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Simple Instant Pot Lava Cakes

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Instant Pot Lava Cakes are decadent, single serving cakes with a molten, chocolate filling that are perfect for any occasion.

Instant Pot lava cakes are great for special occasions or if you’re looking for a sweet, single serving treat. They look complicated to make, but these lava cakes are super easy.

I’d put them on the same level as my favorite chocolate cake or even a boxed chocolate cupcake recipe. The key difference with Instant Pot lava cakes, or any lava cake recipe, is timing.

You’ve got to stay on top of everything; otherwise, the cakes will overcook.

Instant Pot Lava Cakes on a white plate.
Instant Pot lava cakes are perfect for holidays and birthdays!

How to make Instant Pot lava cakes:

Like I just mentioned above, lava cakes aren’t difficult but they can be finicky in regards to timing. One of our favorite tried and true lava cakes recipes is this Molten Chocolate Cake recipe from Food and Wine.

I adapted their recipe to make our cakes. Although, I think theirs would work great if you’d rather use it.

Three collage style photos showing the first steps of making lava cakes.
It’s best to prep everything first, then make the batter last.

Start by prepping the Instant Pot. Get the trivet in the place, and go ahead and add 1 cup of water to the stainless steel insert. Set aside.

Grease four, 6-ounce glass ramekins, with butter, then “flour” them well with cocoa powder. Set aside.

In a medium, microwave-safe bowl, melt together the butter and baking chocolate. Stir every 15 to 20 seconds until smooth. Set aside.

Ingredients for the egg portion of lava cake batter.
Work quickly after adding the chocolate mixture, because it can cook the eggs if it’s too warm.

In a separate medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the eggs, egg yolk, sugar, and salt until well mixed light in color. Pour in the chocolate mixture, flour, and espresso powder.

Use a wooden spoon or spatula to fold the ingredients together. The batter will thicken as its stirred.

Scoop the batter evenly into the prepared ramekins. They should be about 2/3 of the way full after all the batter is used.

Place the filled ramekins on the trivet in the Instant Pot (the water should already be in the pot if you did that first). I used a 6-quart Instant Pot for this recipe, and was able to fit 3 ramekins on the bottom with the last one stacked on top.

Collage of photos showing lava cake batter in ramekins.
The batter is very thick, similar to thick brownie batter.

Close the lid and cook for 7 minutes, then do a quick release. There will be some liquid on the tops of the cakes, but that’s fine.

Move quickly use a pot holder to remove the ramekins, and invert them onto plates. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and enjoy immediately!

Instant Pot Lava Cakes with fresh berries.
Enjoy the lava cakes immediately, so the batter doesn’t continue to cook.

Is lava cake raw in the middle?

The center of a lava cake hasn’t set like the top, bottom, and sides. It bakes from the outside in, so the center is the last to setup, which gives it the wonderful molten, gooey center. The center of a lava cake is hot just like the outsides.

Can you add a flavored filling to the center of a lava cake?

Yes! You can add a tablespoon or two of peanut butter, nutella, or dark chocolate to the uncooked batter. A friend of mine has a wonderful post for Instant Pot Lava Cake that explains how to make lava cakes with a variety of fillings.

Why isn’t there “lava” in my lava cake?

If there is no molten center in the lava cake, it may be overcooked. These are very easy to overbake, which will cause the gooey center to set.

When you open the Instant Pot, the cakes will look wet and uncooked on top. Go ahead and remove them, because they’ll continue to cook in the hot ramekins until they’re removed.

Take them out of the ramekins as quickly as possible. Don’t let them sit more than a minute or two; otherwise the smooth center will being to turn into a cake-like texture.

Can you reheat a lava cake?

Personally, I have not had good luck reheating lava cakes. They always turn to cake whenever they’re in the microwave or whenever any additional heat is added.

That being said, a quick Google search will show that plenty of people do reheat lava cakes with success.

Can you save lava cake batter?

We haven’t tried to save the batter, but according to this Easy Chocolate Lava Cakes post, the batter can be saved in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Molten chocolate lava cake with melted filling.

Don’t forget to check out our Instant Pot Lava Cake web story!

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Yield: 4 Lava Cakes

Instant Pot Lava Cakes

Instant Pot Lava Cakes with fresh berries.

Instant Pot Lava Cakes are decadent, single serving cakes with a molten, chocolate filling that are perfect for any occasion.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Water, for the Instant Pot
  • ½ Cup Unsalted Butter, plus extra for greasing ramekins
  • 1 Tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, for the ramekins
  • 6 Ounces Semi-sweet Baking Chocolate
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 Large Egg Yolk
  • ¼ Cup Granulated Sugar
  • ⅛ Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • ⅛ Teaspoon Espresso Powder, optional
  • 2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Instant Pot by placing a trivet in the stainless steel liner, and adding 1 cup of water.
  2. Grease four, 6-ounce, glass ramekins, then lightly sprinkle them with cocoa powder. Pour out any excess cocoa powder, and set aside.
  3. In a small, microwave-safe bowl, melt 1/2 cup butter and baking chocolate. Stir every 15-20 seconds until the mixture is melted and smooth. Set aside.
  4. In a separate medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the eggs, egg yolk, sugar, and sea salt until the eggs are light in color. Pour in the chocolate mixture, flour, and espresso powder, if using. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to fold the ingredients together until well combined.
  5. Scoop the batter evenly into the prepared ramekins. Place the ramekins in the Instant Pot, close the lid, and ensure the valve is set to "sealing." Press the manual (pressure cook) button, and adjust time to 7 minutes.
  6. After the time is up, open the valve for a quick release of pressure. Carefully, open the lid, and use a pot holder to remove the ramekins. Invert each ramekin on a plate to release the cakes.
  7. Serve with fresh berries, powdered sugar, or vanilla ice. Enjoy immediately. Storing/saving the cakes is not recommended.

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 lava cake. Actual calories will vary.

*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.

*The "lava" is thick and not thin like many recipes. It's similar to a brownie batter.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 Cake
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 339Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 247mgSodium: 124mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 0gSugar: 13gProtein: 6g

*The calories are an estimate and are based on the ingredients and serving size listed. The calories can vary depending on the brand of product purchased.

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