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Full of chocolaty goodness, this easy dessert recipe for homemade Crockpot Chocolate Lava Cake, is a delicious make ahead sweet treat!
Why We Love This Recipe
I think the first time I ever had a chocolate lava cake was at a restaurant and I have to say, it was love at first bite! I’m a huge chocolate lover and this warm and creamy dessert, topped with vanilla ice cream, was just perfect to me.
So I went in search of recipe that I could recreate and home and that’s when I came up with this Crockpot Chocolate Lava Cake. You won’t believe how SIMPLE it is to make.
Many recipes I originally came across called for boxed cake mix but I wanted something that I could make without the boxed mix and was still easy to make. I modified a version that I found and the result is this recipe!
Making it in the crock pot makes it even easier because you just add the ingredients to the slow cooker, set it to cook for about 2 ½ hours and voila! A delicious dessert that is easy enough for a weeknight or even for company.
We like to serve our chocolate lava cake with cold vanilla ice cream –so yummy!
If you’re a chocolate lover like me, you won’t be disappointed with this Crockpot Chocolate Lava Cake Recipe!
Why Call It Lava Cake?
This decadent dessert creates gets its name because it creates a thick chocolate sauce that is like lava flowing out of the cake. It is sometimes also called chocolate pudding cake, chocolate cobbler or chocolate hot fudge cake. Imagine a chocolate cake filled with hot fudge and you’ve got a delicious dessert no matter the name!
The secret is in how the ingredients are added. First, you make a basic cake batter and add it to the slow cooker. Then, mix additional brown sugar and baking cocoa to sprinkle over the batter. Then comes the boiling hot water that gets poured over it all but does not get stirred in.
I’m pretty sure some sort of cooking magic goes on then because the result is a mixture of a soft cake mixed with the pudding that is created during cooking.
Ingredient Tips To Make This Chocolate Crockpot Cake
The great thing about this cake is that you probably already have all the ingredients on hand to make it today!
Most of the ingredients are self-explanatory and you should be able to easily find them at the grocery store. We like to buy a lot of our baking ingredients at ALDI or will often buy store brand as they do just as well for us and can help save money.
A note about a couple of the ingredients:
Baking Cocoa – this is the unsweetened baking cocoa you find in the baking aisle of the grocery store. Don’t confuse baking cocoa with hot cocoa mix that is found on a different aisle. I bring this up because I have had people ask about the difference before!
Milk – this recipe is tested using skim or 1% milk and the recipe card reflects that. However, I have been experimenting more often in other recipes with other milk products such as almond or oat milk. If I find that those milks work just as well, I’ll be sure to update this post. Or if you try it, I welcome your feedback on that too!
How to Make This Recipe
Have I mentioned how EASY this recipe is? It truly is. Start by combining the cake batter ingredients in a medium bowl (affiliate link) (1). I like to melt my butter in a glass measuring cup (affiliate link) and pour it in but you could also melt it directly in a glass bowl and then add the other ingredients. Just be sure to stir it well before adding it to the crockpot (affiliate link).
Next, combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl (affiliate link) then sprinkle evenly over the cake batter mixture (2).
Quickly and evenly, pour the boiling water over the entire mixture but DO NOT STIR (3). It will bubble up and you will have patches of dry topping mix here and there but that is ok. Remember, DO NOT STIR!
You will see the different layers of cake to pudding mixture when you scoop it out of the slow cooker (4). Let the cake sit about 30 minutes so it doesn’t burn anyone while eating, but you’ll want to serve it warm. We like to top ours with vanilla ice cream–so yummy!
What Size Crockpot Should I Use?
For this crockpot chocolate lava cake recipe, I use a 4-quart slow cooker (affiliate link). A smaller slow cooker like this works well because it prevents the cake from overcooking or getting dried out if a larger crockpot is used. I like to use the smaller slow cooker for my Homemade Chai Concentrate recipe too!
Be sure to check out my post 10 Tips for Slow Cooker Success for some more tips on choosing a slow cooker that works for you and your family.
Make Ahead Preparation and Storage Tips
Even though this recipe comes together quickly, there are couple of things you can do to prep ahead.
For the cake, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl or food storage container (affiliate link). You can do the same for the topping mixture (brown sugar and cocoa), leaving out the water. Make up these partial cake prep kits up to a month in advance. Just be sure to date and label them! (affiliate link)
If you just want to prep earlier in the morning to make this later in the day, you can do the same thing for the dry mix but also measure out the wet ingredients. You will need to warm the milk, vanilla, and butter mixture as they will separate in the refrigerator and the butter will float to the top and solidify. It’s easy to warm up for about 30 seconds in the microwave or a minute or two in a small saucepan on the stove.
Is This Lava Cake Freezer Friendly?
I’ve not tested freezing this cake although I think it might freeze just fine! I will test that and update here after I have. If you give it a try, I would suggest using a freezer friendly, food safe, airtight container like reusable storage bags (affiliate link) and just like I mentioned above, don’t forget to date and label (affiliate link) your container.
When ready to enjoy again, thaw completely in the refrigerator then warm up in the microwave to desired temperature and serve with vanilla ice cream.
More Delicious Chocolate Desserts
If you like chocolate like I do, be sure to check out some of my other recipes featuring chocolate!
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If you’ve tried this recipe, let me know how much you enjoyed it by coming back and leaving a comment below and a rating. I love hearing from you!
Crockpot Chocolate Lava Cake
For the Cake Batter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup Milk
- 4 Tablespoons Butter melted
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
For the Topping
- 1 cup Brown Sugar
- ½ cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 3 cups boiling water
- 4 cups vanilla ice cream
For the Cake
- Spray inside of a 4-quart slow cooker with non-stick baking spray and set aside.
- In a medium to large bowl, stir together the brown sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
- Pour in milk, melted butter and vanilla and stir until combined.
- Spread the batter over the bottom of the greased slow cooker.
For the Topping
- Mix together the brown sugar and cocoa. Sprinkle mixture over the cake batter.
- Pour the boiling water over the top. DO NOT STIR!
- Put on lid and set to HIGH and cook for 2 – 2 ½ hours. The edges will be bubbly but the cake will look “set” with the pudding oozing around it.
- Once done, cake will be VERY HOT! Turn off slow cooker (or unplug) and carefully remove lid lifting it away from you so steam does not come towards your face.
- Let slow cooker sit, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes before serving. You want it warm but not too hot! Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired.
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