3-2-1 Molten Lava Cake

3-2-1 Molten Lava Cake

Cue the trumpets. I present to you an upgrade of the original Magic 3-2-1 Cake; 3-2-1 Molten Lava Cake! Rich, creamy, melted chocolate nestled in an individual chocolate cake that bakes in one minute in the microwave. The ultimate in instant gratification.


When I posted the directions for the original 3-2-1 Cake, I never anticipated the overwhelming enthusiastic response. It turns out that lots of people are looking for recipes that are fast, fun, and easy.  3-2-1 cake is a perfect care package treat for anyone with a sweet tooth and access to a microwave, in other words, most college students and many military. The Molten Lava upgrade caters to the chocoholic. It looks and tastes fancy enough for company!

3-2-1 Molten Lava Cake

The magic mix for 3-2-1 Molten Lava Cake is one box of angel food cake mix combined with one box of chocolate cake mix.  To make an individual cake, mix three tablespoons of cake mix and two tablespoons of water in a mug, then press three chocolates into the batter. One minute in the microwave and you have chocolate bliss. That’s it!

3-2-1 Molten Lava CakeI tried two different methods for placing the chocolate squares into the batter. Pressing the chocolate down the center, one piece on top of the other, produces a column of melted chocolate down the center of the cake, which I think is perfect. It also leaves a crater of molten chocolate on the top of the cake. If you would prefer a crater-less cake, gently lay the chocolate onto the surface of the batter, overlapping as little as possible. The cake rises up and over the chocolate while baking. There is a pocket of melted chocolate toward the top of the cake in this version and a cake covering.

3-2-1 Molten Lava CakeFor care package use, pour the two cake mixes into a gallon-size zip lock bag labeled with directions, add a bag of chocolates, a measuring spoon and a can of non-stick spray. For a special touch, include a mug and spoon.

3-2-1 Molten Lava Cake

3-2-1 Molten Lava Cake
Makes: about 24 mugs of cake
  • 1 box Angel Food Cake mix
  • 1 box chocolate cake mix (I used devil’s food.)
  • Non-stick spray
  • Water
  • Chocolate squares (3 per mug) (I used Dove Promises and Hershey’s Bliss)
  1. In a gallon sized ziplock bag, combine the two boxes of cake mix. Shake the bag to mix thoroughly.
  2. Lightly coat the inside of a microwaveable mug with non-stick spray. (Without the spray the cake will not transfer out of the mug.)
  3. (Here comes the 3-2-1 part) Into the prepared mug, stir together 3 tablespoons of cake mix and 2 tablespoons of water. Push three chocolate squares, one on top of the other, into the center of the batter. The cake will rise around the chocolate pile, so don’t worry if some of the chocolate is not submerged.
  4. Microwave on high for 1 minute.
  5. The cake can be eaten right out of the mug. If you want to transfer the cake onto a plate, run a knife around the edge between the cake and the mug to loosen, then dump out onto a plate.
Packing tips
Combine the two cake mixes into a labeled gallon-size ziplock bag. Include a measuring spoon, bag of chocolates and a can of non-stick spray. Write out directions on an index card or directly on the ziplock bag. For a special touch, include a mug and spoon.



3-2-1 Magic Mug                                      3-2-1 Molten Lava                                   3-2-1 Caramel Apple

3-2-1 Boston Cream                                 3-2-1 Piña Colada                                      3-2-1 Black Forest

3-2-1 Collage 3C

3-2-1 Candy Bar                          3-2-1 Strawberry Lemonade                             3-2-1 Mandarin


    • says

      Shoot, Jeanne! A missed opportunity! With all of that melting chocolate, I didn’t pay attention to the divine struggle within the cake itself. :) When my son makes this (over and over until he runs out of clean mugs) during exams week, he could call it “I Only Have a Minute, 3 am Chocolate Cravings Cake”.:)

  1. says

    HA! i don’t know why it struck me as hilarious to read that it makes “48 cups of cake.” YES!!! :) And oh my heavens, how pretty are those little cakes, too! What a great upgrade; seriously, it’s one of those “a-ha” things that i would have never thought of, but that is absolutely perfect. Stunning photos, Wendy!

    • says

      Agreed, Shannon. 48 cupcakes is a ridiculous amount for one person! You discovered my secret. Obviously, I am subliminally promoting world peace through the sharing of 3-2-1 cakes! :) :) Luckily, the mix lasts for ages. My son ate (and shared) his care package cakes for awhile then forgot about the mix for a month or two until exams when he was hunting for anything edible in his room late one night. Apparently, these are especially good when you are sleep deprived and its 3 am. :)
      Thanks so much for your kind words about the photos! The visual allure is so important. I know what I am trying to achieve but frequently don’t have the skill to achieve it. A work in progress. :)

  2. says

    Love this! Terrific idea. As for military, you might want to check with your Soldiers’ Angel bakers about the Pam spray. I never send aerosol cans in care packages to Afghanistan or Iraq because when I first started, they said not to. But that was a long time ago.

    • says

      As always, Gina, thanks for a heads up about the aerosol cans! It never would have occurred to me! I will definitely ask the Soldiers’ Angels bakers. I wonder if baking spray comes in a pump bottle somewhere (the way hairspray comes in aerosol or non-aerosol)?
      In the non-care package department: Sophia and friends would probably enjoy the magic of these. Actually, I am tickled every time I see it work. :)

      • says

        You can occasionally get olive oil in a pump bottle, or you could send military members some coconut oil (not spray). The advantage is that it takes years to go rancid, even without refrigeration. And it tastes great with chocolate cake.

        • says

          Thanks for the ideas, Kallen! I will be updating the 3-2-1 cake posts soon with the suggestion to send disposable microwave safe paper cups. That way there is no clean up involved and the oil can be avoided altogether! For those who still wish to send oil, a spray bottle or your coconut oil idea would both work!

    • says

      Thanks! I think the milky-ness of any Cadbury chocolate would work well in here too. When friends ask if we want anything from the UK we always ask for our favorite Cadbury bars. :)

  3. says

    Talk about instant gratification! haha I love it! I really should keep the ingredients for this on hand for my crazy dessert cravings! Although then I have a feeling I’ll give in to those cravings a lot easier! I don’t have much willpower when it comes to dessert : )

  4. says

    This is just wonderful, Wendy! I think almost everyone I know would be thrilled to get this in the mail! You know how much I love chocolate so I’m hooked and then I see how easy it is to make! I’ve never had chocolate angel food cake. I’m not a fan of the plain but I know chocolate would be a whole different story. And molten lava cake is possibly my favorite dessert of all time (my son too) and it’s that gooey center, which is here in full force. Can you tell I want this?! ; )

    • says

      Thanks, Monica! The angel food really just serves as the eggs in this mix, so no worries about it tasting like angel food cake. :) For regular 3-2-1 cake the flavored mix can be any flavor at all. For the molten lava., the more chocolaty the better! The gooey melted chocolate center eliminates any possibility of this tasting like anything but chocolate. :) Kids especially get a kick out of the “magic” when this turns into a cake in 1 minute. I think your son would have fun with it. :)

  5. says

    On the one hand these are way to easy to make – I can see myself whipping these up every night for my raging sweet tooth! And unpacking my stretchy pants haha. On the other hand I like that you don’t have to bake a whole cake and therefore eat the entire cake – you can have your dessert and be done with it! Yay! Plus I can easily whip one up for my Dad when his raging sweet tooth hits. Yes, I blame him for my sweet tooth inheritance. Love the tunnel of chocolate in the middle too! Makes it extra delectable.

    • says

      What a relief to hear something blamed on Dad instead of Mom!! :) The stretchy pants are a major worry with dessert blogging, thats for sure!! 3-2-1 cakes in no way compete with “real” cakes, but they are tasty and quick, making them perfect for sudden cravings, people short on time or baking interest, and care package recipients. :) I agree, the chocolate tunnel makes these (I love this word) delectable!

  6. gacoalition4childprotectionreform1 says

    Molten Lava Cakes, 1 min in microwave, UNHEARD of. But definitely gonna try them. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Heather says

    I’m craving chocolate, and only have one box of came mix (chocolate) can I do this without the angel food cake?

    • The Monday Box says

      Hi! Thank you for reading The Monday Box! I enjoyed reading your German microwave cake site! What fun to have a site where people can share their favorite microwave cake recipes! For care packages, my recipes use only ingredients that can be shipped so that the person who gets the care package can make their own cakes. I use cake mix so that no eggs or other refrigerated ingredients are needed. Your site includes lots of helpful hint for any kind of microwave cake cooking. Anyone can use Google Translate if they don’t speak German! :)


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