How To Make Anti-Inflammatory Maple Chocolate Lava Cake in an Instant Pot (Or Slow Cooker)

Photo: Stocksy/ Nataša Mandić
Fall is officially here, which can only mean one thing: Cozy soup and pumpkin-flavored everything are back on the menu. First order of business (aside from picking up a grande cinnamon coffee at the local coffee shop)? Lugging out and dusting off the Instant Pot slash slow cooker that’s been sitting in the cupboard patiently waiting all year for it's time to shine.

Of course, we love using this beyond handy piece of equipment for making some of our all-time favorite sweater weather soup recipes, but that’s not all: Your multi-cooker can bake desserts, too. Like lava cake.

@lifewaykefir Soft, gooey, and fudgy, our recipe for Slow-Cooker Chocolate Maple Lava Cake is the #vegan cake of our dreams! Made with Lifeway Oat and real cocoa powder, it's a sweet treat that is easy to make and good for your gut. #LoveYourGuts ♬ original sound - Lifeway Kefir

Ready to add a little extra sweetness to your life is this slow cooker chocolate maple lava cake recipe that's sneakily packed with probiotics. Let’s dig right in.

Why this slow cooker lava cake is good for the soul and the gut 

Gut health is something we talk about almost daily here at W+G—which is why we feel passionately about researching the best  ways to support your gut microbiome without solely eating, you know, bran cereal and sauerkraut. Fortunately, with the blessing of many registered dietitians we work with, we know it's possible to have your probiotic cake and eat it, too—with the help of the right recipe. To that end, this chocolate maple lava cake checks every box: It’s easy to make (hi, slow cooker), packed with gut-friendly probiotics (what's up, cultured oat milk), and it’s vegan-friendly.

Unlike most traditional lava cakes, which are made with the usual baking trio—butter, eggs, and refined sugar—this version gets its ooey, gooey consistency from its star ingredient: Lifeway Cultured Organic Oat Milk.

This dairy-free, plant-based, gluten-free product is made from organic oats and contains 10 live and active vegan probiotic cultures per serving. In addition to this, one cup of this cultured oat beverage also has four grams of protein and two grams of fiber. In short: It’s really good for you, especially your gut.

In addition to the cultured oat milk, the other main ingredient of this recipe is dark cocoa powder, a longevity-boosting rockstar (and who doesn’t love chocolate, anyway?). This beloved staple has been linked to fighting inflammation and boosting your mood, thanks to its high antioxidant content. We love.

How to bake a cake in a slow cooker

Quite possibly our favorite part about the recipe (aside from its delicious flavor) is the sheer convenience factor of it. To make it, you just dump everything in in a bowl and push Start.

A word to the wise: To help make this slow cooker cake a success, you’ll want to grease the inside of your clean slow cooker with the non-stick spray of your choice (or parchment paper), as you would with a regular ol’ baking pan. Then, you can sit back and relax as the slow cooker works its magic for about three hours of hands-free cooking.

On that note, if you’re on the market for a brand-spanking new slow cooker with a little more curb appeal for your kitchen counter, Crock-Pot is adding two all-new slow cookers to their roster (and they’re cute… no really), launching on September 24. Say hello to Crock-Pot Programmable Slow Cooker with Sous Vide Mode that features a nifty temperature probe (perfect for baking!) and the Crock-Pot Design Series Manual Slow Cooker in Ponderosa Green (a limited-edition color that screams fall vibes). Happy slow cooker-baking season.

lifeway lava cake
Photo: Lifeway

Slow cooker chocolate maple lava cake recipe

Yields 4 to 6 servings


For the slow cooker chocolate maple cake:
1 cup whole-grain oat flour or gluten-free flour equivalent
1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder (Dutch-processed cocoa; not regular cocoa powder)
1 1/2 Tsp baking powder
1/4 Tsp sea salt
1 cup Lifeway Strawberry Oat Milk
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 Tsp pure vanilla extract
3 Tbsp vegan or dairy-free dark chocolate chips

For the lava (pudding or frosting):
1/2 cup more dark cocoa powder (Dutch-processed; not regular baking cocoa)
3/4 cup coconut sugar or date sugar (or unrefined light brown sugar)
1 cup boiling hot water

1. Prep: Spray a 4-6 quart slow cooker with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper inside the cooker. You can also use an Instant Pot and set it to the “Slow-Cook Mode” (don’t use the pressure-cooking mode). If using an Instant Pot, skip this prep step.

2. For the cake: Mix the oat flour, a half cup dark cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and sift together to mix until combined. Pour in Lifeway Oat, pure maple syrup, vanilla extract, and stir well to mix completely into a cake batter. Pour this into the prepared slow cooker. Sprinkle in vegan or dairy-free chocolate chips on top.

3. Next, mix up the lava (pudding or frosting) ingredients: In a medium bowl, add a half cup more dark or Dutch-processed cocoa powder, three-quarters cup of coconut sugar, and sift to combine. Pour one cup of hot water on top and mix completely. (Make sure the water is boiling hot because this is what dissolves the sugar and cocoa powder into a fudgy frosting.) Pour this on top of the prepared cake batter in the slow cooker completed in step one. The mixture will look very watery, but don’t worry; it bakes up into a rich, fudgy, cake-like pudding.

4. Turn the slow cooker to medium-high heat and cook (“bake”) for three hours or until firm. If your slow cooker doesn’t have a medium setting, cook on high for one hour, then 2.5 more hours on low. Or just cook on low for 3-3.5 hours if you prefer. If using an Instant Pot, set it to the “slow-cook” mode and cook for three hours (don’t use the pressure-cooking function as the slow-cooking is what makes this cake soft and fudgy).

5. Once the cake is cooked and the lava pudding on top looks dissolved, turn off the cooker, remove the cake and scoop some into a bowl and serve with vegan coconut-based ice cream, vegan whipped coconut cream, or other desired dairy-free ice cream options. (It’s also great with fresh strawberries or raspberries on top.)

For leftovers, (if you have any!), let the cake cool completely and store in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Chocolate lovers, these vegan choco chip cookies are calling your name:

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