in just 20 minutes, great for those late night cravings or for a party!
They are easy to make, and need very less active effort. The best part about lava cake is that it is also much quicker to make. Just 8 minutes in the instant pot, and you can can't wait for it to cool enough to dig in!
The gooey flowing molten chocolate inside is so good. It is like love at first bite! The liquid chocolate center is called chocolate moelleux (means soft in French).
Top with ice-cream or not. Top with some strawberries or raspberries. We love to dip the strawberries into the molten chocolate....so good!
This is a perfect dessert for a weeknight, as a treat to the family (my girls loved it!) or to serve to guests. In my opinion, this lava cake is the best instant pot dessert you will ever have!
This recipe makes two lava cakes, but you can easily double this recipe and it will work perfectly!
Before the ingredients, let me mention the bowls that you will need to make this lava cake. I have tried this in the instant pot with ramekins (the image of the lava cake topped with ice-cream), pyrex and corolle bowls (image with strawberries above). Small oven-safe bowls of 6oz size work great for this recipes.
This lava cake has very basic ingredients Chocolate, Butter, Sugar, Eggs & Flour. The add-ins are vanilla extract and salt.
For a lava cake, you don't typically add baking powder like in other cakes. But lava cakes have egg yolk added in addition to eggs. We also add very little flour.
I used semi-sweet chocolate to get a balance of flavor that the whole family can enjoy. You can use dark chocolate in this recipe too for a richer taste.
Top with fruits or ice-cream as you prefer. We love to add strawberries or raspberries for a pop of color. Vanilla ice-cream pairs perfectly with the warm gooey chocolate.
How to make?
Start with greasing the ramekins with a cooking spray or melted butter. Add a little sugar in each ramekin and spread it evenly on the bottom and sides. Dust any excess sugar. This helps to make sure the cakes come out easily out of the ramekins. (Note: I have tried with only butter and also butter+dusting with flour, but dusting with sugar makes it easiest to take out the lava cake)
Melt the butter and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Mix the chocolate and butter until smooth. I just microwaved for 30 seconds. If you need to microwave longer, just do it in 15 second intervals.
In another bowl, whisk the egg and egg yolk well. Then add the melted chocolate and butter. Add the sugar, vanilla and salt. Mix well using a spatula.
Fold in the flour with a spatula. Now the batter is ready.
Transfer the batter to the prepared ramekins. Then tap the ramekins against the counter a couple of times to remove any air bubbles.
I like to cover the bowls with a foil so excess moisture does not get in to the cake.
Prepare the instant pot by pouring water and placing the trivet. Place the bowls on the trivet and you are ready to pressure cook them.
It is important to quick release the pressure right away and take out the bowls from the instant pot, as otherwise they might get overcooked and you won't get the molten interior of the lava cake. Use mitts to take out as they are super hot.
If you double the recipe to make four lava cakes, you can stack them. Place 3 on the bottom and stack the fourth at the center. (I love using the instant pot to the fullest and stack bowls - see this instant pot baby food recipe).
If the lava cake bowls seem to have liquid batter when you open them, then you want to put them back and pressure cook for 1-3 minutes more. This can happen for various reasons - altitude or different size and make pressure cookers heat differently.
Place the bowls on a cooling rack, then serve immediately once they are cooled enough to touch.
Lava cakes continue to cook when they rest, so it best to serve as soon as possible!
You can serve the lava cake in the bowl or ramekin. It is more convenient and easy to enjoy!
Or take them out on a plate to see the flowing molten chocolate.
Run a small knife around the edges of the bowl. Then place a plate on top of the bowl and flip it. Tap on the bowl to loosen the cake, then pick out the bowl from the top.
Serve with strawberries or raspberries on the side. Add a scoop of vanilla ice-cream!
You can drizzle a little salted caramel or chocolate syrup on the top.
Now is the time to dig in and get the first bite. Remember it will be hard to stop at one bite!!
Tips for perfect Chocolate Lava Cake in the Instant pot
- Grease the bowls/ramekins well with butter and sugar. This will make it easy to get the lava cake out to serve.
- Do not over heat the chocolate and butter when melting. Melt in small bursts of 15-30 seconds.
- Use good quality chocolate. I prefer a bar over chocolate chips for this recipe.
- Cover the bowls/ramekins with foil so excess water does not get in to the cake.
- Quick release the pressure as soon as the instant pot beeps and take out the lava cake bowls using mitts. The lava cakes can overcook easily, hence you want to take them out quickly and let them cool.
- Enjoy as soon as they are cool enough to touch. We prefer them when they are warm and gooey!
Peanut Butter Lava Cake: Fill the ramekin half way, then spoon in 1-2 tablespoon of peanut butter (or almond butter). Then top with the rest of the prepared batter. Cook for 9-10 minutes on high pressure, and follow the rest of the recipe as is.
If the peanut butter is too thick to spoon in, microwave in a small bowl for 15 seconds before topping on the batter.
See below pictured the lava cake with peanut butter. My family enjoyed the peanut butter lava cake more compared to almond butter cake.
Most likely you wont have any leftovers for this small portioned lava cake recipe for two. They are hard to resist. But if you do, and want to save for later. Let them cool completely, cover with a cling wrap and refrigerate. Remember they would be as molten lava-y when reheating.
It is best to reheat lava cake in the microwave for 20-30 seconds until they are just warm.
I wont recommned to make the cakes in advance. It is best to make the batter in advance and refrigerator for 1-2 days. Then before you start preparing, take the batter out and leave it on the counter to come to room temperature before cooking.
Enjoy these decadent Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes and don't forget to share back how they turned out!
Easy Instant Pot Lava Cake
- ¼ cup Unsalted butter plus more to grease the bowls
- ½ cup Semi-sweet Chocolate about 3oz, small pieces from a bar or chocolate chips
- ⅓ cup Powdered Sugar 1.2oz, plus more to coat bowls
- 1 Egg large
- 1 Egg yolk
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- 3 tablespoon All purpose flour 0.88oz
- ¾ cup Water to add to instant pot
- Powdered Sugar sifted
- Strawberries or Raspberries
- Mint leaves optional
- Vanilla ice-cream optional
- Prepare bowls: Take two oven-safe ramekins or bowls. Coat the inside with softened butter and dust with sugar making sure entire bowl is coated with sugar. Remove any extra sugar. Set aside.
Make the batter:
- In a microwave safe bowl, mix butter and chocolate. Microwave 30 seconds to melt. Mix till smooth. Add more time if needed.
- In a large bowl, add the egg and egg yolk. Whisk till mixed.
- Add the metled butter and chocolate to the bowl.
- Add sugar, vanilla and salt. Mix well.
- Add flour and fold it in.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared bowls. Cover each bowl with aluminum foil.
Cook in Instant Pot:
- Add water to the instant pot steel insert. Place the trivet.
- Place the covered bowl on the trivet.
- Cook on pressure cook or manual mode on high pressure for 8 minutes.
- When the instant pot beeps, quick release the pressure manually. Remove the lid and carefully take out ramekins using oven mitts.
- Let bowls sit on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Remove the foil.*
- Enjoy as is or take them out on a plate to serve.
- Run a small knife along the inside of the bowls to loosen lava cake. Carefully place a small plate over one of the bowl and flip it. Tap on the bowl so the lava cake loosens. Remove the bowl from the top. Repeat for other ramekin.
- Top with sifted powdered sugar and strawberry. Optionally, serve with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.
Note: Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.