This Air Fryer Lava Cake with a molten chocolate centre is rich, decadent and is heavenly topped with ice cream. Ready in under 25 minutes, it is made without any flour and is sure to impress for any occasion.
You will be surprised how easy it is to make the BEST tasting molten chocolate lava cake at home. It is sure to rival any fancy restaurant version! Rich cake with a slightly undercooked gooey molten centre is the ultimate decadence.
They are impressive individual desserts for special occasions such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or just about anytime you are craving something chocolatey like Almond Flour Chocolate Cake or Chocolate Truffles.
It gets its name from the liquid “lava” center, which is hot and flows like a volcano when you dig into it with a fork. It's intentionally under-baked so that the center is still liquid. All you need is some pantry staples to make it very easily in your air fryer.
Why you'll love this recipe?
- Flourless - It is made without any flour making it naturally gluten free.
- Quick and easy - It is made in under 25 minutes including cook time. All you need is an electric beater and there is no need to plan ahead making it perfect to satisfy a last minute craving.
- Serves two - Perfect for a date night at home.
- Texture - A warm, light and fluffy cake with a gooey chocolate centre is heavenly topped with cold ice cream!
- Basic pantry ingredients - It is made using basic baking ingredients like eggs, butter, sugar, chocolate chips and cocoa powder.
This is an easy recipe that calls for just basic ingredients along with optional toppings. Scroll down to the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and amounts.
- Chocolate chips - Use a high quality chocolate like Ghiradelli for the best tasting treat. I like to use semi-sweet chocolate chips which offers a perfect balance of sweetness when combined with cocoa powder but if you prefer dark chocolate, you can use that instead. You can use chocolate chips or chopped baking bar.
- Eggs - This recipe calls for one egg and a yolk. The extra yolks add richness, creaminess and tenderness to the recipe. You can use eggs straight out of the fridge which makes it easier to seperate the yolk.
- Butter - You can use cold or room temperature butter but make sure to use unsalted butter.
- Cocoa powder - We used Hershey's 100% natural unsweetened cocoa.
Substitutions & Variations
Here are some delicious ideas to customize the recipe:
- Peanut butter - Add a teaspoon of creamy peanut butter or almond butter into the centre of the batter in the ramekin before air frying.
- Flavorings - Stir in vanilla extract, peppermint extract, finely grated orange zest, almond extract or ground cinnamon to the batter.
How to make?
You can find full printable recipe below, but here is a quick overview of the procedure along with step-by-step photos.
Step-1 : Prepare ramekins (photos below) - Using a pastry brush, spread room temperature butter in the bottom and the sides of two 6-ounce ramekins (alternatively you can grease them a liberal coating of non-stick cooking spray).
Sprinkle some cocoa powder (or you can use all purpose flour) into the greased ramekins. Gently shake, tap, and tilt the bowl until the sides and bottom is covered in cocoa powder. Invert over the sink and gently tap out any excess powder.
Step-2: Melt chocolate with butter (photos below) - Combine the butter and chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 70 to 90 seconds, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool.
Step-3: Beat eggs (photos below) - In a medium mixing bowl, combine the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and salt. Using an electric beater, beat on high speed until thick and pale yellow.
Step-4: Finish batter (photos below) - Add the warm melted chocolate mixture and cocoa powder into the beaten eggs. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the mixture together until well combined. Evenly divide the batter into the prepared baking dish.
Step-5: Air fry (photo below) - Preheat your air fryer to 370 degrees for 10 minutes. When hot, place the baking dishes into the basket and cook for 9 minutes, until tops are puffed and set.
Open basket and let them cool for 1 to 2 minutes. Using a clean kitchen towel, gently remove the HOT ramekins from the basket. If un molding - run a thin knife around the sides of the pastry to loosen and turn over onto a small serving plate.
- Pre heat - Make sure the air fryer is fully pre heated before cooking.
- Good quality chocolate - We love Ghirdaelli semi sweet chips for this recipe.
- Don't over cook- Overcooking will cause the center to solidify and not be gooey, but still tasty! We used instant vortex 6 quart air fryer and found 9 minutes perfect when cooking two cakes. If your cake doesn’t have enough lava, then bake a minute less next time.
- Grease well - Greasing with a fair amount of butter helps for easier removal. Also don’t skip running a knife along their edges before inverting so they transfer with ease.
- Type of air fryer - Different brands will cook differently so adjust the cooking time accordingly (8 to 10 minutes should be perfect).
- Be cautious when removing from the basket - The ramekins are very hot after baking. We found that a folded dish towel works well to remove.
How to serve?
You can un mold them into a serving plate for a more dramatic presentation or serve straight out the ramekin. If unmolding, run a small knife around the sides of the cake to loosen it and then gently invert onto a plate. Let stand for about 10 seconds, then remove the dish to unmold.
These are amazing served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and fresh berries. There is something about the combination of hot dessert and cold ice cream that just hits the spot! Here are more topping ideas that will pair well:
- Try other ice cream flavors like caramel, chocolate, coffee, almond, mint or chocolate chip.
- Drizzle hot fudge sauce or salted caramel sauce on top of ice cream.
- Use Whipped cream instead of ice cream.
- Toasted chopped nuts or coconut.
Tips for unmolding:
- Butter well without missing a spot- This ensures the cake will easily slide out and won’t stick to the bottom or sides.
- Run a sharp knife around the edge helps to release from the sides.
- Give resting time - Wait for 3 to 4 minutes before inverting.
- Be gentle when inverting - Make sure to invert slowly so that the cake has enough time to release.
Any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days, wrapped individually with plastic wrap. Reheat them in the microwave for 30 seconds or 300 degree air fryer for about 5 minutes before serving. The center won’t be as gooey, but I’d enjoy them regardless!
To Freeze - Sure can! Wrap cooled cakes in plastic wrap, then place in an air tight freezer safe container and freeze for up to two months. To reheat, thaw completely to room temperature, microwave or air fry at 300 degrees until warmed through.
No ramekins, no problem! Use silicone baking cups or 4-cup muffin pan to make 4 smaller cakes. Make sure to reduce the cook time to 6 to 7 minutes.
Yes. Any ovenproof dish, whether it is made of glass, ceramic, metal or silicone are safe to be used in the air fryer.
For this recipe, we use two 6-ounce ramekins. However you could use three 4-ounce ramekins. Just remember that the cooking times will vary depending on the size.
More Air fryer desserts to try:
Air Fryer Lava Cake Recipe
- Prepare ramekins - Using a pastry brush, spread room temperature butter into the bottom and sides of two 6-ounce ramekins (alternatively you can grease them a liberal coating of non-stick cooking spray). Sprinkle some cocoa powder (or you can use all purpose flour) into the greased ramekins. Gently shake, tap, and tilt the bowl until the sides and bottom is completely covered. Invert over the sink and gently tap out any excess powder.
- Melt chocolate with butter - Combine the butter and chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 70 to 90 seconds, stirring every 20 seconds, until completely melted and smooth.
- Beat eggs - Add egg, egg yolk, sugar, and salt into another medium bowl, Using an electric beater, beat on high speed until thick and pale yellow (60 to 90 seconds).
- Finish batter - Add the warm melted chocolate mixture along with 1 tablespoon cocoa powder into the beaten eggs. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the mixture together until well combined. Evenly divide the batter into the prepared ramekins.
- Air fry - Preheat your air fryer to 370 degrees for 10 minutes. When hot, place the ramekins into the basket and cook for about 9 minutes, until tops are puffed and set. Open basket and let them cool for 3 to 4 minutes. Using a clean kitchen towel, gently remove the HOT ramekins from the basket. Serve or unmold on a serving plate. To unmold- Run a thin knife around the cake to loosen the sides from the ramekin. Gently invert the ramekin on the plate, wait for 10 seconds before gently removing the ramekin.
Nutritional information, based on third-party calculations, should be seen as estimates, not guarantees, as various factors like product types, brands, processing methods, and more can alter the nutritional content in recipes.