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Copycat Chili’s Molten Lava Cakes [+ Video]

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Homemade molten lava cakes are way easier to make than you’d think, and that hot fudge oozing out is such a crowd pleaser! Don’t forget to serve with a scoop of ice cream! 
Copycat chili's molten lava cakes recipe is way easier to make than you probably think and that hot fudge oozing out is such a crowd pleaser! ohsweetbasil.com

Easy Molten Lava Cake Recipe

Don’t you dare tell me that you’ve never had a Molten Lava Dessert at Chili’s. Don’t. You. Dare. A few years ago, I was in Hawaii and we were STARVING, and the first and only restaurant that we found was a Chili’s. Random, eh? We had this molten lava cakes for dessert and they were so delicious! 

Molten chocolate lava cakes are moist chocolate cakes filled with a delicious fudge sauce that are topped with ice cream a homemade magic chocolate shell. Lava cakes are served warm, and the cold ice cream is a delicious contrast.

To make the molten lava cakes, you’re just going to use a boxed cake, which we will doctor up using sour cream. It makes a really moist cake that holds up well to the fudge inside.

In order to make a molten lava cake you need to fill it with hot fudge and then freeze it for a bit so that when you warm up the cake the fudge pours out versus being absorbed by the cake. Does that make sense?

Think about poke cakes, you don’t want the fudge absorbed, though that is delicious, instead it’s best to freeze it so that it stays in the center until you want it to come pouring out.

Copycat chili's molten lava cakes recipe is way easier to make than you probably think and that hot fudge oozing out is such a crowd pleaser! ohsweetbasil.com

We’ve also included a great hot fudge recipe in the recipe card below, but I wont even blink an eye if you skip it and just buy hot fudge from the ice cream section at the store. Though I do think homemade magic shell is far too easy to not do yourself you could buy that as well.

To make homemade chocolate magic shell you just need chocolate chips, we prefer both milk and semi sweet or straight semi sweet and then coconut oil. Melt, stir and set aside.

If you need to store your magic shell in the fridge as you aren’t serving right away, just melt it down again and let it sit before spooning it over the ice cream. It will start to harden right before your eyes and then all you have to do is dig in to your own chocolate molten lava cake! 

Copycat chili's molten lava cakes recipe is way easier to make than you probably think and that hot fudge oozing out is such a crowd pleaser! ohsweetbasil.com

Molten Lava Cake Ingredients 

The ingredients needed to make the molten chocolate lava cakes are pantry staples, making it far too easy to whip up a batch of these babies at a moment’s notice. 

Here’s what we used in this copycat Chili’s molten lava cake recipe: 

  • Boxed hot fudge cake mix (we prefer Duncan Hines) 
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Vegetable oil
  • Sour cream
  • Hot fudge, for filling 
  • Ice cream, for topping
  • Magic shell, for topping (detailed recipe included in the recipe card below)

Copycat chili's molten lava cakes recipe is way easier to make than you probably think and that hot fudge oozing out is such a crowd pleaser! ohsweetbasil.com

How to Make Lava Cakes

Even after making these chocolate molten lava cakes as many times as I have, I’m still shocked at how simple they are to make at home! Here’s the basic rundown of how to make lava cakes: 

  1. Whisk together the dry cake mix, eggs, sour cream, milk and oil.
  2. Fill greased cupcake tins 3/4 full, then bake the cakes according to package instructions. 
  3. Once baked, turn the cakes onto their tops. Gently cut a hole in the middle. 
  4. Fill each chocolate lava cake with hot fudge (homemade or store-bought works).
  5. Freeze the filled cakes for 30 minutes. 
  6. Reheat in the microwave for 30 seconds, until warmed through and the hot fudge center is gooey. 
  7. Top with ice cream and chocolate magic shell, if desired. 

Copycat chili's molten lava cakes recipe is way easier to make than you probably think and that hot fudge oozing out is such a crowd pleaser! ohsweetbasil.com

Can I Prep Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes in Advance? 

Yes, you can make this molten lava cake recipe ahead and freeze the cakes for up to 2 days. Then reheat them in the microwave like you normally would. 

Can I Reheat Molten Lava Cakes in the Oven? 

If you don’t have a microwave, you can certainly reheat these molten chocolate lava cakes in the oven. Set you oven to lowest temperature it’ll go, then place the lava cakes on a baking sheet and gently cover with foil so they don’t dry out. 

Place the covered chocolate molten lava cakes into the oven and warm for about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is. 

Copycat chili's molten lava cakes recipe is way easier to make than you probably think and that hot fudge oozing out is such a crowd pleaser! ohsweetbasil.com

Can I Make Lava Cakes From Homemade Cake? 

Yes, if you’d rather not use a boxed cake mix you’re welcome to use your favorite homemade chocolate cake instead. 

Can I Use Another Type of Boxed Cake Mix? 

You likely can, although we recommend using a chocolate cake mix of some kind. If you use another boxed cake mix and it turns out well for you, please let us know by leaving a comment down below! 

Copycat chili's molten lava cakes recipe is way easier to make than you probably think and that hot fudge oozing out is such a crowd pleaser!

Tips for Making Molten Lava Cake 

First and foremost, please note that the boxed cake mix in this recipe is added to the lava cake batter as a dry ingredient. You do NOT add the ingredients called for on the side of the box. You use only the dry cake mix itself in this molten lava cake recipe. 

Also, I think you could make mini cakes in whatever you want, but mini bunt pans, or Texas-sized Cupcake pans work fantastic. We use this jumbo muffin pan which I got off of Amazon. It was cheaper than at other stores and better quality. Yes, quality matters as you don’t want a pan that will quickly brown the cakes.

When filling the lava cakes with hot fudge, I first tried to slice off a little from the bottom so that the cakes sat flat, but I found that the sauce seeped through some of them. Instead, I just hurried and turned them out onto a wire rack upside down and because they were still hot it just flattened the dome for me.

I also think it would be wise to remind you that when you are making your domes you should be very mindful of how far down your knife reaches. As you are cutting it’s easy to forget and accidentally poke through the bottom of the chocolate cakes. 

Copycat chili's molten lava cakes recipe is way easier to make than you probably think and that hot fudge oozing out is such a crowd pleaser!

More EASY CAKE RECIPES: 

Copycat Chili’s Molten Lava Cakes

Copycat chili's molten lava cakes recipe is way easier to make than you probably think and that hot fudge oozing out is such a crowd pleaser! ohsweetbasil.com

Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings: 8 large or 16 regular
Homemade molten lava cakes are way easier to make than you'd think, and that hot fudge oozing out is such a crowd pleaser! Don't forget to serve with a scoop of ice cream! 

Ingredients

Molten Lava Cakes

  • 1 Box Duncan Hines Fudge Cake Mix
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Sour Cream
  • Vanilla Ice Cream , for serving
  • Chocolate Shell Ice Cream Topping , for serving
  • Caramel Sauce , for serving

Hot Fudge

  • 1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 12-oz. bag semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt

Magic Shell

  • 2 Cups Chocolate Chips (we do half milk, half semi-sweet or all semi-sweet)
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil

Instructions

Make the Lava Cakes:

  • In a large bowl, stir together the dry cake mix, eggs, sour cream, milk and oil.
  • Spray a large Cupcake pan with nonstick spray and evenly distribute batter 3/4 way full. Bake according to package directions.
  • Turn the cakes out onto their tops creating a "volcano" and allow to cool.
  • Using a pairing or serrated knife, gently cut a hole out of the center without going clear to the bottom.
  • Fill with hot fudge that is cool and then slice off the bottom circle of the piece of cake you removed and place it on the hot fudge hole like a lid.
  • Freeze for 30 minutes, up to 2 days with plastic wrap over the pan of cakes.
  • Remove the cakes from the freezer and reheat in the microwave until warm, about 30 seconds.
  • Top with ice cream, caramel, and magic shell.

Make the Hot Fudge:

  • Melt all of the ingredients in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.
  • Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  • Continue to boil and stir for two minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and continue to stir for one minute.
  • Allow the fudge sauce to cool.

Make the Magic Shell:

  • Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl along with the coconut oil and slowly heat for 30 second intervals, stirring often until melted.
  • Serve over cold ice cream and it will harden.

Notes

These cakes are so great to be made ahead of time, but don't forget to cover with plastic wrap so ice crystals don't form.
Nutrition Facts
Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 723 Calories from Fat 486
% Daily Value*
Fat 54g83%
Saturated Fat 25g156%
Polyunsaturated Fat 25g
Cholesterol 117mg39%
Sodium 176mg8%
Carbohydrates 59g20%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 46g51%
Protein 9g18%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Homemade molten lava cakes are way easier to make than you'd think, and that hot fudge oozing out is such a crowd pleaser! Don't forget to serve with a scoop of ice cream! 

Copycat chili's molten lava cakes recipe is way easier to make than you probably think and that hot fudge oozing out is such a crowd pleaser!

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About the authors

Cheney Family

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

Leave a comment

46 comments

  • Hi, looks DELICIOUS! I’m going to try it asap.
    Can you use a regular bundt cake to make this too? I’m wanting to try it both ways.
    Thank you in advance
    Anne

    • Reply
    • That is a great question! We’ve never tried it but I don’t see why not! Just back the cake according to the directions on the cake mix for a bundt cake. Let us know how it goes!

      • Reply
  • Too much fudge. Can I store in fridge and how long will it keep? I’ll have to say this dessert is my favorite!

    • Reply
  • What a fun dessert to make at home!!!

    • Reply
    • Thanks!

      • Reply
  • This cake is amazing!!

    • Reply
  • Can you please tell me what pan you used, could not get the link to work. Went on Amazon there were quite a few Texas Muffin pans, don’t want to choose a dud. Can’t wait to make these as a surprise treat for my daughter, she goes to Chili’s just for the lava cake. Thanks!

    • Reply
    • Oh thank you for the heads up! I’ll fix it right away, but here’s the link http://amzn.to/2tdinZd
      That’s the one we prefer as our other pan is dark (like in the video) and it doesn’t bake as evenly as this one.

      • Reply
  • Can you replace vegetable oil for the coconut oil in the magic shell? And are the cakemix ingredients listed in the recipe? Or is the milk eggs and oil extra?

    • Reply
    • Yes, you definitely can, though we have seen coconut oil turn out a little better. 🙂 You just use the cake mix with the ingredients listed. 🙂

      • Reply
  • I have never had one of these at Chili’s, but I don’t care for Chili’s as they put pepper on everything :/

    • Reply
    • Do they? That’s not fun. Hope you’ll give this a try at home 🙂

      • Reply
  • milk or semisweet chocolate?

    • Reply
    • Whichever you prefer is fine, but we usually do a combination or just milk.

      • Reply
  • What would you recommend if I wanted to reheat these cakes all at once in the oven? What temp and for how long?

    • Reply
    • Hi Anna, I would do the lowest heat your oven will go to, place them on a baking sheet and cover with foil and then warm for about 10-15 minutes depending on how low your oven goes.

      • Reply
      • Thanks! These lava cakes were FANTASTIC!!! I think I will always have a stash of them in my freezer for an emergency 😉

      • What a great idea, Anna! Maybe we will do that too and they will always be on hand!

  • we don’t get ready made fudge cake box. Which other cake recipe I can follow?

    • Reply
  • How many mini cakes does this recipe make?

    • Reply
  • Sorry to ask this question what is Texas size muffin it is not cupcake pan again I am sorry .thank you

    • Reply
    • It’s just an extra large muffin pan. So just bigger than a regular muffin pan.

      • Reply
  • Thank you soooo much chocolate is my sin!! And I have not been able to find the thick thick kind of Hot Fudge you used to be able to get. Your version of Home made Fudge looks just like what I remember my Mom and Grandmother serving. Thick, sweet only got thinner if you heated it up again. Then would cool on ice cream to really thick sauce. Not just run. Well some would but it was soooo good!! I have to try this and the whole recipe. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe with all of us. : )

    • Reply
    • Thank you so much Sharon!

      • Reply
  • Hello I loved or recepi but can u pls share the recepi of cupcakes other than the cakemix for above molten cake pls

    • Reply
  • love the look of the homemade version…do you have a recipe for the homemade magic shell??

    • Reply
    • Hi Kelly, we just do 2 cups chocolate to 1/4 cup oil and melt in the microwave

      • Reply
      • For the hard shell, is regular oil or coconut oil?

      • You can use either. 🙂

  • Love this cake!! Can’t wait to try out this recipe.
    Just one question… What is the fudge sauce from krysta? Is it a recipe or a ready-made fudge sauce from the store?

    • Reply
    • It is the hot fudge recipe listed in the ingredients. 🙂

      • Reply
  • How much is a cube of butter?

    • Reply
    • It’s 1/2 cup 🙂

      • Reply
  • Look delicious ! Guess I’m a little behind finding the recipe. Company coming Sat night..these will be
    Dessert. Thanks !

    • Reply
  • I just made these. These were absolutely delicious! Your hot fudge sauce is so much better than that stuff you get in the jar.

    • Reply
  • We absolutely love your blog and find nearly all
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    can you offer guest writers to write content for yourself?

    I wouldn’t mind creating a post or elaborating on a lot of the subjects you write with regards to here. Again, awesome weblog!

    • Reply
  • Hello, of course this article is genuinely good and I have learned lot of things from it on the topic
    of blogging. thanks.

    • Reply
  • I would imagine 1 stick (1/2 cup)

    • Reply
  • Looks YUMMY, cant wait to try. But can you please tell me what a CUBE of butter is?????

    • Reply
    • Hi Sharon, a cube of butter is 1/2 cup of butter

      • Reply
  • Mmm! I love this variation! I like how you can freeze them and have one whenever you want! Brilliant!

    • Reply
  • I used to work at Chilis and had WAY to many of these 🙂
    YUM

    • Reply
  • I seem to remember a couple of other details from that visit…like the waiter being astonished at how fast we ate that yummy dessert & how we could barely refrain from licking the plate!

    • Reply
  • Never had one, although I do make one very similar, but add berries and whipped cream. Yours looks yummy and it does look like a volcano! Joni

    • Reply
  • Okay, I won't tell you I've never had one of these (although I've never been to Chili's…)but thanks to your recipe I'll never have to (not) say it again!

    • Reply

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