Peanut Butter Molten Chocolate Cake

Southern Living Peanut Butter Lava Cake

Active Time:

15 mins

Total Time:

50 mins



Surprise friends and family with this warm, peanut butter molten chocolate cake that serves a crowd. As you spoon into the center, watch as a river of peanut butter-chocolate lava flows.

Finished with salty and crunchy peanuts on top, this is the ultimate dessert for chocolate-peanut lovers. We opt for smooth peanut butter, but for added texture. You could also use a crunchy variety.

Although most of the ingredients for this easy cake are pantry staples, there’s two that might be less familiar to some: Dutch-process cocoa and instant espresso granules. The Dutch-process cocoa lends a richer chocolate flavor to the cake, but regular cocoa powder will also work. The instant espresso is also added to help deepen the chocolate flavor and is typically found in the coffee and tea aisle of most major grocery stores. 


  • Baking spray
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. Dutch-process cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. instant espresso granules
  • 1 1/4 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 9 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter (not the all-natural kind)
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped roasted salted peanuts
  • Vanilla ice cream (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch square baking dish with baking spray. Sift together flour, cocoa, salt, and espresso granules into a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. Place chocolate chips and butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on HIGH for 1 minute; stir. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until fully melted, about 2 minutes total; set aside.
  3. Beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale and doubled in volume, about 2 minutes. Beat in flour mixture on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds. Gradually beat in melted chocolate mixture just until no streaks of chocolate remain, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  4. Pour half of batter into prepared baking dish. Dollop evenly with peanut butter, then top with remaining batter. Sprinkle evenly with peanuts. Bake in preheated oven until edges of cake start to pull away from sides of baking dish and center still jiggles slightly, 30 to 35 minutes. (If using a dark metal baking pan, begin checking at 25 minutes.) Serve immediately with vanilla ice cream, if desired.