Mini Heart-Shaped Red Velvet LAVA Cakes!!!

Cut into these Red Velvet Lava Cakes to find a bittersweet chocolate molten lava center. Perfect for Valentine's Day or Lunar New Year!

I remember the first time I had a lava cake. (I can't remember what I wore two days ago, but I can remember FOOD from 20 years ago.) My sister worked for Morton's, and one night, she and I splurged and treated ourselves to dinner there. Dessert was a magical cake with a warm, liquid, molten chocolate filling. I think I heard angels singing.

Mini Heart-Shaped Red Velvet LAVA Cake, chocolate center

That was many moons ago and many lava cakes ago (and many pounds ago). Since then, I've eaten my share of them. You'll probably also need to make these Chocolate Peanut Butter Lava Cakes!

*this recipe was developed for Imperial Sugar

Heart-Shaped Red Velvet LAVA Cakes, closeup

How do you make the center of a lava cake gooey?

Lave cakes are made one of two ways...
  1. a slightly undercooked batter that runs out from the center. 
  2. a chocolate truffle is inserted during baking; the truffle melts as the cake bakes.

Mini Heart-Shaped Red Velvet LAVA Cakes, truffle centers

For this recipe, I went with the truffle method. (Also, you'll have a couple of extra truffles to munch on while you're working...bonus!) 

Heart-Shaped Red Velvet LAVA Cakes batter in kitchenaid mixer

I'm not usually a fan of red velvet cake. Case in point, I've been publishing dessert recipes on Bake at 350 since 2007, and this is the only red velvet recipe you'll find. 

Typical red velvet cake pretends to be chocolate and does contain some cocoa, but the chocolate flavor just isn't there. velvet lava cakes totally solve this issue. You'll get your red velvet AND a mega dose of chocolate.

Heart-Shaped Red Velvet LAVA Cakes

These mini red velvet lava cakes are so special...for Valentine's Day, anniversaries, or just to say "I love you" to your people.

Heart-Shaped Red Velvet LAVA Cakes, batter in ramekins

The batter looks a little like ketchup. I used Americolor Gel Paste Food Coloring in Super Red. You'll only need 1/2 teaspoon instead of 2 bottles of the liquid coloring.

making mini red velvet lava cakes

The cakes will deflate a little as they rest. That's ok. You'll invert these onto a dessert plate, so these are actually the bottoms of the cakes.

*If you can't find heart-shaped ramekins, feel free to use round ones. Look for 6-ounce ramekins. I love these 6-ounce ramekins with the hearts on the bottom

Heart-Shaped Red Velvet LAVA Cakes, with center oozing out onto plate

Heart-Shaped Red Velvet Lava Cakes

Prep Time: 40 minutes 
Chill/Freeze Time: 2 hours
Bake Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 5 

For the centers: 
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream

For the cakes: 
1 1/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting baking dishes
1 1/2 TBSP natural cocoa (not Dutch-process), plus more for dusting baking dishes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup Imperial Sugar Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon red gel paste food coloring
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon white vinegar
Imperial Sugar Confectioners Powdered Sugar

Make the centers:
Set a glass bowl over, but not touching, a pan of simmering water. Melt the chopped chocolate, stirring frequently. Add the cream and stir, still keeping the bowl over the simmering water, until smooth and combined. 

Place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours or until firm enough to scoop.

Scoop into 2-teaspoon sized balls and place on waxed paper. (You may have 6 or 7, but you'll only need 5. Roll the remaining in cocoa powder or chopped nuts and serve as truffles.)  Freeze for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350. Butter five 6-ounce heart or round ramekins. Line the bottoms with parchment. Butter the parchment. To dust the baking dishes, combine equal parts flour and cocoa. Dust the buttered ramekins with the flour/cocoa mixture. Set on a baking sheet.

Whisk the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda together. 

With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then the vanilla and food coloring. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. 

Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk. With the second addition of the buttermilk, add the vinegar. Beat just until combined. 

Fill the prepared ramekins about 2/3rds full of the batter. Place the ramekins on the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 9 minutes. Remove from the oven and add the frozen truffles. Lightly press each one into the batter, but don't worry if it's not covered all the way. The cake will bake around it. 

Continue to bake for about 12 minutes more, until the batter is baked and bounced back in the center when lightly pressed. Remove to a wire rack for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, run a thin knife around the edge of the ramekins. Place a plate face-down over each ramekin and invert. The cake should pop out. Remove the parchment. 

Dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately. 

mini heart-shaped red velvet lava cakes ... so cute for Valentine's Day dessert!
I'm also sharing the recipe on Imperial Sugar today. 
Hop on over and grab the recipe!

*this post was updated for 2024

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