Chocolate Molten Fudge Cakes

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. 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.

Chocolate Molten Fudge Cakes

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. Awesome.

One Year Ago: Delicious Ground Beef {or Turkey} Stroganoff
Two Years AgoLemon Crinkles
Three Years Ago: Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli and Smoked Mozzarella

Chocolate Molten Fudge Cakes

Yield: Serves about 10 - can easily be halved

Chocolate Molten Fudge Cakes

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. 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. 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.


    Butter/Sugar Coating:
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • Cakes:
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
  • Garnish:
  • Powdered sugar for sprinkling
  • Warm strawberry or raspberry jam for drizzling
  • Ice cream for serving


  1. 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.
  2. For the cakes, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Serve immediately with a dusting of powdered sugar, ice cream or a drizzle of warm jam.
  9. 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.

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

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).
Molten Fudge Cakes

32 Responses to Chocolate Molten Fudge Cakes {Lower Fat Version}

  1. Jenny says:

    I made these yesterday for Valentine’s Day for my family. Everyone loved them! I made them in a muffin tin, using silicone muffin cups for the extra 2 cakes (since the recipe makes 12). They came out really easily out of the silicone muffin cups. Thanks for the great recipe. We’ll be making them again!

  2. Melissa Lawrence says:

    Is the chopped semisweet chocolate melted before it’s stirred in? Thanks!

  3. Melissa Lawrence says:

    Have you ever tried freezing the cakes for an hour instead of the refrigerator for four hours? I wonder how that would work… I may have to experiment. What do you think?

  4. Julie says:

    Hi Mel! I have a very amateur question. If I am using a muffin tin, do I need to grease my muffin tin before rubbing the butter/sugar coating onto the bottom and sides?
    Thank you for everything!! 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Julie – The butter should be enough to help the cakes come out but it might not hurt to give it a light coating of cooking spray first.

  5. Marta says:

    I made them in silicone muffin cups and they were great. Baking time is a little shorter 12-13 min. They were delicious and fact that you can make them in advance is a lifesaver. Me and fiance are positively addicted to them :).

  6. David says:

    Mel, when you bake using ramekins do you put them directly on the oven rack? Or do you use a baking sheet to hold multiple ramekins at once? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi David – good question! Since I usually put them on a baking sheet to refrigerate, I just put the entire baking sheet in the oven and the ramekins bake while sitting on the sheet.

  7. I am always on the find for delicious chocolate molten fudge cakes for my brother who is a die heart for these!

  8. Adriennne says:

    I made these last night and they were wonderful! I used 4- 20 oz ramekins. Baked one, the rest are still in the fridge. It made a wonderful treat for my husband and I to share after we got the kiddos in bed. He told me I should pop one in the oven today when he leaves work so it will be ready for him when he walks in the door! Thanks for all the wonderful recipes!

  9. These look incredible, Mel! The perfect Valentine’s dessert for my hubby and I. I can’t wait to try them!

  10. cara says:

    Ok Mel, seriously. These were to DIE for! I made them for dessert tonight and A. my kids couldn’t believe I made dessert, B. they wondered if something was wrong because I made dessert, and C. we all LOVED them!

    Thanks for the recipe:)

  11. Lucy says:

    Oh no! I thought I had our Valentine’s dessert all figured out. These look so good I might have to reconsider.

  12. Maria says:

    I halved the recipe because there’s only 4 of us. I used a muffin tin and made 8. I also used mini milk chocolate chips because that’s what I had. They were so delicious. I loved that I could taste/feel the texture of the butter/sugar/cocoa rub from the tins. This recipe is a keeper.

  13. Kim in MD says:

    I agree with Sheila- you put so much into your recipes and your blog, and your recipes are always delicious. Thank you sharing your love of great food and time saving tips with us, Mel! I love chocolate lava cake. This will be the perfect dessert for Valentine’s Day!

  14. Teresa says:

    I am so excited to try this homemade recipe. I bought the silicone cups and lava cake mix from KA Flour and it is very good. But I am out and now will be trying your version. I am going to try them in the silicone cups and see how they come out. I really do like the cup shape for these and they slip out effortlessly. Thanks for a wonderful pre-Valentine’s Day recipe–can’t wait to see what you offer up for that holiday.

  15. Erin says:

    These look great! Do you think coconut oil would work well here in place of the butter?

  16. Katie says:

    I have to eat gluten-free, so I love recipes like this that don’t call for a ton of flour because gluten-free flour sure is expensive!! I will be making these SOON – what an awesome Valentine dessert! Thanks for sharing, Mel!

  17. Curls says:

    Oh my goodness I think my chocolote loving soul just died and went to heaven. I’m so going to try this for valentine’s day

    • Mel says:

      Thank you so much for your kind comments (Sheila, Christina, and others) – it really means a lot to me and is the real motivation that keeps me blogging. So, thanks.

      Marta – I haven’t made these in the silicone muffin forms but it’s definitely worth a try!

  18. heather bell says:

    Well, these look heavenly for a valentines treat or anytime treat!! Not a good thing whne it’s -8 outside.=) I have the best ever cream cheese banana bread recipe. It is so great. Here It is if you or anyone else wants to try it out. It is my go to treat for friends. Easy and seems fancy but it really is easy.

  19. bluebaker says:

    I can envision these decorated up for a romantic Valentine dessert. I’ll also
    second what some of the others have said- you’re amazing with all you do.
    -Just wanted you to know you’ve been keeping me (virtual) company on the night shift at the hospital. I’m temporarily on 3rd, all by my lonesome. When I’m not busy, I read thru some of the old blogs and posts and it is like visiting with a friend.

  20. Marta says:

    I was wondering if you could make them in those silicon muffin forms? I don’t have ramekins or muffin tin :/.

  21. Char says:

    these look soo yummy! I’m making them for hubby (and ME!) VERY soon!

  22. Deliciousness. Can you believe this chocolate lover has never made a molten cake yet? That’s just ridiculous!
    Definitely pinning to my chocolate board. 🙂

  23. These sound perfect! The best chocolate fix 🙂

  24. Yes, exactly what Sheila said above. You work so hard for us! But it pays off: we all know you as the dependable blogger that would never post a recipe flop! These cakes sound awesome! Thanks for testing in muffin tins for us 🙂

  25. Sheila says:

    I am continually amazed at the hard work you put into this blog . . .a wife and mother of five giving us tried and true tweaked recipes that are the best. Your detailed instructions, extra advice about substitute equipment, and explanations of why the necessary procedure such as refrigeration is so important are all eagerly absorbed by this reader. What an inspiration! I can’t keep up with all the goodness you display but I’m trying. 🙂 I’m making your light lemon and spinach spaghetti tonight for supper and the vanilla bean white chocolate mousse cheesecake Saturday for company. Now who can I invite over next week to enjoy these chocolate molten fudge cakes? Obtaining such success with your recipes, I struggle to maintain your attitude of humbleness and graciousness. 🙁

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