Gluten-Free Chocolate Lava Cake – Super fudgy with a gooey molten chocolate filling, this flourless chocolate lava cake makes a perfect special occasion dessert! (Dairy-free, gluten-free & paleo)
I don’t think it’s a secret that I really (like REALLY) love chocolate.
And there’s nothing that feels more delightfully (chocolatey) vintage than a good old-fashioned chocolate lava cake.
Sometimes called chocolate pudding cake or molten lava cake, chocolate lava cake is a brownie-like, single-serving chocolate cake that’s briefly cooked at high heat so the edges puff and cook through, leaving a gooey, pudding-like chocolatey center that makes life worth living.
This lava cake also just so happens to be (naturally!) gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo AND naturally sweetened without missing any of that classic deeply chocolatey goodness.
And if that hasn’t convinced you to try it, maybe this will…
Here’s What Goes Into My Gluten-Free Chocolate Lava Cake Recipe:
- DAIRY FREE CHOCOLATE. Our gluten-free lava cake starts with chocolate chips. We’re dairy-free, so we use dairy-free chips, like these or these, but you can use whatever is your favorite. I recommend semi-sweet for the best balance of flavors, but you can also get away with dark (or milk chocolate, if you’re not dairy-free). You can even use stevia-sweetened chocolate chips if that’s your jam.
- COCONUT OIL (OR BUTTER). You can make these chocolate lava cakes with coconut oil, butter, or vegan butter. All 3 will work. (If you want to use coconut oil but don’t want any coconut taste, refined coconut oil is much more neutral.)
- EGG + EGG YOLK. For some serious richness and just the right puff, I use a combination of one egg and an egg yolk. (I toss the leftover egg white in a scramble the next morning.)
- COCONUT SUGAR. I like coconut sugar because it adds caramel-y undertones without any coconut flavor. It’s also lower on the glycemic index, so it helps a bit here. And, it’s considered a paleo-approved sweetener, so these are paleo chocolate lava cakes!
- UNSWEETENED COCOA POWDER. This is actually a flourless lava cake recipe thanks to cocoa powder! Unsweetened cocoa powder adds structure, plus a richness and a deeper color I love. (No flour needed!)
- VANILLA. I love plenty of vanilla with my chocolate, so my lava cake recipe uses a generous teaspoon.
- SALT. To keep the flavor balanced, I also add some salt. If you’re making your lava cakes with salted butter, you may want to skip the added salt or reduce it slightly. It’s up to you!
Yummy Ways To Serve This Gluten Free Chocolate Lava Cake:
Molten lava cake is typically a fairly stand-alone dessert and doesn’t need a lot of extra fuss to look and taste amazing. Some of our favorite ways to serve it are with:
- A dusting of powdered sugar (simple and pretty, though not paleo)
- Whipped Cream or Whipped Coconut Cream
- Raspberry Sauce (I love this!) or a Homemade Cherry Sauce
- Fresh Berries
- Vegan Caramel Sauce (this one’s our fave)
- A sprinkle of Cocoa powder
- A scoop of vanilla ice cream (NadaMoo makes a good dairy-free vanilla!)
- Toasted Almonds
FAQ + Tips And Tricks For Perfect Flourless Lava Cake:
HOW TO KEEP LAVA CAKE FROM STICKING. Lava cake is SUPER easy to make, but it does have a tendency to stick. If you plan to turn your lava cakes out onto plates rather than eating them straight from the ramekins, I recommend generously greasing them (with coconut oil, butter, or spray oil), sprinkling a little cocoa powder (a little sieve prevents clumps!), AND lining the bottoms with small circles of parchment paper. (I trace the bottom of the ramekin onto parchment, then cut them out so they fit neatly into the bottom.)
DO YOU EAT LAVA CAKE ON A PLATE OR STRAIGHT FROM THE RAMEKIN? It’s up to you! I did a quick Instagram poll and 75% of the respondents said they prefer eating it straight from the ramekins rather than turning the cakes out onto plates. It’s MUCH easier in my opinion, though it doesn’t give that molten lava cake volcano appearance that you get from a plate.
WHAT SIZE RAMEKINS SHOULD YOU USE FOR LAVA CAKE? You’ll want to use 6oz. ramekins (like these or these) for this lava cake recipe. If you use larger ramekins (8oz, 10oz, etc.) the baking time will not be the same, and you run the risk of over-cooking the lava cakes or having extra difficulty getting the cakes out.
CAN YOU MAKE LAVA CAKE AHEAD OF TIME? Technically yes, though I only really recommend this if you plan to eat them from the ramekins. I recommend slightly under-baking them so that you can reheat them in the oven for a couple of minutes (or microwave for just a few seconds) and still have that gooey center.
HELPFUL INGREDIENTS & TOOLS FOR THESE LAVA CAKES: