This lightened up version of classic chocolate molten fudge cakes is a perfect way to end a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner.

I’m kind of sad it took me over six months to try out this recipe after my friend, Lesli, sent it to me, and even more sad (for you) that it took me longer to post it.

I feel a bit guilty that while you were living in complete ignorance about the divine attributes of chocolate molten fudge cakes, I was enjoying them time and time again and falling completely in love with their insane chocolate deliciousness.

White plate with raspberry sauce and a chocolate molten cake sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Can you forgive me?

Throughout the five or so times I’ve made these, I’ve taken the original recipe and tweaked it a bit. You know, using real eggs in place of an egg substitute, adding a little decadence by spreading a delightful mash of cocoa, butter and sugar to the dishes before filling and baking, adapting the baking so it can work using a muffin tin (in case you don’t have any of those little ramekins sitting around; see the picture below the recipe).

Things like that.

Top view of a chocolate molten cake sprinkled with powdered sugar on a white plate.

These lovely cakes are just slightly different than the chocolate molten cakes that have been popular for forever.

Instead of a lava, runny center, these babies have a luscious, fudge-like middle (hence the name of the recipe).

Soft and warm and creamy; totally perfect with the tender encasing of chocolate cake. And don’t even get me started about what happens when they are served with a scoop of ice cream.

Holy moly.

Not that these are healthy (cause they aren’t), but I rest a little easier at night knowing that for a serving of 10 (which can easily be halved), there is only 4 tablespoons of butter in the batter…quite a drop from some of the popular recipes around that use upwards of 16 tablespoons of butter for less servings.

The truth is, though, I don’t love them because they are lower fat. I love them because the crazy intense decadence of chocolate bliss is a perfect fit for my chocolate-loving soul.

Keep in mind, also, that these cakes are really simple and quick to mix up and even though they need to be refrigerated a bit before baking, that can actually work in your favor because they can be prepped up to 2 days in advance and baked when you need them.


Here’s a quick snapshot of the cakes baked in muffin tins and overturned which makes a great option for those who don’t have ramekins (or enough ramekins).
twelve mini chocolate cakes on a cookie sheet

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Chocolate Molten Fudge Cakes

4.70 stars (13 ratings)


Butter/Sugar Coating:

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder


  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • cup (57 g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup (57 g) salted butter, softened
  • cup (141 g) granulated sugar
  • cup (141 g) lightly packed brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • cup (57 g) finely chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate


  • Powdered sugar for sprinkling
  • Warm strawberry or raspberry jam for drizzling
  • Ice cream for serving


  • In a small bowl, mash together the butter, granulated sugar and cocoa (for the butter/sugar coating) until well-combined. Using a pastry brush or your fingers (no really, it works), rub the mixture evenly into the bottom and up the sides of 10 (4-ounce) ramekins (see note for other dish options). Set aside.
  • For the cakes, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
  • In a medium bowl beat the butter (with a handheld electric mixer or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer) until light and creamy, 1-2 minutes. Add the granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium-high speed for 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until pale and thick, about 4 minutes. Don’t scrimp and take time off of the mixing times indicated. It might seem like too long but it helps the cakes to be airy and moist. Fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until there are no dry streaks. Stir in the chocolate.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the ramekins (or muffin tin if using – see note). Cover lightly with plastic wrap (this is easily done with ramekins by placing them all on a sheet pan and covering them with one sheet of plastic wrap versus tearing off a bit of plastic wrap for each ramekin). Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the cakes from the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature while the oven preheats, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the plastic wrap from the cakes and bake them for 14-15 minutes (slightly less if using muffin tins), until the edges of the cake are puffy and slightly crusty on top.
  • Serve immediately with a dusting of powdered sugar, ice cream or a drizzle of warm jam.
  • If using ramekins, I serve them right out of the ramekin, however, you can turn them out of the dish onto a plate for a more fancy presentation. Of course using the muffin tin, you will want to turn them out unless you are keen on everyone swarming around the muffin tin with spoon in hand. Talk about family-style. To turn them out of the muffin tin, I place a piece of greased parchment paper onto a baking sheet or cooling rack (greased-side up) and place it on top of the muffin tin (so now the greased-side of the parchment is down on top of the cakes) – then holding on to the baking sheet and muffin tin at the same time, I flip the muffin tin over so the cakes fall right out onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet or cooling rack (if it isn’t greased, the cakes will stick). Then the cakes can be easily scooped with a spatula into a small bowl or serving plate.


Ramekins: you can use any size of ramekin, really. The recipe makes about 10 (4-ounce) ramekin-sized cakes. You could get about 8 cakes with 6-ounce ramekins and if you don’t have ramekins at all, never fear! You can use a muffin tin. The key is not to overfill the muffin tin. This makes about 14 standard muffin-sized cakes.
Plan Ahead: keep in mind that the prebaked cakes need to be refrigerated for at least 4 hours (this helps the fudge center stay molten while baking). The good news is that they can be refrigerated for up to 2 days which makes them a great make-ahead dessert.
Serving: these little beauties need to be served immediately out of the oven – if left for a while, the molten center solidifies a bit and the edges of the cake aren’t quite as soft.
Serving: 1 Serving, Calories: 278kcal, Carbohydrates: 42g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 93mg, Sodium: 217mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 32g

Recipe Source: adapted from a recipe in Cooking Light that my friend Lesli sent me ages ago with a few personal additions like the cocoa/sugar coating to the ramekins (that part inspired by a recipe I saw in Cuisine at Home) and a bit of tweaking of ingredients/method