This recipe for keto-friendly, Low-Carb Chocolate Lava Cakes makes scrumptious gooey cakes perfect for the chocolate lover in all of us. These quick and easy treats can be made using an Instant Pot, oven, or even a microwave! This recipe makes two rich molten chocolate mug cakes so it’s perfect for Valentine’s Day. This dessert can be part of a low-carb, keto, diabetic, gluten-free, grain-free, Atkins or Banting diet.
This post was originally published on April 9, 2018. I am updating it to upgrade the photos and include alternative cooking methods.
Low-carb chocolate lovers rejoice! I bring you the most incredibly rich, flourless lava cakes ever–And they happen to be low-carb, quick and easy with the help of an Instant Pot.
I’ve always loved lava cakes. Seriously, if a restaurant had lava cakes on the menu for dessert, I used to almost always get them. While I no longer cave in to the sugared up restaurant desserts and have a cup of decaf coffee instead. Still, deep in my heart, I love lava cakes.
I started to solve this problem when I first got my Instant Pot. There was a recipe in the booklet that comes with it for a chocolate mug cake. Of course the recipe wasn’t grain free or low-carb, but it gave me a place to start. First I simply substituted almond flour for the wheat flour and low-carb sweetener for the sugar. The end result just wasn’t chocolatey enough. I changed a few of the measurements, but shelved the idea for a while.
A bit of chocolate craving inspiration recently caused me to pull the idea for a low-carb chocolate lava cake recipe back off the shelf. I really went for it with the cocoa powder this time! In fact, I took out all of the almond flour and went for pure, rich, chocolate goodness.
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The timing of cooking them was another challenge. With the Instant Pot, you can’t just open it up and check to see how they are doing like you can with the oven. I found that a time of 4 minutes got the lava cakes to the point that they had a brownie like exterior with that lovely “lava” center. If you prefer your lava cakes a little less gooey, feel free to add an extra minute or two. The perfect time may vary slightly depending on the shape of the dish, your altitude, and how quickly you release the pressure and remove them from the pot when the time is done.
Now that this recipe has been out for a while, I keep getting the question, “What if I don’t have an Instant Pot?” I decided to do some testing and provide alternative directions to make them. I’m adding both oven and microwave directions.
How to make Keto Molten Lava Mug Cakes in the Microwave
To make these desserts in the microwave you will want to be sure to put the batter in a microwave dish or mug. Put them on a plate for easy clean up in case the lava runs over. I find that 30 to 40 seconds in the microwave works well.
One note about making them in the microwave is that this appliance cooks the inside of the cake while it cooks the outside. Because of this, you may find that the lava is not in the center of the cake as much as it is at the bottom.
How to make these Low-Carb Lava Cakes in the Oven
To make these Lava cakes in the oven, first preheat the oven to 400º Fahrenheit. Prepare the batter, like the recipe states, but, instead of putting them in the Instant Pot, put them on a rimmed baking sheet, then in the oven. Bake for about 12 minutes. The center should jiggle slightly when the container is lightly shaken.
Is it safe to eat Keto Molten Lava Cakes?
In the recipe, the centers of the cakes rise to above 160º Fahrenheit which is adequate to destroy any salmonella. I recommend using a thermometer to check the temperature if you are concerned.
Can I make Keto Low-Carb Lava Cakes ahead?
Absolutely! I recommend making the batter and pouring it in the baking dishes or mugs. Next, Instead of cooking or baking them, cover them up and put them in the refrigerator.
You can keep the unbaked batter for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator before baking. They might last longer, but 24 hours is the longest time I’ve tested it.
If you plan to make them ahead like this, be sure to use a double acting baking powder. This type of baking powder gives a leavening boost when the wet and dry ingredients are added together, then a second boost when the batter is baked. This second boost is important as the cakes will not rise properly otherwise.
Since the ingredients to make double acting baking powder aren’t easily accessible, you probably won’t make double-acting baking powder at home. Even so, commercial baking powder will only add a tiny amount of starch to the overall recipe and cause very little impact to the carb count.
Can I freeze Keto-Friendly Low-Carb Lava Cakes?
Freezing lava cakes allows you to have a treat any time. It’s also a great way for those who live alone and those who are the only ones in their family eating keto to enjoy the second lava cake–and have it be just as good as the first.
These keto lava cakes freeze incredibly well. Just be sure to use double acting baking powder and freeze the batter before baking! Be sure to put them in air-tight containers that are both freezer safe and oven safe. I love 1/2 pint canning jars for this purpose as they even come with a lid.
When ready to enjoy the frozen lava cake, uncover the lava cake and set it out on the counter, then preheat the oven to 400º Fahrenheit. The lava cake does not need to be defrosted before baking.
Place the lava cake on a baking sheet before placing in the oven. The baking time for the frozen lava cake is longer than for a fresh cake–about 19-22 minutes.
This Low-Carb Chocolate Lava Cake Recipe makes two lava cakes. If you only need one, it would be easy to cut the recipe in half. These lava cakes go great with a bit of whipped cream with a bit of low-carb sweetener and a touch of vanilla added. They would also be amazing with our recipe for low-carb vanilla ice cream to balance out the rich chocolate flavor. Enjoy!
Low-Carb Chocolate Lava Cake Recipe
This Low-Carb Chocolate Lava Cake Recipe makes a scrumptious gooey cakes perfect for the chocolate lover in all of us. These treats are made using an Instant Pot. They can still be part of a low-carb, keto, diabetic, gluten-free, grain-free, Atkins or Banting diet
Spray two 8 ounce baking cups such as half-pint canning jars or ramekins with cooking spray. Spray them really well if you plan to turn the finished lava cakes onto a plate. If using an Instant Pot, plug in a 6 quart Instant Pot. Insert the steamer rack. Pour in two cups of water. If using an oven, preheat oven to 400º Fahrenheit.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, granulated stevia/erythritol blend, baking powder, and sea salt.
In another medium bowl, whisk together the heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract, and eggs. Stream in melted butter while whisking.
Using a mixer, blend the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Beat on high speed until smooth.
Divide batter between the prepared baking cups.
Instant Pot instructions: Gently place the uncovered filled baking cups on the steamer rack. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and turn the steam release handle to the sealing position. Select pressure cook, then use the +/- buttons to bring the time to 4:00 minutes. When the time is up, quick release the pressure (see manual for instructions). Carefully remove the lava cakes using tongs. Allow the cakes to cool for about 5 minutes or until they are cool enough to touch.
Oven instructions: Place filled baking dishes on a baking sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until sides are set, but the center still juggles a bit when the dish is gently shaken.
Microwave instructions: Place a baking dish on a plate. Microwave for 30-35 seconds.
Allow the cakes to cool about 5 minutes. Serve in their cups, or if desired, run a knife along the edge to loosen and flip them out onto a plate.