Make any day special with these decadent chocolate lava cakes, which are rich and chocolatey and are accompanied by a crunchy, gooey praline sauce. Don’t let the recipe intimidate you – this dessert is deceptively simple to make!

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, May 1999

Serves 6


  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • One recipe of praline sauce (see recipe below):
    • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
    • 1/3 cup of packed brown sugar
    • 2 Tbsp. of golden syrup or corn syrup
    • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup of pecan halves toasted (you can substitute other nuts such as walnuts, hazelnuts, and sliced almonds)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Lightly butter and flour six 1 to 1-1/4″ ramekin dishes or custard cups. Place ramekin dishes in a shallow baking pan and set it aside.
  3. In a heavy, 2-quart saucepan, melt butter and semisweet chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool.
  4. Prepare praline sauce: In another heavy 2-quart saucepan, with a wooden spoon, combine 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, 1/3 cup of packed brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of golden syrup or corn syrup. Stir in 1/2 cup whipping cream. Cook over medium-high heat until the praline mixture boils, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat. Cook, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Cover and keep warm until needed. Makes about one cup of praline sauce. (This sauce is fabulous over ice cream.)
  5. Add the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla to a large mixing bowl and beat with a handheld electric mixer on high speed for about 5 minutes or until thick and lemon-colored. Beat in the cooled chocolate mixture at medium speed. With a sifter, sift the flour and cocoa powder over the chocolate mixture; beat on a low speed until combined. Divide the batter evenly into prepared dishes.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes. Pull cakes from the oven. Using a small silicone spatula or table knife, puncture the top of each partially baked cake and gently enlarge it to make a dime-sized hole. Slowly spoon about 1 tablespoon of praline sauce into the center of each cake. Don’t worry if the praline spills onto the top of the cakes.  Return the cakes to the oven. Bake for 5 minutes more or until the cakes feel firm at the edges.
  7. Cool cakes in the ramekin dishes on a wire rack for 3 minutes. Using a small silicone spatula or table knife, loosen the cake edges from the sides of the ramekin dish and slip the cake out upright onto individual dessert plates. 
  8. Serve with ice cream, gelato, fresh sliced strawberries, or red raspberries. Bon Appetit!
Yvonne Dwyer OPL Master Naturalist and OPL Content Contributor

Recipe compliments of OPL Master Naturalist and Home Chef Yvonne Dwyer

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