Rachel Khoo


Posted by Rachel

February 17th, 2015

Recipe: Lemon Lava Cakes

Rachel Khoo's Kitchen Notebook Lemon Lava cakes recipe

The Amalfi coast is blessed with an abundance of citrus fruits, and these little cakes erupt like the nearby Mount Vesuvius, oozing a zingy hot lemon curd – they’re desserts with attitude.

Recipe taken from Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook – you can order a copy here.


Makes 6

For the lemon curd – for step-by-step instructions, watch my YouTube video here 

Juice of 3 lemons (about 110ml/3¾fl oz)
200g (7oz) caster sugar
2 eggs
A pinch of sea salt
50g (1¾oz) cold unsalted butter, cubed

For the sponge

100g (3½oz) soft unsalted butter, plus extra to grease the ramekins
80g (3oz) caster sugar, plus 1tbsp to dust the ramekins
2 eggs
2 tbsp whole milk
Zest of 3 unwaxed lemons
100g (3½oz) plain flour


You will need 6 x 120ml (4fl oz) ramekins.


Place all the ingredients for the lemon curd, apart from the butter, in a medium saucepan on a gentle heat and whisk continuously for 5-8 minutes, or until the mixture thickens. Whisk in the butter, cube by cube.

Take off the heat once all the butter has melted. Pour into a wide bowl and cool for 20-30 minutes, or until it reaches room temperature. Pour into a disposable piping bag or a heavy-duty food bag, and refrigerate until using.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/ gas 6. Butter the ramekins and dust with sugar. In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Lightly beat the eggs and gradually add them to the mix, beating all the time, then add the milk and zest.

Sift the flour into the mix and incorporate well. Divide the batter between the ramekins until just over half full. Take the piping or food bag, snip off a corner, insert the tip into the centre of the batter in each ramekin and pipe in the curd until two-thirds full.

Place on a baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and spring back when touched. Immediately run a knife around the edges of the cakes before turning them out onto plates. Serve straightaway.

Top tip

Make sure you don’t let the curd boil, as this will make it split and give it an eggy taste. The leftover lemon curd is delicious swirled into yoghurt.

If you liked this recipe, then head over to my new project Khoollect and try making these lemon cheesecake bites.

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35 thoughts on “Recipe: Lemon Lava Cakes

  1. Wow! I get through a lot of lemon curd, but never thought of doing this with it. First attempt this morning before work, and fantastic results so thank you thank you thank you! 🙂 absolutely delicious textures and tastes… next time I might make them for other people rather than just for my elevenses 😀

  2. Am making the lemon lava cakes for guests…can they be prepped and kept in fridge ready to go in the oven or are they best made “fresh” start to finish??..

    1. Hi Steve – yep this is absolutely fine to do. You’ll need to adjust the baking time though, just a couple of minutes extra and you should be fine! Hope you enjoy them.

      Best wishes

  3. Rachel, love your show and recipes! But can’t find a recipe for your delicious looking Foccacia Buns. Made the carrot soup, YUMMMM, but could not serve with the buns !!!
    Please can you out them on your recipes ???

  4. Hi Rachel,
    Saw you making your lemon lava cakes recently, love the series! I’m keen to make them, no raising agent required?
    Thanks Julie

  5. Lousy method.
    Tried this three times for naught result.
    Whisking the curd puts too much air into it.
    Tried again only stirring the curd and got a better result.
    Making the cakes, well adding the lemon zest before the flour caused the butter to split.

    Fix up the method.

    1. Hi Sam,

      I’m sorry to hear you’ve had trouble with my lava cakes. I’ve made them so many times now and not had this problem. It’s difficult to know what’s happening to cause this without being there… Whisking is essential as the heat is stronger than would be using a bain marie method – it may be that you have whisked too hard. When I was in Melbourne I filmed this recipe for Good Food Australia – you should be able to find the video here. The only other thing I can suggest is having a look at my lemon curd recipe again and watching the video I filmed for my YouTube channel.

      I hope this helps a little!

  6. Hi Rachel
    great show – really enjoyed your Parisian Kitchen.
    Just wondering do you have a version of this which is gluten free?
    Could I use hazelnut meal or something?
    Thank you

  7. Hi Rachel,

    I’m steadily working my way through your recipes in Kitchen Notebook and have loved every one so far.

    I made these little lemon lava cakes last night. I followed your method to the letter and they turned out perfectly and were a big hit with my friends!

    Glad to read in the comments above that they can be prepped in advance for dinner parties as I will definitely be making these again.

    Thanks and keep the great recipes coming!

  8. hi rachel,
    i am dying to try out this for a few days already but everytime i have to rush off for some errands. can i bake these in the morning instead and serve in the afternoon? do i need to warm them up before serving? if so, is it best to use microwave or oven to warm up?
    thanks for your advice.

  9. hi rachel, really enjoy your shows so keep up the good work!

    just wondering if these can be made a day in advance and left in fridge like chocolate lava cakes?

    keen to make these for a dinner party this sat so hopefully you can see this before friday lol, thanks a lot 🙂

  10. Great idea, I gave this récipe to my Peruvian students where I teach and they loved it. I watch BBC here in Lima (only one in English and my Spanish is lousy) and really enjoy your show, keep going,
    Robert also a Brit

  11. Hi Rachel
    Great idea,I watch BBC here in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
    Absolutely delicious textures and tastes.great idea a recipe for your delicious looking Foccacia Buns.
    thanks a lot

  12. Hi Rachel! I checked out the video on Good Food Australia and it seems like there was lemon zest added to both the curd and sponge but lemon zest is not listed as an ingredient for the curd? May I know how much lemon zest should be added for the curd? 🙂 Thank you!

  13. Seen this recipe on your show last night.I have made the chocolate ones before and have a friend who does not like chocolate can you imagine that. Will test this one out on her. I live in Porters Lake,Nova Scotia Canada. Love your show.

  14. Hi Rachel,

    I tried it the other day but the curd sank to the bottom of the ramekin instead of in the middle. Is it the way I piped it in or something with the curd? (I used ready-made passion fruit curd this time.)I’ll give it another go with homemade lemon curd.
    Neverthless, it tasted lovely!:)

  15. Hi Rachel,

    I want to try this recipe but I’m allergic to eggs. Please would you like to suggest me same recipe without eggs.

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