Slow Cooker Chocolate Lava Cake Recipe

This Slow Cooker Chocolate Lava Cake is a game-changer: Warm, gooey chocolate cake (made from scratch!) nestled in a river of thick fudge sauce. Make this easy, luscious dessert right in your crockpot. Top with ice cream, whipped cream, or both for an extra special treat.

Let's throw together a chewy, chocolatey, made-from-scratch cake resting on a bed of rich chocolate sauce.

And just to keep things interesting (and convenient), let's make it in your slow cooker.

This Slow Cooker Chocolate Lava Cake is a game-changer: Warm, gooey chocolate cake (made from scratch!) nestled in a river of thick fudge sauce. Make this easy, luscious dessert right in your crockpot. Top with ice cream, whipped cream, or both for an extra special treat.

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I got this idea from my sister Meredith. Her recipe starts with a cake mix and a box of pudding, but since I don't have either of those on hand most of the time, I decided to make a Slow Cooker Chocolate Lava Cake from scratch.

SO EASY.

This Slow Cooker Chocolate Lava Cake is a game-changer: Warm, gooey chocolate cake (made from scratch!) nestled in a river of thick fudge sauce. Make this easy, luscious dessert right in your crockpot. Top with ice cream, whipped cream, or both for an extra special treat.

How do you make Chocolate Cake in a slow cooker?

First, you spread your batter into the bottom of a slow cooker. Then, add a sugary topping. Finally, pour hot water over all of it.

No stirring! Cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or LOW for 5 hours (see recipe notes for more information).

Can you make the cake without the sugar topping?

No, that's not a good idea.

At the request of a reader, I tried it out. The "sugar topping" is actually the underlying fudge layer. If you make just the cake, it is not sweet enough, the chocolate flavor is lacking, the whole cake is dry, and it might even burn in the bottom of your slow cooker. I suggest making the cake as written, sugar topping and all.

Can you double the recipe?

Yes! Double the ingredients and it will still fit in a 6-quart slow cooker. Cook on HIGH for 3 to 5 hours or LOW for 4 to 6 hours (or until a toothpick inserted in to the middle of the cake comes out clean with a few crumbs attached.)

This Slow Cooker Chocolate Lava Cake is a game-changer: Warm, gooey chocolate cake (made from scratch!) nestled in a river of thick fudge sauce. Make this easy, luscious dessert right in your crockpot. Top with ice cream, whipped cream, or both for an extra special treat.

Can you cut this recipe in half?

Yes! You can cut the ingredients in half and prepare it in a 2-quart slow cooker.

Here's everything you need to know:

INGREDIENTS:

For half of the cake batter:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For half of the topping:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup hot water

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Coat a 2-quart slow cooker with nonstick spray. Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients with your fist.
  2. To the well, add the milk, butter, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Pour into the bottom of a slow cooker.
  3. Whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, cocoa powder until evenly combined. Sprinkle evenly over the batter in the slow cooker.
  4. Pour the hot water over the top of the batter and topping. Do not stir. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 hours or LOW for 3 to 4 hours, or until a toothpick inserted in to the middle of the cake comes out clean with a few crumbs attached.

Slow Cooker Chocolate Lava Cake in a white bowl topped with whipped cream and a cherry.

Slow cooker chocolate lava cake in a slow cooker with a silver spoon.

Slow Cooker Chocolate Lava Cake Recipe

This Slow Cooker Chocolate Lava Cake is a game-changer: Warm, gooey chocolate cake (made from scratch!) nestled in a river of thick fudge sauce. Make this easy, luscious dessert right in your crockpot. Top with ice cream, whipped cream, or both for an extra special treat.
4.91 from 22 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 303kcal
Author: Meggan Hill

Ingredients

For the Cake Batter:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup butter melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Topping:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar firmly packed
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ cups hot water

For Serving:

  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Whipped cream

Instructions

  • Coat a slow cooker with nonstick spray.

To make the cake batter:

  • Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients with your fist.
  • To the well, add the milk, butter, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Pour into the bottom of a slow cooker.

To make the topping:

  • Whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, cocoa powder until evenly combined. Sprinkle evenly over the batter in the slow cooker.
  • Pour the hot water over the top of the batter and topping. Do not stir. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or LOW for 5 hours, or until a toothpick inserted in to the middle of the cake comes out clean with a few crumbs attached (see recipe notes).

To serve:

  • Serve with ice cream or whipped cream as desired, spooning the chocolate sauce from the bottom of the slow cooker over the top.

Notes

  1. Depending on the strength of your slow cooker, the cake will be done in about 3 to 4 hours on HIGH or in about 5 hours on LOW.
  2. If your crockpot switches to "warm" after it's done cooking, you can leave it in the crockpot on the "warm" setting for at least 2-3 hours without changing the cake. For example, I cooked the cake on LOW for 5 hours, then left it in the crockpot for 2 more hours on the "warm" setting, and it was still perfect.
  3. To make a half recipe, halve all of the ingredients and prepare in a 2-quart slow cooker. The cake will be done in about 2 hours on HIGH. Scroll up in the post to find exact ingredients cut in half.
  4. To double the recipe, double all ingredients and prepare in a 6-quart slow cooker. The cake will be done in 3 to 5 hours on HIGH or 4 to 6 hours on LOW.
Adapted from Bake or Break. My mom pinned this a few years ago and hasn't stopped talking about it since.

Nutrition

Calories: 303kcal
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!

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  1. Christina Leclair

    Recipe is great, ty!
    I messed it up tho, somehow got the 1/2 recipe measurements confused with full. They’re listed so close to each other on the page..dont know if anyone else has had this problem. My own fault for not paying attention but might I suggest a little more of spread between the recipes.
    Excellent tho, ty for sharing with us.4 stars

  2. Mel

    Rated 4 stars for ease of putting together. Currently baking in my crockpot. Very excited to see the end result! Got a question though, can the leftovers be refrigerated or frozen? Thanks for a lovely smelling and easy recipe!4 stars

  3. Monique

    Made this and added cinnamon and a touch of chilli with some crushed walnuts
    It was a hit, seriously delicious with minimal effect
    Thank you

    1. Meggan

      You’re very welcome Monique!

  4. Becca

    Oh my goodness!!! What a wonderful recipe!! I was looking for a way to use up some brown sugar with a slow cooker and found this recipe. What an amazing find! I used the gluten free Bisquick flour as an alternate and it turned out better than any restaurant cake my family has ever had. Thank you so much for the recipe and all the tips. We will definitely be making it again!!5 stars

  5. Rachael Tan

    OMGH!!! is really yum! easy recipe to follow. i have a slow cooker, but couldnt wait for hours b4 eating this gooey thing…. so i took up the suggestion of another commentator using oven. but i cooked it at 180 degrees celsius for about 40mins. yes, i too agree it will have more complex flavour if use extra instant coffee in the mix. is autumn days here in australia, so really comforting snack. i didn’t expect it to be so fluffy. P.S i did use a tad more butter and milk….

    1. Satyam Khurana

      I made this today and really pleased with the outcome. It was beyond amazing! My hubby doesnt have a sweet tooth so I cut the sugar amount in the recipe by 1/4. Still great tasting. We had it with vanilla icecream. Saving the recipe. Thank you so much, it is definitely a game changer. I’m not buying any chocolate cakes from the market from now on!5 stars

  6. Diana

    I am a little confused about “pour” into slow cooker because it definitely does not pour.

    I am making 1/2 the recipe of the lava cake so there is only 1/4 c milk and a little less than 3 tbs. butter for liquid so it is more the consistency of icing. Did I do something wrong.

    I am just going to use a spatula and spread it in the bottom at the slow cooker and hope for the best🙂

    1. meggan

      Hi Diana, you’re rate. It doesn’t pour. It’s more like – scrape? I have made this as a half recipe several times, so I really think you will be fine. It might just look odd, but by the time it’s done, I think you’ll be happy. I hope so. If not, please tell me. I care and want to know! I’ll fix the wording in the post. Thanks Diana – Meggan

  7. Barb

    I found it a little “meh” because something was missing, so I added 1 teaspoon of coffee to the full version and it did wonders!
    This recipe also works well in the oven too if you don’t have time for the slow cooker. I used the full version in a 9″ round, glass baking dish, 350° for roughly 40 minutes. Came out just as good as in the slow cooker!5 stars

    1. meggan

      Hi Barb, I’m definitely going to try your coffee idea. You’re probably right, it’s probably lackluster depending on your tastebuds. An extra pop of flavor is always welcome! And your tips for using the oven are so appreciated. That’s the kind of thing I always want to figure out but there aren’t enough hours in the day. I appreciate your help so much! Thanks again! -Meggan

  8. Gene

    Can I make this without the ”sugary topping?” In other words, just the ”cake” part? If so, same cooking time?
    Thanks.

    1. meggan

      Hi Gene, I finally got around to testing this. Sorry it took me an extra week. The cake is BAD without the sugary topping. Really disappointing. It’s rubbery, not sweet enough, the chocolate flavor is seriously lacking, and it actually burned in the bottom of my slow cooker. So, you need the sugary topping. Which I think is actually the fudgy lava layer underneath. It’s very delicious and apparently very necessary. Thanks for the question! I updated the post with my findings. Take care and thanks again – Meggan

    2. meggan

      Hi Gene, I’m not really sure if that would work. I know I call it a “sugary topping” but if you look at the pictures, it ends up looking like a normal cake. Then again, I think that sugary topping somehow winds up on the bottom anyway. I can test it without and let you know what happens, and if it turns out well, how long it took. I’ll work on it today (Sunday 1/12). Thanks! -Meggan

  9. Kerri Pritchard

    Doubled it (used large 8qt), lined with wax paper… and it was DELICIOUS. I also tried using coffee instead of the water and it was good too, but I think I overdid it (husband loved it), I liked it with the water better. This is perfect for the chocolate lovers… now we need you to create one that is a LEMON pudding or VANILLA pudding cake LOL Please

    Thank you!!5 stars

    1. Meggan

      Hi Kerri, I will add it to my list of things to do! A vanilla or lemon one… yum! I will try to get one out in the spring for you!

  10. Elisabeth

    Wonderful recipe! It turns out very well. Question: Is it 436 kcal per serving, or the whole thing is 436 kcal?5 stars

    1. Meggan

      Hi Elisabeth! After your comment I looked into the nutrition facts for you. First of all, the nutrition label wasn’t appearing on the post, so I apologize for that. Second of all, the amount of butter in the original calculation was wrong, so I changed it. The good news? It’s fewer calories. :) It’s 302 calories, per serving, and 8 servings per recipe. Glad you liked it! :D -Meggan

  11. Kim ward

    Hi, I am making this Wed for 20-25 people
    I am thinking of taking the recipe doing (4x) the ingredients- what you recommend for cook time?

    1. meggan

      Hi Kim, are you going to do 4x the recipe, all in one crockpot? I don’t know the size of your crockpot but I worry it might not fit. If I were going to do that, I’d probably do 2 double batches in two crockpots. A double batch fits in a 6-quart slow cooker. Cook on HIGH for 3 to 5 hours or LOW for 4 to 6 hours (or until a toothpick inserted in to the middle of the cake comes out clean with a few crumbs attached.) I hope this is helpful! If you need more info, just let me know. Thanks! -Meggan

  12. Sue

    Hi Meggan.

    So excited about the recipe. I just put it in the crockpot for our office party. In my rush, I didn’t read the directions all the way through and combined the hot water with the topping ingredients. What do you think will happen to the lava cake?5 stars

  13. Sheryl

    Made this tonight for the first time – I doubled the recipe and used unsweetened coconut milk just because I don’t usually have milk in the house. It cooked way faster than I thought – 2 hours on high was plenty.  Served with vanilla ice cream  – it was delicious ! 5 stars

  14.  A hit for my daughter’s birthday! She wanted lava cake and I didn’t feel like making it with a fakey cakey box today. I quadrupled the recipe and split it between my 2 six-quart slow cookers. It fed 20 with vanilla ice cream, and we have a little bit left to fight over for tomorrow. I did cut the sugar by about 1/3 in both the cake and the topping since we were also having the ice cream, and I thought it still tasted great! Got lots of compliments.  Thank you for this homemade version!5 stars

  15. Sara

    Hi!
    I’m so excited that this is from scratch, as I don’t ever make boxed baked goods. I want to make this as my daughter’s birthday cake. Does it come out of the crockpot easily? As a whole cake?  I’d like to put it on a platter, so we can put candles in. 
    Thank you!
    Sara

    1. Sara

      Hi Meggan,
      Thank you for the reply. I might just make this for her anyway when it’s just the four of us, and not for her party, because she would LOVE this. I’m convinced after your description that it’s perfect for her, haha. I’m so glad I asked ahead of time and didn’t mess up her party cake!  The four of us can sing “Happy Birthday” with the crockpot!
      Thank you again,
      Sara

    2. meggan

      Hi Sara! Before you get too excited (and I’m so sorry to tell you this), but this cake is absolutely NOT what you are looking for. The reason it’s called a Lava cake is because the bottom of the isn’t solid. It’s a thick, fudgy sauce, like lava, like a self-saucing pudding basically. You literally have to scoop it out, and it’s very runny. It’s fine on top, but the bottom is wet. You can’t move it anywhere and it will make a huge mess of your platter.

      There are probably slow cooker cake recipes out there that will do you what you are looking for, but this isn’t it! So glad you asked before I inadvertently ruined your party. :( So sorry Sara! Happy Birthday to your daughter. -Meggan

  16. Maria

    Hi Meggan, I made this yesterday and it was fine in my 3.5 quart crock pot. It is a rectangular one that measures about 11×7 by 3 inches high and fit with room to spare. I had to spread the cake batter along the bottom. It was good too, will definitely be making this more often! Thanks again fo the recipe.5 stars

  17. Maria

    Hi Meggan,

    I have a 3.5 quart slow cooker. Should I halve the recipe or will it fit as written? I am afraid that if I use the full amount of ingredients that it will overflow. Thanks

    1. Maria

      Hi Meggan, Thanks for the reply. I am going to make it on Thursday for my daughter’s birthday. I think that I will use the full amount and I will report back to you with my results! Can’t wait to try this, it sounds amazing! Thanks.

    2. meggan

      Hi Maria, off the top of my head I cannot say for sure. I’m happy to test it for you and let you know. However, when I do half the recipe in a 2-quart slow cooker, it’s only a couple of inches tall. So my “gut” says you will be okay doing the whole thing in a 3.5 quart. And I’ve doubled the recipe in a 6.5 quart slow cooker with no problems…. so I feel like you will be fine doing the whole thing in a 3.5 quart?? Does my logic make sense?? I’m testing recipes again next Monday, let me know if you can wait that long and want me to find out for you! Thanks!

  18. Lynda

    Hi Meggan,
    I made a double batch, cooked on low 5 hours with the intention of keeping it on warm (for at least an hour). It barely made the 5 hour mark before we were in to it! This cake is very good as well as easy to make. Thank you for the recipe.5 stars

  19. Ally Yoder

    Can you double this and put all of it in one 6 quart slow cooker?

    1. meggan

      Hi Ally! I made a double batch in my slow cooker. It was done in under 3 hours (honestly I think it was done in 2 hours) on HIGH. I’m not sure if my slow cooker is super-charged or if it cooks more efficiently with more stuff in it?? But in any case it was PERFECT and I will forevermore make a double batch. Thank you for asking about this! Take care.

    2. meggan

      Hi Ally, I’m going to make it today as a double batch and I will let you know! Thanks.

  20. Lynda Hancock

    Hello, what is your opinion about cooking this cake on low for 6-7 hours? Thank you

    1. meggan

      Hi Lynda, I tested this, cooking the cake on low. Even on low, it was done after 5 hours. So, I would say if you have a slow cooker that switches to “warm” when it’s done cooking, you’ll be fine. Set it for 5 hours, and if switches to “warm” after that, you’ll be fine. I left mine in the crockpot for another 2 hours (to get to 7 hours total) and it was still delicious – soft and chewy on top with the chocolate pudding sauce beneath. No change in quality. Please let me know if you need anything else. I’ll be retesting this as a double-batch too, today! Take care.

    2. meggan

      Hi Lynda, my opinion is that it would probably be fine. I’d be happy to test it though, I can test it on Monday. I will reply with and post the results! Thanks!

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