Sweet Musings with a Bitterly Sharp Wit

A Whole Lava Love


Pastry chefs, restaurateurs, and seasoned eaters the world over groan with a deliberate roll of the eyes as the dessert menu lands on their tables. Invariably, no matter the cuisine, listed there amongst the sweet offerings will be the classic chocolate lava cake. No one can begrudge the treat for its flavor, as chocolate boasts a nearly universal approval rate across all dining demographics, but it simply seems like the default, stock answer to the question a lazy cook doesn’t want to address. To continually make such an obvious culinary faux-pas, whoever is at the helm in the kitchen must be terribly uncreative, tone-deaf, or simply apathetic about the meal’s final course. We can all agree that there are few innovations to be found in this antiquated cake, despite the richest, most flowery printed descriptions.

So why do they keep turning up around every dining room corner, and better yet, why do we keep ordering them? For all our claims of being adventurous eaters, open to new, sometimes risky flavor pairings, the attraction to tried-and-true chocolate decadence is simply irresistible. Whether you’ve indulged in one lava cake or 80 in your lifetime, it just doesn’t get old.

Putting food snobbery aside and conceding that there are far worse ways to end a meal, it becomes clear that the real issue isn’t necessarily the sheer number of molten chocolate cakes, but the number of poorly executed renditions. There’s still plenty of room for improvement.

My inspiration to revisit the original, antiquated recipe came from an unlikely source. Protein powder and downright hedonistic desserts are hardly a natural combination, but from one sip of the newly released Natural Whipped Chocolate protein powder by Pro(Zero), I knew it wasn’t so far fetched. Not only did this highly nutritious base help to foster the perfect gooey interior texture, but its natural thickening powers abolished the need for any gluten at all.

There’s no shame in falling for these babycakes containing a rich pool of hot chocolate lava, especially when they deliver a surprising punch of protein and fiber, too.

Molten Mocha Protein Cakes

2 Ounces (1/3 Cup) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/4 Cup Aquafaba (Chickpea Brine)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Pro(Zero) Natural Whipped Chocolate Protein Powder
3 Tablespoons Confectioner’s Sugar
1 Teaspoon Instant Espresso Powder
1/8 Teaspoon Salt
1/8 Teaspoon Baking Powder

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and lightly grease 4 standard muffin cups. Fill the remaining 2 in the pan halfway with room temperature water; set aside.

Place the chocolate chips in a medium, microwave-safe bowl along with the aquafaba and oil. Heat for 30 – 60 seconds, stirring thoroughly until the chocolate has completely melted. Add in the protein powder, sugar, espresso powder, salt, and baking powder, mixing well, being sure to beat out any clumps. The batter should be smooth and fairly thick.

Divide the batter equally between your four prepared muffin cups and gently slide the pan into the oven. Bake for just 7 – 8 minutes, no matter how under-baked they may look. The sides should be firm, but the centers will remain soft and may fall slightly as they rest. Let the cakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes before carefully pouring out the water from the empty tins. Invert the whole pan over cutting board a or large, flat plate before transferring them to individual dessert plates. Serve immediately while still warm.

Makes 4 Small Cakes

Printable Recipe

This post was is sponsored by HPN Supplements, but all content and opinions are entirely my own.


Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

20 thoughts on “A Whole Lava Love

  1. Well, heck, this sure is not the run of the mill list of lava cake ingredients! I am utterly intrigued and completely in awe of your creativity! Brava and kudos to you!


  2. I’m intrigued by the use of protein powder. Baked goods can be so touchy. How could you be sure it would work or had you tested the ingredient before?


  3. Looks so delicious!!! Nice!!!

    Please visit and follow my blog ( or my Instagram (lazymom_cooking) for some recipe ideas


  4. I don’t use protein powder. Do you reckon I could sub in besan successfully?


  5. I can’t get enough of chocolate lava cake, strangely I don’t see it as run of the mill because I’ve never seen it on a restaurant menu in England!! In fact before going vegan don’t know if I’d have even heard of it! I’ve now eaten it twice, once at Millennium and once at Veganerie in Bangkok. Your recipe is definitely intriguing and if I ever jump onto the protein powder bandwagon I’ll be giving it a whirl.


  6. Oh my, this is such a fun use of protein powder. Thanks, can’t wait to try it!


  7. Protein powder turned into cake ingredient – very clever stuff! My lava cakes more often than not end up as un-lava cakes, but I can’t say as I mind too much – I just recast them as chocolate desserts, and noone’s the wiser!


  8. Believe it or not, I’ve never made or eaten lava cake. It’s one of those things I’ve thought of making so many times but always make something else instead. It looks like the definition of ‘comfort food’. One of these days I will make one!


  9. I will never get tired of lava cakes/coulants…so simple yet so decadent! I can’t stop looking at your amazing creation, this lava cake must be pure bliss to one’s tastebuds!!!



  10. Ok, your recipe is absolute genius! And your photos are stunning! :) I also did a lava cake recently, but yours “takes the cake”. ;)


  11. I must be eating in all the wrong places, I’ve yet to try a lava cake. After seeing your version, now I really want to try it. :-)


  12. I want this so bad!!!! This blog makes me so hungry.


  13. Brilliant use of protein powder!


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