3 Different Ways To Create A Lava Cake’s Gooey, Melty Center

That gooey center can be achieved normally or with these genius tips.
chocolate lava cake with dripping chocolate filling

Many things might be more satisfying than breaking into a chocolate lava cake and seeing the gooey centers ooze out of the cake. But you have to admit it’s a delight to witness it, especially if you’re the one who made the dessert. 

If you have attempted to make a lava cake or will try it soon, you might be wondering how it’s done. There are actually three ways to do it so it’s perfectly molten every time.  

Here are three ways to ensure the center of your lava cakes are melty and gooey: 

1 Bake it hot and fast aka the traditional way. 

chocolate cake lava cake image with ice cream
Photo by David Hanson

The traditional way of making the lava cake actually sounds like you’re underbaking the little cakes. The idea behind this seemingly unique way to bake cakes is to bake these individually-sized cake at high heat. This heat will “bake” only the outside of the cakes. That means the tops, bottoms, and sides touching the baking dish will become solid. The longer that the cakes are baked, the more the cakes will solidify. 

That’s why the oven’s high temperature and the baking time are so crucial in a lava cake! You need that oven super hot and the baking time super short to ensure when you pop the cakes out of their ramekins, the centers are hot enough to be safe to eat yet still gooey that it flows out. 

Here’s what you do to make a lava cake: 

  • 1 Preheat your oven to at least 400 degrees F/200 degrees C. (It can be hotter as the recipe directs.)
  • 2 Generously butter and then dust with either cocoa powder or flour your ramekins or appropriate baking tins. Set these aside. 
  • 3 Make your cake batter. 
  • 4 Portion the batter into the prepared baking tins. 
  • 5 Bake for about 10 minutes (or as the recipe directs) or until the tops are just set but, if gently shaken, the centers still jiggle. 
  • 6 Remove from the oven to cool slightly.
  • 7 After a few minutes, gently flip and nudge the cakes out of their tins. Break into the center and enjoy served with ice cream on the side or dusted with cocoa powder. 

The 10 minutes may be super short but it’s enough to cook the outside, heat up the inside to safe temperatures, and get you that gooey melted center you want to see ooze onto your plate. 

2 Drop in a gooey ball that melts. 


Sometimes, the center of your lava cake is not the same as the cake. In these instances, you will have to create the gooey centers separately from the cake batter. To do this, you need to add extra steps to your lava cake recipe.

Here’s what you do to create a gooey center that’s a different flavor from the lava cake: 

  1. 1 Create balls of the mixture you want as the center of your lava cake. This can be softened caramels, chilled peanut butter balls, or frozen Nutella mounds. Keep chilled until ready to add to the baking tins. 
  2. 2 Do the same steps as a normal lava cake up to Step 4. 
  3. 3 Fill the baking tins halfway, drop in your centers, then fill in with more batter. 
  4. 4 Bake as directed. 
  5. 5 Unmold as directed. 
  6. 6 When served, break into the centers and see the gooey center you created ooze out. 

3 Pour the sauce into the center. 

Not everyone is perfect, and when you botch your attempt at the lava cake, there is one way to save your bake: create a sinfully delicious sauce to pour over or serve with your cakes instead. You can scoop out the centers and add a silky pudding to the holes or you can simply melt chocolate in cream and create a decadent fudgy ganache that will double as your lava. 

Whatever you do, a lava cake can be the dessert that makes the end of your meal a sweet and memorable one that you’ll want to recreate again. Here are chocolate lava cake recipes to try: 


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