The Instant Pot is the perfect vessel for making perfect Lava Cakes. Warm, gooey, and oozing with chocolate, these Instant Pot Lava Cakes are swoon-worthy.
What is a Lava Cake?
Molten chocolate cake, otherwise known as Lava Cake is a popular French dessert that is a cross between a souffle and a cake.
People refer to it as Lava Cake because the center of the cake is a liquid chocolate center that oozes out much like molten lava.
It reminds me of warm brownie batter and is absolutely rich, decadent, and delicious.
Why Use the Instant Pot?
However, when it comes to cooking things like cheesecake or these lava cakes, the Instant Pot is a perfect cooking vessel.
The moist heat keeps cooks the outside of the lava cakes but leaves the center slightly gooey. Not to mention, the Instant Pot speeds up the process so you can enjoy this dessert faster than if you baked them in the oven.
What you Need
- Chocolate: Use high-quality semi-sweet chocolate for the best flavor. If using a large chocolate bar, chop up the chocolate into small pieces.
- Espresso Powder: This is optional! The espresso powder helps to intensify the overall chocolate flavor, it does not add a coffee flavor to the dessert itself.
- Ramekins: You will need four 6-ounce ramekins for this recipe.
Step One: Prepare Ramekins and Instant Pot
- Pour 1.5 cups of cold water into the inner pot of the instant pot and place a metal rack/trivet inside the inner pot.
- Spray 4 ramekins with cooking spray and then sprinkle with sugar to coat, dumping out the excess sugar. This helps the lava cake to slide out of the dish easily after it has been baked.
Step Two: Melt the Chocolate
- Place the chocolate and butter into a large heat-safe mixing bowl and microwave for 45 seconds. Stir until chocolate is melted, reheating in 15-second intervals if needed.
- Stir the espresso powder into the melted, warm chocolate.
- Set the chocolate aside to cool slightly while preparing the rest of the batter.
Step Three: Prepare Batter
- Separate 2 eggs, reserving just the yolks.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the egg yolks, with 2 whole eggs, sugar, and vanilla until the sugar is dissolved into the eggs.
- Slowly pour in the melted chocolate, whisking well to combine.
- Using a spatula, fold the flour into the mixture until just combined.
Step Four: Divide Batter
- Evenly divide the batter between the ramekins. I find that a standard ice cream scoop is the perfect way to evenly divide the mixture without making a mess.
- Cover with foil--this is important to keep condensation from forming inside the lava cakes.
Step Five: Pressure Cook
- Place 2-3 ramekins on the trivet and then place another metal rack on top of those ramekins and place the remaining ramekins on top of the 2nd rack. If you don't have a 2nd rack, just carefully stack the ramekins on top of each other.
- Pressure cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
- Once cook time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes--SUPER IMPORTANT!
- Then do a quick release of any remaining pressure and carefully remove the ramekins from the inner pot and let rest for 2-3 minutes before serving.
Step Six: Serve
- Run a knife along the sides of the ramekin and invert onto a plate.
- If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar, top with ice cream or whipped cream, and serve immediately.
Recipe Tips and FAQs
I have tested this recipe dozens of times in both a 6-quart and 8-quart model with success. However, just like ovens, instant pot models can cook differently. If when you peel back the foil your lava cakes do not look solid on the sides or do have a jiggly set in the center, recover with foil and place back in the inner pot. Cook for an additional 1 minute on high pressure with a 2-minute pressure release. There is no need to change out the water in the bottom of the inner pot.
You can prepare the batter up to days in advance. Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Allow the batter to come to room temperature before scooping into greased ramekins and pressure cooking.
While Molten Lava Cakes are best served immediately, leftover cakes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days after they have been baked and cooled. Reheat for 1-2 minutes in the microwave before enjoying.
You can freeze the baked Lava Cakes for up to 3 months. Remove them from the ramekins and allow them to cool completely. Wrap them in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator and then reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.
Make sure to use high-quality chocolate, not your standard semi-sweet chocolate chips, for the best taste and the most ooze or lava. I suggest Guittard or Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate morsels or a semi-sweet chocolate baking bar, such as Lindt, Nestle, or Ghiradelli. Baking bars are sold in the baking aisle, and you should chop the bars up into small pieces before melting with the butter.
YES! Simply swap out the all-purpose glour for a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend.
No! Confectioner's sugar, or powdered sugar, dissolves easily into the batter, while graunulated sugar does not. If you use graunulated sugar, your cakes may turn out to have a gritty texture.
You can use this same recipe and bake the ramekins in a 425 Fahrenheit degree oven for 12-14 minutes until the sides appear solid.
- Leftover Egg Whites: Don't throw away the leftover egg whites. Instead, add them to Instant Pot Egg Bites or an Instant Pot Breakfast Casserole.
- High-Altitude Adjustment: If you live at a high altitude, be sure to adjust the recipe accordingly, using my High Altitude Instant Pot Guide.
More Instant Pot Dessert Recipes
- Instant Pot Creme Brulee
- Instant Pot Chocolate Cheesecake
- Instant Pot Carrot Cake Cheesecake
- Instant Pot Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Instant Pot Cheesecake
If you enjoyed these decadent Molten Lava Cakes, please be sure to leave a comment and rating below.
Instant Pot Lava Cakes
- cooking spray for coating ramekins
- granulated sugar for coating ramekins
- 1 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate (about 6 ounces)
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon espresso powder optional
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- ½ cup confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons flour
- Spray four 6-ounce heat-safe ramekins with cooking spray and then sprinkle with granulated sugar. Shake the sugar around the ramekin to coat all the sides and then shake out excess sugar into the trash or over the sink.
- Pour 1.5 cups of cold tap water into the inner pot of the instant pot and place in a trivet or rack.
- Chop the chocolate if needed into morsel size pieces. Slice the butter into several slices and then combine the chocolate and butter In a medium heat-safe bowl. Microwave for 45-seconds and then stir well. Microwave in additional 15-second intervals as needed to fully melt the chocolate. Once melted, stir in the espresso powder and set to the side to cool slightly.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the 2 eggs, 2 egg yolks, powdered sugar, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until well combined and the sugar has dissolved into the egg mixture.
- Slowly whisk in the melted chocolate to the egg mixture until combined. Fold in the flour until just incorporated into the batter.
- Evenly divide the batter between the four ramekins, using an ice cream scoop for easy, even transfer. Cover each ramekin with foil.
- Place the ramekins on the trivet, stacking carefully on top of each other to fit. You can use a separate rack to place on top of the first layer of ramekins if you have it. If not, just carefully stack the second layer on top of the first layer.
- Using the manual or pressure cook button, set to cook for 5 minutes on high pressure.
- Once cook time has elapsed let the pressure release naturally for exactly 5 minutes. Then do a quick release of any remaining pressure by carefully hitting the vent knob from sealed to venting using a long wooden spoon.
- Carefully remove the ramekins from the inner pot and let sit for 2-5 minutes before serving.
- To serve the lava cakes, run a knife around the edges of the ramekin and then invert onto a plate. Dust with powdered sugar and top with ice cream or whipped cream and serve immediately.