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2 min

Bake a Lava Cake

by Jessica Ragnio, MSW, LICSW, and Associate Clinical Director at Mightier

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Baking a cake is a great way to practice problem solving and relationship skills with kids… especially when it’s a lava cake! Jason Kahn, Mightier’s Chief Science Officer, uses this recipe with his 10-year old son when they’re in the mood for lava cakes. If you’re a Mightier family, you’ve probably already guessed what baking a lava cake creates space for. See our conversation and reflection prompts below this recipe for some light-hearted ways to talk with your child about emotions while you bake.


Lava Cake Recipe


  • 4 oz bittersweet (or semi-sweet) chocolate
  • 4 oz unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Generously butter and dust 5 (4 oz) ramekins (if you don’t have ramekins, use a muffin tin) with cocoa powder or sugar; set aside.
  2. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate and butter in 30-second increments.
  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy. Whisk in the melted chocolate along with the flour, and vanilla.
  4. Divide batter into ramekins and place them on a baking sheet (or across muffin cups). Bake 10-12 minutes or until the edges begin to pull away from the ramekins but the center is still jiggly. 
  5. Serve the cakes. Allow the cakes to cool for 3 to 5 minutes. Lava cakes can be eaten right out of the ramekins. To remove from a muffin tin, place a cutting board on top of the muffin pan, then flip the pan so the cakes gently fall. Carefully serve the cakes on small plates and top with ice cream or whipped cream.

Conversations and reflections

Conversations to have with kids while baking/eating:

  • Emotions like anger, anxiety, overwhelm, and even excitement can build up to the point of overflowing. What’s in your lava cake? Can you think of a time you had an emotion build up to the point of overflowing? Make sure this conversation goes both way, and you share about yourself as well!
  • What does that overflow look like?
  • How do you cool your lava flow?

Reflection questions for parents

  • How did this activity of baking with your child feel? 
  • Did either of you experience points of frustration? How did you manage those?
  • Were there any memorable collaborative problem solving moments between you and your child?
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