Gluten-Free Lava Cakes: I DO mean to burst your chocolate bubble!

There’s something about warm chocolate melting inside a moist, dark, rich cake that never seems to go out of style.

For years it has been a regular on dessert menus standing alongside its only relentless competitor, creme brulée. Now you can see its tempting face on the front of baking mix boxes promoted by words like decadence, indulgence, and molten.

We call it lava cake. For all the chocolate-crazed dessert lovers out there, THIS is your gig!

Timeless and simple it may be as a dessert celebrity, but it does demand careful clock-watching in the kitchen. Like a soufflé, this type of dessert ages exponentially by the minute after it’s pulled from the oven – the lava firms up, and so does the magic. 🙁

For the perfect balance of cake and chocolate volcanic eruption meltdown, try this fun recipe using our gluten-free chocolate cake mix.

Start by preheating your oven to 375°F. Whisk 1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons gluten-free chocolate cake mix, 1/8 cup cocoa (Dutch-process or natural), 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder together in a medium-sized bowl.

Add 3 tablespoons hot water and 6 tablespoons melted butter, and stir until just combined.

The secret to lava cakes is to minimize the amount of air in the batter, so gentle stirring, please.

Whisk in the egg slowly with an efficient, non-dramatic motion until completely emulsified. The less air that sneaks into this batter, the better!

Lightly grease three silicone baking cups.

Spoon some batter into each cup, so they’re about 1/3 full. For some added chocolate joy, I dropped two lusciously smooth bittersweet disks into the batter halfway through filling each cup. Chocolate overload? No such thing!

Top each cup off with more batter so that they’re about 2/3 full.

Bake the cakes for 14 minutes. When you pull them from the oven, you’ll notice that they look underbaked – which is a good sign that the lava factor will be high! The cakes should reach an internal temperature of about 165°F and appear to have a quarter sized circle in the center that moves when shaken back and forth.

Wait 5 minutes before turning the cakes out. Dumping them out onto a plate immediately will cause the cakes to collapse and the centers to ooze out before you’re ready; and let’s face it, who wants to miss out on the satisfaction that they baked a most perfect molten cake that when cut, will release the most heavenly river of warm liquid chocolate? You’ll want to hear the chorus of ooohs and ahhs emerging from your guests as they cut into and take their first bites.

Doesn’t baking ask for so much of our patience? “Wait until cool before cutting!” “Allow to rise for 1-1/2 hours before baking.” “Chill overnight before serving.” But really, what’s 5 minutes in the grand scheme of this already simple production for such a heavenly chocolate reward?

Nothing, really. It’s all about self-control. In the meantime, you can plate up some sauces like crème anglaise or raspberry purée to accompany your delicious indulgence, or whip some fresh cream to rest on top. Honestly, what DOESN’T go with chocolate?

Please read, bake, and review our recipe for Gluten-Free Lava Cakes.

Print just the recipe.

Amy Trage

Amy Trage is a native of Vermont where she spent much of her childhood skiing and training for the equestrian event circuit. With a strong desire to pursue food writing, Amy took her English degree from Saint Anselm College to the New England Culinary Institute ...


  1. Trudy Bainter

    I used the whole box of cake mix and multiplied the ingredients by six. The recipe worked out great. I got 12 ramekins and ten the regular cupcake size. My family of seven are in heaven eating these delicious bits of yumminess!!

  2. Angie

    So excited to make! I was recently diagnosed with celiac disease. Is this a recipe that my guests and kids won’t realize it’s gluten free?

  3. lizj

    Had an AMAZING pumpkin molten lava cake at Chili’s. Have looked for recipes on line, but the only one I saw had flour in it and didn’t mention leaving the middle wet, so was really only a pumpkin cake with warm caramel sauce. Looked for ways to substitute a thick gooey substance, like pumpkin, for the melted chocolate, but substitution charts say not to use chocolate syrup for ounces of chocolate, so not sure how else to figure it out. If you can figure out how to do this and post it, pumpkin geeks everywhere will worship you!!!

  4. Katy

    Making this right now and I see an egg in the picture but not an egg mentioned in ingredients. Hoping its only one egg. I’m anxious to try this. I have two gf girlfriends coming over and making this for all 8. Thanks for posting.
    I see Amy adding an egg in her picture and she also talks about adding the egg. Plus, I see there is an egg included in the recipe’s list of ingredients. Maybe I am not understanding where you mean? If you continue to have questions, please call us at 1-800-827-6836. We are here until 9pm every day! Elisabeth

    1. Lisa

      These look heavenly. I’m going to try them. I see the egg and yet I don’t see the ingredient list either. Can you point me to it? Thanks!

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      Sure! Under the picture of the lava cake, click on, recipe: Gluten-Free Lava Cakes. That will take you right to it. Happy baking! Elisabeth@KAF

  5. pastan

    Is there an alternative for the silicone baking cups? Would ramekins work? Thanks!
    Ramekins would work, but unfortunately you would not be able to turn the cakes out- you’d need to eat them from the ramekins. ~Amy

    1. Enid

      I’ve used ramekins before and didn’t have an issue. I used softened butter and greased the ramekins and then dusted with the KF gluten free all purpose flour. They released just fine after running a knife around the edge of the ramekin.

  6. catieartist

    These do make a wheat free girl dream a bit, and crave chocolate, with the real possibility of having some lava cake!
    Questions; how difficult or advisable (as I notice you only made three cakes) to double the recipe if having company? Would making two batches be better? Can I let the batter sit in the cups, ready to go in the oven, for a few minutes while I prepare to pull the first batch out of the oven if I cannot bake all of them at once? Any tips for contingencies are appreciated!
    And thanks, Amy, for another fabulous recipe without wheat!
    Happy Holidays,
    Absolutely! You CAN double this for six cakes and I’m so glad you asked because I tested the recipe as a double and then forgot to mention it in the blog and tips on the recipe. don’t let the batter sit out too long, a few minutes is fine, though. Thanks so much for the reminder and enjoy! ~Amy

  7. argentyne

    What perfect timing. A friend of mine has had to switch to Gluten Free for both herself and her son, for health reasons. However, her husband and daughter are not GF. Which makes some instances (like birthdays) a bit more difficult.

    I shall be sending her this recipe right now. And I’ll probably try it in a week or three. 🙂

  8. Wow....

    Thank you so much for this recipe!! I have made the regular lava cakes (from a Bon Appetit recipe) for years…so easy and so spectacular and delicious. Now I can make these cakes for my G-free family members!! I am sending the recipe on to my dau-in-law as the whole family must eat g-free. She will be thrilled!!

    We certainly do our best to share the baking love with as many people as possible! I think these cakes will be a welcome surprise for your GF family members.-Jon


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