This vegan lava cake recipe is the pinnacle of any chocolate lover’s life! Served warm, this tender cake reveals melted chocolate in the center. Easy enough for beginner bakers, you can serve your cakes with fresh raspberries, coconut whipped cream, and more!
The single-serving vegan lava cake is so elegant and yet simple. It’s a winner every time!
What I love about this recipe is the dark chocolate “molten” center and how easy the cakes are to make. That’s saying a lot when you’re talking about a cake that is so soft, tender, and yet firm enough to hold its own.
Lava Cake Ingredients
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:
- Plant-based creamer — I used a vegan half-and-half but you can substitute full-fat coconut milk.
- Dairy-free Chocolate — You’ll need one cup of dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips or 4 ounces of vegan chocolate.
- Flour — Use all-purpose flour. Make a vegan gluten-free lava cake by substituting an equal amount of gluten-free baking flour.
- Sugar — I use granulated sugar for this recipe.
- Cocoa powder — I use natural cocoa powder, but you can substitute dutch-process cocoa powder.
- Vegetable oil — I used canola oil, but any neutral-flavored vegetable oil will work.
- Vinegar — I used apple cider vinegar, but you can substitute lemon juice or white vinegar.
- Toppings — Top your lava cakes with powdered sugar, fresh raspberries, chocolate syrup, or coconut whipped cream.
How to Make Vegan Lava Cake
- Heat vegan cream in the microwave and add vegan chocolate. Stir until smooth.
- Chill the smooth chocolate and then roll into six chocolate balls.
- Make the batter by stirring together dry ingredients.
- Combine the vegetable oil, water, and vinegar.
- Stir the wet and dry mixtures together.
- Add some batter, a chocolate ball, and more batter to each ramekin (or mug).
- Bake until the tops are set.
- Place a dessert plate on top and invert the ramekin to release the cake onto the plate.
- Dust with powdered sugar, top with fresh berries, and serve immediately.
Don’t have a ramekin? You can make vegan lava mug cakes by baking them in a coffee mug instead of ramekins!
To store, let the cakes come to room temperature. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 7 days. Freeze them in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight. Pop them in the oven or microwave until heated through.
Tips for Perfecting Lava Cake
One dessert that never goes out of style is the gooey lava cake. These pro tips will help you perfect your dessert and wow your audience with every bite.
- Chocolate Matters: Dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa provides that rich, intense flavor. Chop it finely, or use chocolate chips for easy melting.
- Perfect Timing: Timing is crucial when baking lava cakes. They should have a gooey center, so don’t overbake.
- Use Ramekins: Invest in ramekins for a consistent lava cake size. Grease them well and dust with cocoa powder to prevent sticking.
- Better Batter: Whisk your batter until it’s smooth and glossy.
- Flavor Variations: Add a pinch of cinnamon, a dash of espresso powder, or a touch of orange zest to infuse unique flavors into your lava cakes.
- Serve with Style: Dust your plated cakes with powdered sugar, add a scoop of vanilla vegan ice cream, and garnish with fresh berries or mint leaves.
Mastering the art of vegan lava cakes will keep your friends and family craving more.
Can you serve lava cake cold?
Lava cake should never be served cold. The whole idea of the lava cake is the melted chocolate in the center of the cake. If your cakes have been stored in the fridge, heat them in a microwave or stove until heated through. I recommend serving it with additional melted chocolate as some of the chocolate may absorb into the cake as it chills.
Can you make lava cake gluten-free?
Make your vegan lava cake gluten-free by substituting high-quality gluten-free flour and making sure the rest of your ingredients are gluten-free as well.
Can you make lava cake vegan?
It’s actually easier to make vegan chocolate lava cake because instead of separating eggs, you make chocolate ganache centers that are baked right into the batter. It produces the same molten chocolate center that we all know and love.
Vegan Choco Lava Cake
- ½ cup plant-based creamer (or full-fat coconut milk)
- ¾ cup dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil, softened
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (substitute gluten-free baking flour)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- ¾ cup cold water
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Toppings: powdered sugar, fresh raspberries, chocolate syrup, or coconut whipped cream. and/or fresh raspberries
For the Chocolate Center:
- To make the ganache center, place creamer in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for one minute. Add chocolate chips, stirring to ensure all are coated. Then cover with a plate and set aside for up to 3 minutes. The chocolate chips should be melted. If not, heat in 30-second increments until the chocolate is melted. Stir until creamy and smooth.
- Cover the melted chocolate and refrigerate (or freeze) until firm enough to handle, at least 30 minutes to an hour. When ready, make 6 chocolate balls. Place the shaped chocolate balls in the fridge while you make the cakes.
For Preparing Ramekins:
- When the ganache is set and you've prepared the chocolate balls, proceed to this step. Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C.
- Grease 6 ramekins with coconut oil then top with cocoa powder. Tilt the ramekin back and forth to spread cocoa powder across all edges. Tap over the sink to remove any excess. Place these on a baking sheet and set aside.
For the Lava Cake:
- In a mixing bowl stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and baking soda.
- In a smaller bowl combine the vegetable oil, water, and vinegar. Stir to combine.
- Pour the water mixture into the flour mixture. Stir until combined.
- Spoon half of the batter equally amongst the prepared ramekins. Place one of the chilled chocolate balls in each dish and cover with the remaining chocolate batter.
- Place the baking sheet with filled ramekins in the heated oven and bake for 20 minutes or so, until the tops are just set. Let cool 2 to 3 minutes.
- When the ramekins are cool enough to handle, run a knife around the inside edge to release the cake from the ramekin. Turn the ramekin over onto a dessert plate, and dust with powdered sugar. Top with your favorite fresh berries, like raspberries. I suggest serving these immediately, but they do well the next day, too.
- To store, let the cakes come to room temperature. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 7 days. They can be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months.
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The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
This post was originally published in 2013 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2022.