Some molten-cake recipes call for simply underbaking the batter so the middles stay lava-like, but mini cakes get done so quickly it's best to give them a filling that won't set up. These rich, mocha-flavored morsels are guaranteed to stay moist and gooey, owing to a simple mocha ganache in the middle. Serve the cakes with a scoop of low-fat coffee ice cream and garnish with a chocolate-covered espresso bean, if desired. Recipe by Nancy Baggett for EatingWell.

EatingWell Test Kitchen
Source: EatingWell Magazine, January/February 2007


Recipe Summary

1 hr 45 mins
Nutrition Profile:


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Generously coat the mini muffin pan with cooking spray.

  • Place chocolate and butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. (Alternatively, see Tip.) Microwave on High for 1 minute. Stir well, then continue microwaving on Medium, stirring every 20 seconds, until the remaining chocolate melts completely.

  • To prepare filling: Stir together granulated sugar, cream and half the espresso mixture in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on High just to steaming, 20 to 40 seconds. (Alternatively, combine in a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until just steaming.) Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add corn syrup and half the melted chocolate (reserve the other half for the batter); stir until completely smooth. Cover and transfer to the freezer until cold and firm, about 30 minutes.

  • To prepare batter: When the filling has been chilling for 20 minutes, whisk egg, oil, vanilla, salt and the remaining espresso mixture in a medium bowl until very smooth. Return the remaining chocolate mixture to the microwave. Microwave on Medium, stirring every 20 seconds, until just warm again (do not overheat). In two batches, whisk the egg mixture into the warm chocolate until well blended. Sift confectioners' sugar, flour and cocoa over the batter and whisk in just until smoothly incorporated.

  • To assemble cakes: Remove the filling from the freezer. Spoon half the batter into the mini muffin cups, about 1 rounded teaspoon per cup. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon filling onto the center of each (reserve the rest for the sauce). Divide the remaining batter evenly among the muffin cups, about 1 rounded teaspoon per cake. Smooth out the batter to cover the filling.

  • Bake the cakes on the middle rack until the edges look dry and puffed but the centers still look very underdone and puddinglike, 6 to 9 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack until firm, about 2 minutes. Place a cutting board on top of the pan and invert the mini cakes out onto it. If the cakes are stuck to the pan, run a knife around and under them to loosen.

  • To prepare sauce & serve: Thoroughly stir very hot water into the reserved filling, 1 teaspoon at a time, until very smooth and slightly fluid. Serve the warm cakes drizzled with the sauce.


Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 5, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. After baking (Step 6), the cakes will keep in the pan, tightly covered with foil, for up to 1 day. The sauce (Step 7) will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To serve, rehea

Equipment: 12-cup mini muffin pan

No Microwave? Melt chocolate in a double boiler instead: Place chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling water. Gently stir until the chocolate is almost melted. Remove from the heat and stir until it melts completely.

Nutrition Facts

246 calories; protein 2.8g; carbohydrates 27.3g; dietary fiber 2g; sugars 19.6g; fat 16.3g; saturated fat 6.8g; cholesterol 45.3mg; vitamin a iu 201.3IU; folate 4.2mcg; calcium 9.6mg; iron 0.6mg; magnesium 2.5mg; potassium 32.7mg; sodium 64.7mg.

Reviews (7)

Read More Reviews
7 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 2
  • 4 star values: 4
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
So good! I made these for my boyfriend who is obsessed with domino's lava cakes. I thought that this recipe looked close enough and was within my limited skill set. A couple of them came out kind of ugly which was my fault because the filling was too close to the edge and spilled out. I also used a regular size muffin tin. The ones that came out right look really pretty. The flavor was good but i think I'll leave the espresso out next time. Now hopefully these will stand up for a couple more hours in the fridge and reheat in the microwave ok like some of the other reviewers said. Pros: not to complicated Cons: needs more batter Read More
Rating: 4 stars
These are really good and decedent but it's a lot of work for 12 tiny little cakes (and I mean tiny). Delicious but I don't think I'd make them again. Read More
Rating: 2 stars
It wasn't that good there wasn't enough liquids so the batter was thick. In addition I measured the proportions correctly but there wasn't enough batter. I wouldn't make this again and I feel sorry for the waste of produce. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Drool-worthy These are mouth-watering super scrumptious morsels of pure delight!:) The recipe looked like a lot of work but when it came right down to it it wasn't all that hard. I used a double-boiler for all the chocolate melting. I also doubled the recipe and used regular-sized muffin cups - it made about 12. I didn't have any trouble with it sticking but I used a LOT of cooking spray before-hand. It took about 7 minutes to bake to the right stage and I did have to run a knife around them but they all came out in one piece. My family LOVED these. They go really well with ice-cream - it helps to cut down on the overwhelming richness of them.:) Read More
Rating: 4 stars
They turned out very nice but they are too small to fill out the muffin cup - so they look more like puffed up cookies than like the nice cones on the picture. Really the recipe should only make 6 not 12 cakes. It was also super-difficult to measure out a tablespoon of batter into the tin. I also felt that there was too much sauce and not enough cake so really the cake batter needs to be increased while sauce - decreased.I am not sure how to tweak the recipe though to make the proportion right. Very quick to make though. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Mini muffin pan It does say to use a Mini muffin pan. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Oh SO Great! I made these last week: I used Splenda too and made 6 "large" cakes using a regular cupcake pan. I strongly recommend either lining your cups with greased parchment rounds (they were hard to get out and a little cake stuck to the pan) or using a mini muffin pan that has the removeable bottoms in the individual cups. Although this recipe was a bit time consuming it was totally worth it! Hubby was seriously craving chocolate and these were a huge hit! Decadent rich satisfying and a PERFECT substitute for the real thing!! These are worth all the effort. I kept them in the fridge and took them out 2 hours before eating them. Then when we were ready to eat them I warmed them slightly (one at a time) in the microwave for 7 seconds ONLY!!! I heated the sauce for 5 seconds stirred it then 5 seconds more (on high for both cake & sauce to warm up). The center of the cakes oozes wonderfully!! I feel better knowing I'm not eating "under baked" cake batter esp. since I'm pregnant!! You'll love this recipe: impressive for company! Pros: Delicious Perfect Substitute For The Real Thing! Cons: A Bit Time Consuming Small Serving Size Read More