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Make Carnival’s Melting Chocolate Cake at Home

One of the foods I look forward to on every Carnival cruise is their famous melting chocolate cake at dinner. If you haven’t had one, you’re missing out. It’s on the menu every night in the main dining room, so there are plenty of opportunities to try it. On some menus, it’s labeled as “For the table,” but it’s actually individual serving sizes.

The chocolate melting cake is a rich, souffle-like dessert topped with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and a side of vanilla ice cream. A lot of people call it a chocolate lava cake, but that’s not technically true. Most lava cakes stand on their own (without a dish), and the fudgy inside pours out as you cut into it. The melting chocolate cake is different; it’s served in a ramekin and the inside consistency is closer to a pudding than hot fudge sauce. Either way, it’s delicious.

Cruising tip: When you’re on the cruise, ask your waiter for a side of peanut butter with it. It’s amazing. You can also change up the ice cream. Sometimes I like it with strawberry ice cream for a little more fruity flavor.

Carnival’s Chocolate Melting Cake is also incredibly easy to make at home. It takes just five ingredients, and there are no advanced techniques here. It may take some practice, though; you want to get the timing just right to get the perfect gooey center. It’ll still be delicious if you overbake it, but the center won’t be that ideal texture. Don’t be too hard on yourself, though; there are inconsistencies between batches, even on the Carnival ship. One night it might be very fluid, and the next, very solid.

I originally got this recipe while attending a “cooking demonstration” on the Carnival Pride. Since then, I’ve seen slightly different recipes floating around, including a slightly revised one from Carnival, but this is the tried and true version I stick to.

melting chocolate cake made at home
My Version of Carnival’s Chocolate Melting Cake. I didn’t have powered sugar or ice cream on hand unfortunately.

Some helpful notes about this recipe


The portions of this recipe are in weight, not fluid ounces. When possible, use a baking scale to make these. If you don’t have a baking scale, I’ve put the approximate standard measurements to help. But seriously, a baking scale is an excellent tool in your kitchen. This OXO 5-lb Food Scale scale is the one I use, and I love it. 

OXO Good Grips 5-lb Food Scale with Pull-Out Display,Black
  • 5-pound-capacity Food Scale measures in 1/8-ounce and 1-gram increments


For best results, use eggs that are room temperature.


Since chocolate is an integral part of this recipe, you’ll want a good quality, dark baking chocolate. Skip the chocolate chips or candy bars, and go for the good stuff. You can usually find these in the baking section at the grocery store, not the candy sections. I’ve used both of the bars below successfully. Depending on your tastes, you can change up and use a more bitter or more sweet version as well. 

SAN FRANCISCO FOUNDED IN 1852 GHIRARDELLI CHOCOLATE Premium Baking Bar, 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate, 48 Ounce (Pack of 12)
  • Twelve (12) 4 oz Ghirardelli Premium 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bars
  • Ghirardelli baking bar contains high quality ingredients to create a smooth, rich bittersweet chocolate flavor with melt-in-your-mouth indulgence
  • Perfect in any chocolate recipe, including chocolate cakes, fudge and brownies
Baker’s Premium Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar (4 oz Bar)
  • One 4 oz. bar of Baker’s Premium Bittersweet Baking Chocolate
  • Bakers know Baker’s for premium quality
  • A dark chocolate that balances bitter and sweet for intense chocolate flavor
  • 66% cacao bittersweet chocolate


Any standard stick of unsalted butter will work well here. 


For the recipe, you’ll use standard granulated sugar. For the best presentation, you’ll also want to have some powdered or confectioners sugar on hand to dust on top of the cakes right before serving. 


You can bake these in almost any dish, but a good ceramic ramekin will help it cook properly from the outside and leave that perfect velvety center. Since you serve the cake in the baking container, it also adds to the presentation. These Bellemain 4oz Porcelain Ramekins are the ones I used

4 oz Ramekins
  • PREMIUM GLAZED PORCELAIN | OVEN SAFE TO 500F: Our creme brulee ramekins move easily from oven to table without breaking a sweat. (Do not use porcelain bowls directly on the stovetop or open fire.)

Ice Cream

It’s not technically an ingredient, but I highly recommend serving ice cream on the side. It helps cut some of the bitterness from the dark chocolate. Of course, vanilla always works well, but I prefer a scoop of strawberry ice cream.

Try making Carnival’s Melting Chocolate Cake for yourself

Carnival’s Melting Chocolate Cake Recipe

Randy Young
Enjoy the famous Carnival Cruise dessert at home. It takes less than 15 minutes and comes out tasting just like the real thing.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings


  • 6 oz dark chocolate
  • 6 oz unsalted butter 3/4 cup or 12 tablespoons
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 oz sugar roughly 1/3 a cup
  • 2 oz flour a little less than 1/3 a cup


  • Preheat oven to 390 degrees.
  • Melt the chocolate and the butter. You can either do this in a small saucepan or in the microwave. If using the microwave, reduce power to 50% and check every 30 or so seconds.
  • In a separate bowl, mix eggs and sugar and whisk for a few minutes. You want to have it nice and light with lots of air on it.
  • Add the flour to the egg and sugar mixture and gently stir
  • Add the egg mix to the melted chocolate mix and stir gently to incorporate (don't over-mix, you don't want to knock the air out of it).
  • Pour the mix into the 4 greased molds, dishes or ramekins
  • Bake for 14 minutes. Try not to open the oven while baking.


For best results, use eggs at room temperature. Also, make sure your chocolate mixture is warm enough to stir easily. 
If you have a problem with the bottom of your cake getting too cooked (and not “melting”), try putting the ramekins in a pan that has water on the bottom. This will help accommodate for oven’s with uneven temperatures. 
Keyword carnival cruise, chocolate melting cake, lava cake

Want to try taste it yourself?

The Melting Chocolate Cake is available in the main dining room on these Carnival ships:

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Randy Young

Randy Young is the founder and editor-in-chief at Cruise Spotlight. He has been in marketing for 19 years and has been cruising for just as long. Over the years, he's worked with products like TVs, copiers, light bulbs, and EV chargers, but cruising has always been his passion. There's nothing Randy likes more than the first couple of hours on a ship, exploring every nook and cranny and seeing how it's different from everything else out there. He's known for providing detailed and analytical coverage of cruising to help cruisers get a comprehensive picture of a ship's offerings.