Instant Pot

Melissa Clark's Instant Pot Chocolate-Bourbon Lava Cakes

October 13, 2018
7 Ratings
Photo by Christopher Testani
  • Makes 4 individual cakes
Author Notes

Reprinted from Comfort in an Instant. Copyright © 2018 by Melissa Clark. Photographs copyright © 2018 by Christopher Testani. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC. —Food52

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: 10 Surprising Things You Can Make in Your Instant Pot. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, plus more for the ramekins
  • 6 ounces bittersweet (65% to 74% cacao) chocolate, chopped (or use chips)
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon or vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Flaky sea salt, for serving
  • Crème fraîche, sour cream, or ice cream, for serving
  1. In a microwave safe medium bowl, melt the butter with the chocolate (or do this in a small saucepan over low heat). Meanwhile, butter four 6-ounce ramekins.
  2. To the bowl with the butter/chocolate mixture, add the confectioners’ sugar and salt and whisk until cool to the touch. Whisk in the whole eggs and egg yolk, followed by the bourbon and flour. Distribute the mixture evenly among the four ramekins. Cover each with aluminum foil.
  3. Pour 1 cup water into the pressure cooker pot. Place a steamer rack/trivet at the bottom of the pot. Stack the ramekins on the rack. You should be able to fit three on the bottom with the fourth placed on top in the center.
  4. Lock the lid into place and cook on high pressure for 9 minutes. Manually release the pressure.
  5. With tongs, remove the ramekins from the pot and allow them to sit for 3 minutes, still covered with foil. Then remove the foil and run a knife around the edge of each cake. Flip each cake onto a serving plate. Sprinkle with sea salt and top with crème fraîche or ice cream, if you like. Serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Cookie monster
    Cookie monster
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  • garlic&lemon
  • holly dart
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  • Frances Perry
    Frances Perry

10 Reviews

ellenkock February 9, 2022
I completely agree that the time is much too short. Ended up adding more time but now that I know what a lava cake is I might use the oven next time. But the flavor was amazing. I made it from Melissa Clark's cookbook and didn't have the benefit of reading comments (the way I do if I cook recipes from the NYT cooking website). While I like her recipes in general, I've gotten burned a number of times when using her Instant Pot cookbooks. I've learned one lesson about the Instant Pot and that's to never use the sauté function. It's totally worthless. Her cheesecake in the Instant Pot is fantastic though. And just the right size for human beings.
Cookie M. January 24, 2020
I have not made this. However, given how long the IP takes to come to pressure + 9 min cooking time, what is the advantage of this method vs the standard oven bake (which takes about 11-15 minutes)?
ido January 25, 2020
Funny. This IP version is the only one I’ve tried bc I assumed it would be simpler. You make a great point. Do you have a favorite standard recipe?
holly D. November 22, 2020
exactly what I was wondering. I think I will stick with the oven method, where I can see if they are done and take them out at exactly the right moment. I have a tried and true recipe for the oven and I think they only bake about 10 mins.
ido January 12, 2020
Thanks for the recipe. I've tried making it three times, and each time, it came out runny -- almost entirely like a soup, with just the base of the cup solidified (cake-like) and maybe slight bits of the bottom of the side wall. Any ideas what I'm doing wrong?

What I've done...
1st attempt: Followed recipe exactly. Instead of 6oz ramekins I used 8oz Hasami coffee cups.

2nd attempt: Halved the recipe. Used 8oz Hasami coffee cups.

3rd attempt: Halved the recipe. Used 8oz Hasami coffee cups. Did it for 10 mins instead of 9.
Frances P. January 25, 2020
I’ve had the same problem. I used 3 8 oz ramekins. I even put them back in for an additional 4 minutes and the texture didn’t change. They didn’t cook any further. So we had delicious chocolate pudding.
ido January 26, 2020
I finally gave up on the IP recipe and tried this one from NY Times: Chocolate Lava Cake for Two. I made it tonight and it came out perfectly. I used 2 x 6oz ramekins and ended up needing to keep it in the oven just under 11 mins (a little past the 7-9 mins the recipe suggested). But since it was the oven and not the pressure cooker, it wasn't a problem to quickly check and pop 'em back in a bit longer. Highly recommend this:
tastysweet December 21, 2019
Not sure I can picture stacking the 4th ramekin in the center. On top of the others?
Erin January 13, 2019
These sound amazing. I wonder if you can give instructions for traditional baking to feed a crowd?
garlic&lemon January 7, 2019
I made these a few days ago for a dinner in which 3 of us with new or fairly new Instant Pots got together and made different things. The dinner and comparing of tips and tricks was loads of delicious fun. We all decided that these were the best Lava Cakes any of us had ever had. We served them with vanilla gelato. 3 of the cakes were the perfect done-ness, while 1 of them was a little gushy. However, the guy with the extra soft one ate every little bit with rave reviews, no complaints. I do not know how to leave 5*** for this recipe, but it totally deserves them!