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Mocha Molten Lava Gooey Butter Cake

This Mocha Molten Lava Gooey Butter Cake is filled with the winning combination of chocolate, toasted hazelnuts and espresso. The decadent filling is uber rich and fudgy. It’s prepared in gooey butter cake fashion beginning with a cake mix that’s topped with chocolate chips and toasted hazelnuts. The “lava” is uber gooey due to the addition of Nutella. It’s like a super-sized lava cake ideal for serving a crowd.

Mocha Molten Lava Gooey Butter Cake

A Chocolate Mocha Molten Lava Gooey Butter Cake

I’m certain you’re no stranger to gooey butter cake. While it’s often thought of as a Southern dessert the roots are embedded in St. Louis Missouri. Classic St. Louis gooey butter cake is a made-from-scratch flat cake, usually served dusted with powdered sugar. The cake mix variation, as is demonstrated in this recipe, has been rotating through Southern kitchens for decades and can be made in a variety of different flavors. You may also hear gooey butter cake referred to as Chess Bars. You can find  Double Chocolate Red Velvet Chess Bars and Pineapple Coconut Chess Bars here on my website, too.

Mocha Molten Lava Gooey Butter Cake

Gooey Butter Cake versus Lava Cake

I would describe the texture of this version as a cross between a gooey butter cake and a molten lava cake. It’s decadent and toe curling rich. We enjoy it warm or cold. It’s irresistible when served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and dusted with a little espresso powder or chilled with a dollop of whipped cream. Either way, fans of all things mocha will love you for it!

chocolate Mocha Molten Lava Gooey Butter Cake

Other Gooey Butter Cake Recipes to Add to the Menu

Gooey butter cakes are super fun to make and give lots of room for coming up with new flavor combinations. You can browse the recipe index for more flavors like my Banana Pudding Gooey Butter Cake and Strawberries and Cream Gooey Butter Cake.

 chocolate espresso cake recipe

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Helpful Kitchen Items:

Mocha Molten Lava Gooey Butter Cake

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time55 minutes
Cooling Time20 minutes
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: mocha-molten-lava-gooey-butter-cake
Servings: 12
Calories: 682kcal
Author: Melissa Sperka


  • 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts chopped
  • 1 15.25 oz box chocolate fudge cake mix
  • 4 large eggs divided
  • 1 cup butter, divided (2 sticks) melt each stick separately
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 8 oz softened cream cheese
  • 1 13 oz jar hazelnut spread i.e. Nutella
  • 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for serving


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast for 6-8 minutes, then set aside to cool while you prepare the filling.
  • Spray a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with baking spray. Set aside. 
  • In a medium size mixing bowl using an electric mixer, beat together the cake mix, 1 egg and 1/2 cup melted butter. Press evenly onto the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle toasted hazelnuts and chocolate chips on top.
  • In the same mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and Nutella until smooth.
  • To the mixture add flour, 3 eggs, remaining 1/2 cup of melted butter and vanilla. Dissolve espresso with water then add. Mix well.
  • Lower the speed of the mixer adding powdered sugar gradually. Beat until well combined.
  • Pour evenly over hazelnuts and chocolate chips. Bake at 350°F for 50-55 minutes. Don't be tempted to over bake. Edges should be firm, gooey in the middle.
  • Rest on the counter for around 20 minutes if serving warm. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a dusting of cocoa, if desired.


This cake can be prepared without the espresso with no other adjustments needed.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 682kcal | Carbohydrates: 75g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 557mg | Potassium: 78mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 55g | Vitamin A: 581IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!



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