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Gluten Free Chocolate Lava Cakes

Gluten Free Chocolate Lava Cakes

It’s February, so we’re in full Valentine 💕 mode now. Try these gluten free chocolate lava cakes for maximum impact with minimum effort!

Restaurant-style gluten free chocolate lava cakes with a warm, gooey center. For your Valentine, or any time!

Chocolate lava cakes are one of those miracles of baking, like magic custard cake and crêpes: simple pantry ingredients combined in just the right way to make something really special.

Restaurant-style gluten free chocolate lava cakes with a warm, gooey center. Here's how to make them, step by step.

If you’re dead set against baking them in a water bath (called a bainmarie), you don’t really have to. But the water bath is what all but assures that the cakes will bake slowly and gently enough that the top will be set and the very center smooth and lava-like. It also makes baking times much more forgiving.

Restaurant-style gluten free chocolate lava cakes with a warm, gooey center. For your Valentine, or any time!

When you invert the cakes onto a plate or serving platter, the tops should be set enough that the cakes can actually be moved around and even transferred from one plate to another.

Restaurant-style gluten free chocolate lava cakes with a warm, gooey center. For your Valentine, or any time!

The recipe calls for baking the batter in individual 4-ounce ramekins, which are really quite small. The cakes are super rich, though, and a 4-ounce serving is generally enough to satisfy even the most dedicated chocolate-lover. But if you don’t have that size baking dish, fill whatever size heat-safe dish you have 3/4 of the way with batter, bake in a water bath, and serve with multiple spoons. It’ll be romantic and stuff.

On a personal note, when I first posted this recipe on the blog, it was the day my gluten free son turned 9 years old. Tomorrow, he turns 12 (big boy!), and I have to say … he doesn’t absolutely love chocolate and he couldn’t make it past 2 bites of this cake before he called it quits. Who is this child??

Restaurant-style gluten free chocolate lava cakes. Rich chocolate cakes with a molten center, for your Valentine—or any time!
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Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 4 mini cakes


4 tablespoons unsalted butter (plus more for greasing)

5 ounces dark or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) + 2 egg yolks (50 g)

1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 tablespoons (26 g) all purpose gluten free flour blend (truly almost any finely ground flour blend will do, with or without xanthan gum)

1 tablespoon (5 g) unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)


  • Preheat your oven to 425°F. Grease very well the entire insides of 4 4-ounce oven-safe ramekins, and set them in a casserole dish with at least 2 inch high sides, and set aside.

  • Melt the chocolate and 4 tablespoons butter together in a double boiler or a microwave-safe bowl (melt at 70% power in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth), stirring frequently until just melted. Set the chocolate mixture aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the eggs, egg yolks and sugar and vanilla, and whisk to combine. The mixture will be very yellow in color and thin in consistency. Whisk vigorously (this can be done more easily with a mixer) until the mixture is very pale yellow in color and thickened in consistency. Drizzle the chocolate and butter mixture into the large bowl with the thickened egg mixture, whisking constantly until combined. Add the flour, cocoa powder and salt, and whisk to combine well. The mixture will be somewhat thick, but pourable and smooth. Pour the mixture carefully into the 4 prepared ramekins, filling each 3/4 of the way full.

  • Place the casserole dish with the filled ramekins on the bottom rack of the preheated oven, and carefully fill the casserole dish with cool tap water until the water reaches about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Close the oven and bake until the tops of the cakes are set and are just beginning to pull away from the sides of the ramekins, about 15 minutes. If you used smaller ramekins, bake for a few minutes less; larger ramekins will take a few minutes more.

  • Remove the dish from the oven and lift the ramekins out of the casserole dish with tongs. The water bath will be boiling, so move carefully and deliberately. Place the ramekins on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes before turning each cake out onto a small plate, and dusting with confectioners’ sugar. Serve immediately.

  • Prepare Ahead Instructions: These are super easy to prepare ahead of time. Simply follow the recipe through Step 3 above. Cover the casserole dish (or each of the ramekins individually) tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until almost ready to serve. Remove from the refrigerator, and proceed with the remaining recipe instructions.

  • Originally published on the blog in February 2013. 



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  • Jean E.

    Yay!!!  These look amazing!  I found a GF recipe on the internet for these this weekend and tried it and I was disappointed in them. My birthday is later this week and I wanted to make these for my treats!  Thank you!

  • Holly

    Oh. My. Soul. I nearly licked the screen. Knocked it out of the park again! Will you be my mommy and make these for me on my birthday?

  • These look so yummy and simple! I love the dusting of powdered sugar. Can’t wait to try with some warm raspberry sauce drizzled on top :)

  • Jennifer S.

    these look ah-may-zing!  going to make them sometime soon for my sweeties! :)

    Thanks for all you do!

  • Donna

    This is my grown son’s favorite birthday treat.  I found out last year, when I was tired, to bake them the day before, refrigerate and warm up in the microwave. They were perfect. We eat them warm with vanilla ice cream on top right out of the ramekin.

  • kclark

    Happy Birthday! You know it is also the parent’s day too since you brought him into the world.  I have really wanted to make these and now I have good reason.

    So I made your Pumpkin Crack Cake.  I doubled it and it was gone in a snap off the Super Bowl dessert table. Poof! I whispered to the Celiacs that it was GF but no one else knew and all the glutens ate it and loved it.  Great job on that little gem of a recipe.

    Lava cakes. Yum! 

  • I will be making these for my Valentine this year!!!  Cannot wait

  • Carole


  • Happy Birthday Jonny!  Nicole, you are totally awesome!  My teenager has been boo-hooing about not being able to eat chocolate lava cakes anymore and, TADA, here’s the recipe.

  • Michelle

    I use a bain marie for cheesecakes, and it is totally worth the little bit of extra effort for the amazing, creamy texture. My husband, daughter and I always make a fancy little dinner for Valentine’s Day, and since we are a pack of raving chocoholics, I know this will be perfect for this year.  Thanks so much!

  • Happy Birthday to your sweet birthday loving son! What a lucky kid to have a baking genius for a mom. My family is going to freak out over these cakes, by the way.

  • Jess

    Are you kidding?!?!  I swear you are my favorite person ever.  I LOVE chocolate cake and so does my son… we are making this for lunch today.  Okay… maybe I’ll hold off for dessert tonight.  Maybe.  

  • Happy Birthday to your big guy! And I must say my heart skipped a beat when I saw this. :) My little one loves chocolate more than I and I never thought that was humanly possible until she came along. Anyhow, this will be made this weekend and I can not wait for us to dig into this together. :) Thank you so much for taking the time to create these beautiful recipes and share with us. I know it takes a lot of work! Creating and perfecting the recipe, getting the perfect photos, writing the post for the blog. For anyone out there that has never done this trust me it’s a lot of work and if done frequently it’s a full time job. So with that being said I wanted to let you know that I 100% love and support the hard work you are putting in. Every recipe of yours that I have tried we have loved.  I just purchased your quick and easy cookbook and I can not wait to get it in my hands. Amazon can’t ship it fast enough. Thanks again for everything. You are truly amazing. :)

  • Pingback: Vegetarian, Gluten Free Roundup: A Whole Ton of Valentine’s Sweets()

  • BobbieH

    I made these over the weekend, taste was good and my guests couldn’t tell the difference with the texture of the gf flour, I did mess up and cooked them a a minute or 2 to long and didn’t get the melty goey lava :( will try again ! thanks for the recipe :)

  • Jennifer S.

    These have also been on my mind….. thanks for reminding me it’s out there. But essentially, I know whatever I need is on your blog or in one of your cookbooks, so I usually don’t panic! :) can’t wait to make these!!

    • Jennifer S.

      I also realized that I’ve been around for 3 years because I originally commented way back then. wowsers! :)

      • How awesome is that, Jennifer?? If you went away, rest assured I’d hunt you down. :)

  • Victoria Donaldson

    just two days ago I made the three ingredient chocolate cake for 1 and thought I wonder if Nicole has a lava cake recipe,,, Tada! Thanks so much, will make for my chocolate loving sisters on the weekend. :)

  • Gigi

    Ingredient say flour with or without xanthan gum. The directions say to mix xanthan gum with the flour, Coco powder and salt. So my question is gum or no gum and if so how much?

    • youngbaker2002

      Hi Gigi!
      I think Nicole means that it doesn’t really matter as far as the final outcome of your finished product if there is xanthan gum or not in the gluten free blend that you use. What i have found from experience is that batters that have xathan gum in them are slightly thicker than ones without so in this case it may be a little difficult to distribute you batter fairly evenly, but other than that it really shouldn’t matter.
      I really hope that that will help you Gigi!

  • Ginna Scarborough Bird

    I made these tasty treats for Valentines Day for the family. The only change I made was substituting vegetable shortening for butter (oldest can’t tolerate any dairy). The entire family loved it. I used a flour mix with xantham gum and might try without next time, to have an easier consistency to pour.

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