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Healthy Lava Cake (Vegan, Gluten Free)

dairy freedessertgluten free

I’ve been obsessed with lava cake for as long as I can remember. For awhile, after college, Zack and I lived with a chef who would come home and make us lava cake, which made those the most blissful years of my life. So when I found out there was a healthy lava cake in my girl Rachel Mansfield’s amazing new cookbook, Just the Good Stuff, I became obsessed. I texted Rachel, asking her when I’d get my copy. I nagged her to give me a sneak peek. And when it finally came, I hopped straight into my kitchen.

As you might know, this is not a typical time in the world: I’m writing this amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and Zack and I haven’t left our teeny tiny New York apartment for 2 weeks and counting. This has led to some…well…dubious forms of entertainment, including our new cooking series, The Not My Hands Cooking Show. It is…pretty special. You can watch Episode 1 here, but for Episode 2, we decided to tackle Rachel’s Lava Cake. The results were…well, I’ll let you see.

I love Rachel as a human, and I love her as a chef. I highly recommend you check out her beautiful cookbook, Just the Good Stuff, which features over 100 recipes of exactly the food I like to eat (and I imagine you do, too, if you’re here)—easy, healthier versions of the kind of food you crave, like cauliflower-based “chicken” and waffles, pigs in a blanket, everything bagel bread, and of course, tons of Rachel’s signature desserts.

But first, try the lava cake! You’ll love it.

This recipe is from Rachel Mansfield’s amazing cookbook, Just the Good Stuff Reprinted with the permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Penguin Random House.

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Healthy Lava Cake (Vegan, Gluten Free)

  • Author: Rachel Mansfield


  • 3 tablespoons liquid coconut oil, plus more for greasing the pan 
  • 1⁄3 cup cacao powder, plus more for dusting the pan 
  • 3⁄4 cup unsweetened nondairy milk, at room temperature 
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 1 cup dairy-free dark 
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (dairy free if desired)
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 1⁄2 cup coconut sugar 
  • 3⁄4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup gluten-free oat flour 
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 8 (1-ounce) squares dairy-free dark chocolate (Hu’s Salty Dark Chocolate is my fave)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease 8 cups of a 12-cup muffin pan with a bit of coconut oil and then dust them with cacao powder. 
  2. In a large bowl, combine the nondairy milk and apple cider vinegar. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes. 
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate chips over medium-low heat. Stir until completely melted. Remove from the heat. 
  4. Add the coconut oil, vanilla, coconut sugar, and applesauce to the milk and vinegar, and mix well with a whisk or electric hand mixer. Add the cacao powder, oat our, and baking powder and mix again until there are no lumps. Stir in about half of the melted chocolate. 
  5. Fill each prepared muffin cup with 1⁄4 cup of the batter and place a square of chocolate in the middle of each cup, gently pushing it down into the batter. Top with the rest of the batter, making sure the chocolate squares are covered. 
  6. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the side of a cake comes out clean (inserting it in the center will not work since the toothpick will prick the melted chocolate square), 15 to 17 minutes.
  7. Let the cakes sit for about 5 minutes. Invert a large baking sheet over the muffin pan, carefully flip the pan, and lift it off to release. Top with the remaining melted chocolate and serve immediately. Leftover lava cakes will keep in the fridge for 5 days. Reheat them in the microwave in 15-second increments.

Don’t feel like using oat flour? Sub in 1 cup sprouted spelt flour instead.

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I’m gonna be honest with you: I’m allergic to boring conversation. I wanted to bring the types of conversations we have on the Healthier Together Podcast—ones that allow you to really build intimacy, to explore all facets of each other’s personality and go deep, quick— to the greater Healthier Together community.

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  1. Shelby says:

    You say to melt the chocolate chips but never list the quantity in the ingredients section. Am I missing something?

    1. Liz Moody says:

      Hey Shelby,

      Thanks for asking! It will be 1 cup of chocolate chips–dairy free or regular. The recipe should be updated now, too.

      xo, Liz

  2. Donna says:

    Oops! Found it! Pour it over the tops after they’re baked. I can’t wait to eat this!!

  3. Donna says:

    In step 4 it says “stir in about 1/2 the melted chocolate” but it never says to use the other half anywhere. Did you mean to use all the melted chocolate? Thanks!!

  4. nicole says:

    how many lava cakes this recipe calls for?

    1. Liz Moody says:

      Hi Nicole — This recipe will yield 8 lava cakes!
      Xo Liz

  5. Donna says:

    How do these store? I’d like to make them 2 days in advance and hoping just to refrigerate and then warm up to serve. Thoughts?