Slow Cooker Chocolate Lava Cake

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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.

A slow cooker with chocolate lava cake in it.


 

Many Lava Cakes start with a cake mix and a box of pudding, but I don’t usually keep those around much. I wanted a lava cake I could make from scratch.

I also thought the idea of doing it in a slow cooker was so great! Fun, unique, interesting, and EASY. So fire up your crockpot and try out this self-saucing chocolate cake. It’s amazing!

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for slow cooker lava cake.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Cocoa powder: Look for the unsweetened baking cocoa powder, not the mix for making hot chocolate. Both natural and Dutch-process cocoa powder will work in this recipe.

Step-by-step instructions

To make the cake batter:

  1. Coat a slow cooker with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. In a second bowl, whisk together the milk, melted butter, and vanilla.
Preparing the batter for chocolate lava cake.
  1. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredient in to the well and whisk until smooth.
Preparing the batter for chocolate lava cake.
  1. Pour into the bottom of a slow cooker.
Making chocolate lava cake in a slow cooker.

To make the topping:

  1. Whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, cocoa powder until evenly combined. Sprinkle evenly over the batter in the slow cooker.
Making chocolate lava cake in a slow cooker.
  1. Pour the hot water over the top of the batter and topping. Do not stir.
Making chocolate lava cake in a slow cooker.
  1. 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).
Chocolate lava cake in a slow cooker.
  1. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream, spooning the chocolate sauce from the bottom of the slow cooker over the top. Garnish with maraschino cherries if desired.
Chocolate lava cake with ice cream on top.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 1 gooey, delicious Chocolate Lava Cake, enough for 8 generous servings.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.
  • Keep it warm: 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.
  • Double recipe: Double the ingredients and it will still fit in a 6-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 to 5 hours or LOW for 4 to 6 hours (or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean with a few crumbs attached.)
  • Half recipe: Half the ingredients fit nicely in a 2-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 hours or LOW for 3 to 4 hours (or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean with a few crumbs attached.) A perfect dessert for your romantic Valentine’s Day meal.
Chocolate lava cake with ice cream on top.

Recipe FAQs

Can you make this chocolate lava 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.

More clever desserts

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A slow cooker with chocolate lava cake in it.

Slow Cooker Chocolate Lava Cake

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.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 321
4.99 from 202 votes

Ingredients 

For the cake batter:

For the cake topping:

For serving:

Instructions 

To make the cake batter:

  • Coat a slow cooker with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. In a second bowl, whisk together the milk, melted butter, and vanilla.
  • Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredient in to the well and 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).
  • Serve with ice cream or whipped cream, spooning the chocolate sauce from the bottom of the slow cooker over the top. Garnish with maraschino cherries if desired.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Cocoa powder: Look for the unsweetened baking cocoa powder, not the mix for making hot chocolate. Both natural and Dutch-process cocoa powder will work in this recipe.
  2. Yield: This recipe makes 1 gooey, delicious Chocolate Lava Cake, enough for 8 generous servings (see Tips and Variations for double and half recipe information).
  3. Storage: Store leftovers covered at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1scoopCalories: 321kcalCarbohydrates: 60gProtein: 3gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 261mgPotassium: 125mgFiber: 2gSugar: 46gVitamin A: 261IUCalcium: 99mgIron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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Comments

  1. Hi Meggan,

    Do you know if I’m able to double this recipe? Trying to make it for 25 students, but we only have two crockpots! Thank you. :)

    1. Hi Nicole! Yes, this recipe can be doubled and will fit in a 6-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 to 5 hours or LOW for 4 to 6 hours (or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean with a few crumbs attached.) I hope they love it! – Meggan

  2. My 3 year old helped me make this tonight. It was excellent. All of the other recipes I found for this cake were using a box mix, which I didn’t have, so was very glad to find this one. I never mind the extra steps to make it from scratch anyway. Thanks!!5 stars

    1. Hi Brittany, I’m so happy you and your toddler loved it! I love that they were able to help you. How fun! – Meggan

  3. Meggan thank you for this recipe! One of my family’s favorites, and this recipe is so easy to make, Plus I would think most people have all these ingredients in their cupboards. looking forward to trying some of your other recipes.
    thanks again.5 stars

    1. You’re so welcome, Judy! I’m so happy you and your family loved it! Thank you for trusting my recipe, and if you have any questions on any other ones, please ask! I’m happy to help! – Meggan

    1. Hi Joyce, thank you for your question. This recipe is for a from-scratch lava cake. I haven’t tried using a boxed mix with this recipe since it was developed to be made without one. I’m going to try it myself, but for now I would recommend following a recipe developed for boxed cake mix so your lava cake isn’t terrible. – Meggan

  4. Hello! I’m excited to try this recipe! I’m wondering if I could add a layer of marshmallows and caramels …. where would you suggest I put these ingredients? On top of the cake batter – inbetween the cake batter and the topping? Thank you!

    1. Hi Angela! The “sugar topping” is actually the underlying fudge layer. I haven’t tried adding in additional layers, but I imagine it would not turn out so well. I suggest making the cake as written, sugar topping and all, then having caramel and marshmallows as a topping on the whole cake, or on individual servings. The cake layer floats in the lava. Please write back and let me know how you like it! – Meggan

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