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.

An overhead shot of slow cooker lava cake in a black slow cooker.

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:

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For half of the topping:

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ¾ 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.
4.94 from 29 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs 15 mins
Total Time 4 hrs 30 mins
Servings 8 servings
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 321

Ingredients 

For the Cake Batter:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated 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 granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar firmly packed
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ cups hot water

For Serving:

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: 321kcalCarbohydrates: 60gProtein: 3gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 261mgPotassium: 125mgFiber: 2gSugar: 46gVitamin A: 261IUCalcium: 99mgIron: 2mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!

Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Comments

  1. I love that you this recipe does not use a boxed cake mix like many of the other recipes for lava cake do! I even removed 1/4 cup of the sugar from the cake ingredients because I figured it would somehow make it “healthier”, haha. Didn’t miss the sugar and served it with vanilla ice cream:) Perfect, excellent, delicious!!!!!!! Thank you for this easy recipe.5 stars

  2. Would I need to make any changes for a round 5 qt crock pot? Last time I made it I used a 7 qt oval crock and it was delicious. I want to make it again but have to use a different crock pot.

    1. Hey there! I think you should be fine making the recipe as-is in a 5 quart. Making it in a 7-quart, it’s nowhere NEAR the top so there is no danger of overflow. And, it should take about the same amount of time. I need to make this again myself!

    1. Hi Charlene, it’s not a typo. However, it possible the cake would be done sooner than that. I did a quick search and Betty Crocker says their version takes 3 to 3 1/2 hours on HIGH. So, I will test it again and see if it’s done in 3 hours. Sorry for the confusion!

  3. Can this be put in a pan that fits inside the slow cooker?  I have a GoWise pressure cooker/slow cooker combo. It’s round and pretty deep. 

    1. Hi Kathy, I don’t see why not. I’ve never tried it, but I feel like it would work just fine. Hard to mess this one up! Thanks for reading!

    1. Hi Brittany! I use a fairly large one but it’s oval in diameter. It’s a Cuisinart digital crockpot. It’s pretty big. If I can help with anything else, please let me know!

  4. I was able to double the recipe without changing the cooking time. I made this for a family reunion and it was a big hit. Everyone loved it!5 stars

    1. Good info, thank you!! I REALLY want to make this again soon, now I know I should just go ahead and double the recipe. :) Glad everyone enjoyed it! Thanks Barbara!

    2. Will definitely make soon. Do you think you can test out a white chocolate version???? Yummm

    3. Sure, what not! Thanks for the idea. :D I’ll put it on the list! I have to figure out gluten-free pizzelle first but this can happen right after that. Thanks Tracy! -Meggan

  5. Hi, I’m making this right now. My mom is coming from Michigan to visit my family in Minnesota. She will be at my place in about 4 hours off the Amtrak train, so it will be all cooked when she gets here. I’m so excited for her visit. I have not seen her since Christmas.5 stars

    1. Hi Naomi! Thanks so much for your note. My sister lives in Michigan (the Hudsonville area) and I have family and best friends in Minnesota, so I know that route well! I hope you both enjoy the cake. I might have to make it myself this weekend, sounds so perfect right now at 8:30 on a Friday morning. :) Have a fun weekend!

  6. I made this a gluten-free vegan cake by substituting the flour with gluten-free all purpose flour, the milk with almond milk and the butter with Earth Balance margarine and it worked a treat! The only difference was the cooking time; it only took 1.5 hours and it was done! Thank you for this amazing recipe!5 stars

    1. What a fabulous idea! Which almond milk did you use (unsweetened, vanilla, etc.)? I have a reader who is GF and I will definitely pass this along to him. :) Thank you so much Miriam!

  7. Oh yes, Meggan. You’re absolutely right – I really DO need this in my life! In fact a big splodge right about now would be fabulous! :-)5 stars

  8. Meggan, you’re a genius! I can’t tell you the last time I used my slow cooker, but this recipe makes me want to bust it out ASAP:) Great recipe xx5 stars