Red Velvet Molten Lava Cupcakes

red velvet molten lava cupcake

Things that I find magical:

Unicorns (they DO exist)


Snagging the first parking spot in the Walmart Parking lot. (If that’s not magical, I don’t know what is.)

When Jordan says something that is so her dad, and I realize she has his wit. (The female Phil, anyone?)

Getting to meet blogging friends in real life.


Molten Lava Cake

red velvet molten lava cupcake

When I was a kid, I seriously thought that chefs did something magical to make the chocolate “lava” flow out of the center of a cake. Why didn’t it bake? How is it melty like that? It must be magic!

As an adult, I have come to understand the workings of the molten lava cake magic trick: ganache. But it’s still magical. Especially in red velvet cupcakes!

I’ve never made molten lava cake before; I’ve just consumed mass quantities of it. So…I figured it was time to try my hand at it. It being almost Valentine’s Day, my mind always sways to the beautiful red velvet cake. I figured it was time to marry the two: red velvet and molten lava cake.

I started with a red velvet cake mix. You could totally make your own favorite recipe from scratch. I hate making red velvet from scratch. One reason: food coloring.

Am I the only one who manages to get red food coloring over all-the-things when working with it? Droplets that you find for weeks? I barely have to look at my food coloring basket and all of a sudden I have red fingers and blue drops all over my counters. It’s like magic or something.

Anyway. I made a red velvet cake mix and lined a cupcake tin with liners. Fill up the liners only about halfway – not the usual 2/3 full, otherwise they will spill over. {Believe me, I did it.} Then the secret ingredient goes inside: chocolate ganache!

You make a simple truffle mixture for the center of these cupcakes. Equal parts chocolate and cream, melted, stirred until smooth, and chilled. The ganache is another magical thing I love. Each cupcake gets a tablespoon-sized ganache ball in the center. When you bake the cupcakes, they grow up and over the ganache, but it doesn’t dissolve into the cupcake. It says chocolatey and gooey and good.

So, when you cut open your cupcake you get this:

red velvet molten lava cupcake

A gooey, warm, chocolate center. The perfect pairing with the red velvet!

Serve these warm, with a little powdered sugar dusting for garnish. Or ice cream. Whatever.

It’s truly magical. Like the tooth fairy. Only yummier.

Red Velvet Molten Lava Cupcakes

Red Velvet Molten Lava Cupcakes


  • 1 box red velvet cake mix, plus ingredients called for to make the cake
  • (I used Duncan Hines and the cake mix called for 3 eggs, 1 1/4 cups water, and 1/3 cup oil.)
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Powdered sugar, for garnish


  1. Chop or break up baking chocolate and place in a medium sized bowl. Heat the cream over low heat until it just simmers. Pour over the chocolate. Stir until melted and smooth. (If it’s having a hard time melting, place it in the microwave for about 15 seconds.) Chill chocolate mixture until hardened, at least 2 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners. (About 24)
  3. Mix up cake batter according to the box directions. Fill each liner about 1/2 full of batter. (You don’t want to fill them as full as 2/3, or they will spill over. A little less than is called for on the box is good.)
  4. Remove chocolate ganache from the refrigerator. Scoop 1 tablespoon balls (I used a cookie scoop) and place one ball in the center of each cupcake batter.
  5. Bake 20-23 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the side of the cupcake (not the center!) comes out clean. Cool for just a few minutes in the pans.
  6. When ready to serve, remove the cupcakes from the pan and remove the liners. Turn upside down on a plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
  7. These are best served warm. If they cool off, just heat them for a few seconds in the microwave to heat.
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Like ganache? Well you’re in luck. On Saturday I guest posted for Kristen over at Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker. Go check these Mexican Truffles out!

Mexican Chocolate Truffles 2 words

Other red velvet goodness:

Red Velvet Hugs Cookies

red velvet hugs

Pink Velvet Cupcakes {for two}

pink velvet 1 words

Sweets from friends:
Red Velvet Monkey Bread from Something Swanky
Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies from Life As A Lofthouse
Sweetheart Sandwich Cookies by Sweet Bella Roos

This post may be linked to: Chef in TrainingLil’ LunaBuns In My OvenChic-and-CraftyI’m Lovin’ it FridaysStrut your Stuff SaturdayWeekend Wrap Up PartySundae Scoop Link Partyand all of these too!


  1. You know I can’t resist anything red velvet! Great pics!
    Jenn recently posted..Green Chile and Corn Ranch DipMy Profile

  2. Wow, these look amazing! I am making my boozy version tomorrow. Was supposed to happen today, but bronchitis got the best of me. That and laundry. Have a wonderful week, Dorothy!
    Ellen @ Bake It With Booze recently posted..Pink Champagne Cupcakes with Strawberry ButtercreamMy Profile

  3. I’ve seen these cakes listed for dessert in restaurants…but never tried one. I always wondered how they worked.

    Will definately have to try this for myself~
    Sue Ware@The Witch’s Kitchen recently posted..Minnesota Fun~My Profile

  4. These look great. I bet that molten center would be wonderful inside my chocolate Kahlua cake.
    Mom :}

  5. Really Dorothy??? Ugh…You’re gonna be the reason I dream about Red Velvet tonight!!!


  6. Um, hello gorgeous pictures! I am loving these shots, Dot! And I love rainbows and unicorns and #1 Walmart and Target spots, too. Though I always snag Walmart ones (perks of being there at 6am on a Friday morning), I NEVER luck out at Target and basically have to park at Kohl’s and hike over. However, I need all the exercise I can get since all day I dream of molten lava cakes :)
    Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel recently posted..Zagnut ChowMy Profile

  7. Kaylee @ Couponing & Cooking says:

    I have the exact same problem with food coloring. I treat my black one like cryptonite. I stand back and open it over the sink like it could combust at any moment!
    Kaylee @ Couponing & Cooking recently posted..Mealtime Monday Recipe Link Up & Features {#40}My Profile

  8. My (Atkins-going) husband is peering over my shoulder drooling over your pictures. He’s been craving a brownie all day but I think you just changed his mind to lava cakes.
    Katie @ Dip It In Chocolate recently posted..Red Hot Firecracker Ice CreamMy Profile

  9. Dorothy, are you serious right now? These just look amazing. Yum. Thanks for sharing!
    Whitney @ The Newlywed Chefs recently posted..Vegetable LasagnaMy Profile

  10. I always wondered how this was done! Looks easy enough!
    Kristin recently posted..Pinned. Did. Done.My Profile

  11. I’m just a Southern gal who loves red velvet–this is a real keeper and I think it will be excellent for Valentine’s Day, XOXO
    Susan recently posted..Roasted Pineapple Mini Bundts and February’s Apron Give-AwayMy Profile

  12. These are SO PRETTY, Dorothy! And your pictures–fabulous!!!
    Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl recently posted..What’s In Your Kitchen WednesdayMy Profile

  13. Yessssss! Ganache is magical. I could live on ganache alone – so dang good. These look awesome! I love the photos, too. And those truffles? So cute!
    Back For Seconds recently posted..3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies {Gluten Free}My Profile

  14. I want to JUST eat that soft gooey perfectly chocolate center. Okay and the rest of the cake too! They are so puffy and moist looking!
    Averie @ Averie Cooks recently posted..Browned Butter Buttermilk Banana Bread with Strawberry ButterMy Profile

    • Thanks Averie! Cake mix is wonderful that way. One of these days I’m going to find the perfect non-cake mix cake recipes that actually taste good! Mine always are hard and dry. :)

  15. Yummmmmy!!!! I can’t wait to try these. I am visiting for the 1st time. I hope you come to visit my party every week on Tuesdays-

  16. These look amazing! I was trying to figure out what to make for our valentines dessert and i think this has just cinched the deal
    Tash @ The Velvet Moon Baker recently posted..Love Note CookiesMy Profile

  17. I have a weakness for red velvet. Great recipe! I love how easy your recipe is to make such an incredible dessert!
    Jennifer @ Mother Thyme recently posted..Organize Now! Week 4: Organize Your RoutineMy Profile

  18. great now I want lava cake!
    sue @ Cakeballs, cookies and more recently posted..Tuxedo StrawberriesMy Profile

  19. Love this spin! I have a major weakness for the molten cakes. We live right next to Jean Georges restaurant (he’s famous for making a chocolate one), and I’ve definitely been known to pick up a few to go. :) Your explanation makes it sound so approachable that I might just have to give it a try at home!
    Ashley recently posted..5 Meals for Kids in 5 MinutesMy Profile

  20. Magic.

    Pure and simple <3
    Kayle (The Cooking Actress) recently posted..Potato "Cake"My Profile

  21. This is one of my favorite desserts and now I’m all excited to try this recipe! Thanks for sharing :)
    Shannon @ Searching For Dessert recently posted..Super Mini Whole Wheat DoughnutsMy Profile

  22. I want to dig right in to that chocolate-y goodness!
    Katrina @ In Katrina’s Kitchen recently posted..PicMonkey Mondays: Inserting Text Onto PhotosMy Profile

  23. These look glorious!! I’d love one (or three) right about now!!
    Becca @ Crumbs and Chaos recently posted..Triple Chocolate ScotcheroosMy Profile

  24. Ah! I was just looking for a good dessert to make on VDay, think I found it! And yes, getting the first spot in Walmart is the epitome of magicalness!!! Great pics :)
    Summer @ Mallow and Co recently posted..Conversation Hearts Rice Krispy TreatsMy Profile

  25. You know… I was still pretty certain that lava cakes were made using magic!
    Kelly @ Hidden Fruits and Veggies recently posted..Healthy Gluten Free Donuts with NutsMy Profile

  26. I can’t wait to try this!!! I love lava cake and Valentine’s Day is my excuse to eat way to much chocolate. :)
    Aubrey @ Real Housemoms recently posted..Bacon Jalapeño Popper DipMy Profile

  27. Oh man… these look dangerously good!!! I’ve never made lava cakes, but now… I MUST.
    ashley – baker by nature recently posted..Chocolate – Chili Roll Out CookiesMy Profile

  28. I am right there with you when it comes to red velvet cake mix ;) I am happy to know that I’m not the only one that wears food coloring.
    Brenda recently posted..Nutter Butter Pea PodsMy Profile

  29. What great cupcakes! And I think I find those things magical also! Especially the parking spot at wal mart
    Chandra@The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen recently posted..Show Me Your Plaid Monday&#8217;s #9My Profile

  30. These look amazing Dorothy, but here is a challenge for you – can you make a molten cream cheese filling to be like the traditional cheesecake frosting on red velvet?! :-) Just a thought…
    Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips recently posted..Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Sandwiches (and 3 variations) for a #SundaySupper #SuperBowl PartyMy Profile

  31. Aw, thanks for sharing my sandwich cookies! I LOVE lava cakes. When we went on our cruise two years ago I had the chocolate lava cake for dessert every-single-day. I tried to make them once but it didn’t go so well… might be time to try again!!! (Or beg hubby to take me on another cruise…) lol
    Emily @ Sweet Bella Roos recently posted..Winter Fashion from Cookie&#8217;s KidsMy Profile

  32. I love lava cake! Such a fun idea to make them red velvet!
    Jessica@AKitchenAddiction recently posted..Salted Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip CookiesMy Profile

  33. Yes. Unicorns do exist. I’m with you there. I find these cupcakes just as magical though – all of a sudden I’m craving a spoonful of ganache… why do we not live closer again??
    Trish @ Mom On Timeout recently posted..Chocolate Cherry Marshmallow Crunch BarsMy Profile

  34. These look unbelievable, Dorothy! Like…seriously!! So glad to have you partying with us this week! You’re being featured on today’s Tuesday Ten:

    Have a fabulous week!

  35. Molten lava cakes are the bomb-diggity! Every single one!
    Loretta | A Finn In The Kitchen recently posted..Green Zinger JuiceMy Profile

  36. Wow, these look absolutely amazing! This would be great for Valentine’s Day!
    Alyssa recently posted..Strawberry Nutella PieMy Profile

  37. Oh, that ganache gets me weak in the knees! Love that stuff! And baked into a cupcake? This is fabulous!!!
    Jocelyn @BruCrew Life recently posted..Funfetti Nutella CupcakesMy Profile

  38. A M A Z I N G!!! {Pinning!} … I was just wondering, how is it possible that I haven’t yet subscribed to your fabulous blog?! I’ve quickly changed that, subscribing here & following you on Pinterest now too! ;*)
    Brenda recently posted..Most-Requested Crockpot Macaroni & Cheese (5 Ingredients to YUM!)My Profile

  39. Oh yes, these cupcakes are magical. I love anything ganache and hidden in a warm red velvet cupcake must taste heavenly!
    Roxana | Roxana’s Home Baking recently posted..Nutella cupcakes with Nutella frostingMy Profile

  40. Now that is a Valentine surprise…yum!
    Holly Lefevre recently posted..Beach Picnic for Two: A Little Rustic, A Little Glam, A Little RomanticMy Profile

  41. These are awesome! Sharing them on G+. Thanks for linking them up!

  42. Test
    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust recently posted..I Heart My Teacher Valentine PrintableMy Profile

  43. These look absolutely heavenly!! Featured you tonight Dorothy at Monday Funday! ;)
    Bonnie and Trish @ Uncommon recently posted..Monday Funday Link Party {#5}My Profile

  44. Seeing this makes me so sad that I haven’t been following your blog for ages. You must have a million brilliant recipes I have yet to discover.
    Renee @ Awesome on $20 recently posted..Spam Mac and Cheese & Spam Jam WaikikiMy Profile

  45. Hi! These look delicious, thanks for sharing! I am going to try these with pink velvet this weekend. Question though ~ when they are not warm, what consistency is the ganache? Is it too hard to bite into… or will it still be fine?

    I will post back when I bake these up & let y’all know what I find out.

    Thank you!

    • I just made these tonight ~ as per the recipe & mine are a globby chocolate goop :(
      I have weird tops where the ganache oozes out over the cake… and when I open the cupcake liner, all the ganache is seeping out the bottom of the cupcake.

      Any ideas for how to remedy?! I am so excited to put these on my Valentine’s menu but they have to look presentable ;) THANK YOU!

  46. These look divine!!! I shared the link on my blog bc I’ll be making them for my Valentine!! Since I’m making ganache, I’m going to crisp up some maple bacon and cover the bacon in the leftover chocolate to garnish. YUM!!


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