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Did you know that you can make Lava Cupcakes with cake mix? I love making Red Velvet Lava Cupcakes for Valentine’s Day but you can make these all year long with ANY flavor cake mix!

They’re basically a cupcake filled with a rich chocolate ganache – they’re SO rich and easy to make!

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Lava cupcakes

Things that I find magical:

Unicorns (they DO exist)

Love and being with my family.

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

CAKE MIX. (RIGHT?? Isn’t it the BEST?)

Even better: making molten lava cake out of cake mix!

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!

Table of Contents
  1. What is a Lava Cake?
  2. Make Lava Cake with CAKE MIX!
  3. Make chocolate ganache for the center of the cupcake
  4. Serving Lava Cupcakes
  5. Red Velvet Molten Lava Cupcakes Recipe Recipe
Cake mix lava cupcakes

What is a Lava Cake?

A traditional Molten Lava Cake (aka Molten Chocolate Cake) is a cross between a soufflé and a flourless chocolate cake. When you dig your spoon into the center of the cake, the chocolate center flows out like lava, get it?

Now, these aren’t traditional lava cakes – they’re lava cupcakes – and they’re made with ganache. But they’re easy to make and SO GOOD, so they’re a good starting point if you’ve never made lava cake before.

Make Lava Cake with CAKE MIX!

I started with a red velvet cake mix. You could use my red velvet cupcake recipe, but 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.

So, to save my sanity, 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.

Then it’s time for the secret ingredient: chocolate ganache!

Lava cupcakes step by step

Make chocolate ganache for the center of the cupcake

You make a simple truffle mixture for the center of these cupcakes.

  • Equal parts chocolate and cream, melted, stirred until smooth
  • Then chill until it sets.
  • 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.

Once the cupcakes are baked, you let them cool only slightly, then remove the wrappers and get them ready to serve. When you cut open the cupcake (when it’s still warm) you get a gooey chocolate center.

It’s not super lava, but my lava cupcakes are just as good as a molten lava cake!

Red velvet lava cupcakes

Serving Lava Cupcakes

Serve these warm, without the wrappers. If they’ve cooled, just heat them in the microwave for a few seconds. Dust them with powdered sugar for a delicious special dessert!

Other Cake Mix Favorites:

Have you made this recipe?

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Lava cupcakes

Red Velvet Molten Lava Cupcakes Recipe

2.91 from 11 votes
Make Lava Cake as Lava Cupcakes with your favorite cake mix! Red Velvet Lava Cupcakes are the perfect easy dessert – cupcakes filled with ganache!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Yield 24 cupcakes
Serving Size 1 cupcake


  • 1 approximately 15 ounce box red velvet cake mix plus ingredients called for to make the cake (eggs, water, and oil)
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Powdered sugar for garnish


  • Chop or break up baking chocolate and place in a medium sized bowl. Heat the cream over low heat until it just simmers (or in the microwave for about 45 seconds). 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.
  • Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • These are best served warm. If they cool off, just heat them for a few seconds in the microwave to heat.

Recipe Video

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 72kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 57mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 78IU | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Dorothy Kern
Keyword cake mix, chocolate, cupcake, red velvet

Click here for my complete list of Valentine’s Day Recipes!

Red velvet lava cake recipe

Make Lava Cake as Lava Cupcakes with your favorite cake mix! Red Velvet Lava Cupcakes are the perfect easy dessert – cupcakes filled with ganache!

Last Updated on February 2, 2020

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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  1. Oh yes, these cupcakes are magical. I love anything ganache and hidden in a warm red velvet cupcake must taste heavenly!

  2. 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! ;*)

  3. Oh, that ganache gets me weak in the knees! Love that stuff! And baked into a cupcake? This is fabulous!!!

  4. 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??

  5. 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