Caramel Lava Cake

Yes, I said it…Brown Sugar Caramel Lava Cake. This cake is decadence at its best. Incredibly sinful, this lava cake is a unique cake that will surely grab people’s attention. Full disclaimer: I am using boxed cake mix. I have tried it both ways and I can tell no noticeable difference. You can make your own vanilla cake from scratch but I felt that there is no need to. The star of this dessert is the caramel not the cake. Using a box saves me time and dishes and that is a win for me. However, I make my own caramel filling. You can use dulce de leche, which would give a similar result, but I feel that making your own caramel is best. Another thing I did was to line the ramekin with brown sugar and butter. While the cake bakes, the brown sugar and butter become a sticky and crispy topping to the cake. Although it might ruin the appearance, I believe that it adds an amazing flavor and texture. 

Serves: 4


  • 1 ¾ cups of prepared yellow cake batter
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter + more for greasing the ramekin
  • ¼ cup brown sugar + more for lining the ramekin
  • 3 tbs heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt


  • Add the brown sugar, butter, salt, vanilla extract, and heavy cream into a small saucepan and set to medium heat
  • Keep stirring for 5-10 minutes or until a it thickens and takes on a dark amber color 
  • Transfer the hot caramel into a bowl (preferably oiled) and refrigerate until very thick and cold. 
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Brush 4 four oz ramekins with butter and coat the sides with brown sugar
  • Evenly pour the cake batter into the prepared ramekins and tap the ramekin on a flat surface to pop any air bubbles
    • The batter should not reach the top of the ramekins because take cake will rise
  • On top of the batter, evenly dollop the cooled caramel
    • Don’t push the caramel into the middle of the cake, it will naturally sink during cooking
  • Bake for 10-20 min or until the cake are cooked
    • You can tell by inserting a toothpick into the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked
    • Do not insert the toothpick into the center of the cake…it’s a lava cake
  • Remove and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes
  • Run a knife around the edge of the ramekin and invert onto a place
  • Serve hot and with ice cream(optional)

Chef’s notes:

  • If you choose to use cake mix, make sure you whisk the batter for at least two minutes to incorporate air. This will make the cake fluffy and moist instead of dense and dry
  • When you are coating the ramekins, be generous with the butter. This will ensure the caramel doesn’t stick

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