Boba Brown Sugar Lava Cake Recipe

To continue my brown sugar boba addiction — *ahem* — I mean series, we are now turning this beloved sugary drink into a flowy, creamy, fluffy, brown sugar, milk tea chiffon, cake. This is also known as a boba lava cake. I gained a lot of my inspiration from fellow baking Youtubers such as Nino’s Home, and Emmy Made in Japan.

These cakes are light and airy due to being leavened with a meringue base and a little bit of baking powder to create a foolproof, easy cake. It is then engulfed in a thick layer of milk tea “lava”, which is a pastry cream lightened with whipped cream, giving it the dramatic effect when poured over the cake. Lastly, what makes this a real show stopper is the fact that it’s topped with some homemade brown sugar boba pearls. You could use homemade or buy some ready made pearls from your local asian grocery store.

Since I made this lava cake, and made a huge abundance of pearls, I only found it appropriate to pair this cake with a brown sugar boba drink on the side. It even has the signature brown sugar streaks along the sides of a cup, and can be filled with milk tea or just milk on its own. Either way, I was extremely proud of how both desserts came out, and how happy I am that I no longer have to go to Tiger Sugar or Xing Fu Tang to get a fix of brown sugar boba.

Here are the recipes for the cake and the boba pearls below. Enjoy!

Boba Lava Cake

  • Difficulty: easy
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This recipe makes 1 x 6″ boba lava cake


For the Cake
100g (3/4 cup + 1/2 tbsp) cake flour, sifted
Black tea from 1 tea sachet, about 1 tbsp finely ground black tea
4g (1 tsp) baking powder
2g (1/4 tsp) salt

100g (1/3 cup + 1 tbsp) milk tea*
35g (2 1/2 tbsp) canola oil
1 egg yolk

2 egg whites
50g (1/4 cup) sugar

For the Lava
1 egg yolk
100g (1/3 cup + 1 tbsp) milk tea*
20g (1 tbsp + 1 tsp) muscovado or demerara dark brown sugar
5g (2 tsp) cornstarch

150g (2/3 cup) heavy whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks

*Notes: heat 250g (1 cup) milk until almost boiling, and steep with 2 black tea sachets for 10 minutes to get milk tea, let cool completely before using

For the Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
  2. Line a 6″ cake pan with parchment paper, do not grease the pan
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, sift and whisk the flour, tea, baking powder and salt.
  4. In a separate small mixing bowl, mix the milk tea, egg yolk, oil and add to the dry ingredients.
  5. In a clean stand mixer or mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and start raining the sugar when the egg becomes frothy to make the meringue. Mix on medium/high speed until stiff peaks and the sugar is dissolved. About 6-8 minutes.
  6. Fold the meringue by thirds into the flour, egg yolk, milk mixture, be careful not to overmix!
  7. Pour into the cake pan and bake immediately for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  8. Let cool upside down in the pan until completely cooled before adding the custard mixture.

For the Lava

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the heavy whipping cream in a small saucepan, and stir constantly over medium heat until it reaches a thick, pudding-like texture. Take off heat, and pour into a heatproof bowl. Cover the surface with plastic wrap so it doesn’t for a skin as it cools, and chill completely before folding the heavy cream in and pouring over the cake, and topping with homemade or store bought brown sugar boba pearls.

Brown Sugar Boba Pearls

  • Difficulty: easy
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This makes about 1-1/2 cups raw boba pearls


For the Pearls
50g (1/4 cup) muscovado or demerara dark brown sugar
50g (3 tbsp + 1 tsp ) hot water
40g (1/4 cup) tapioca flour

60g (1/3 cup) tapioca flour to mix in, plus more for dusting

For the Syrup
200g (1 cup) muscovado or demerara dark brown sugar
60g (4 tbsp) water


  1. Bring the brown sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once it comes to a rolling boil, gradually add in the first portion of tapioca flour while mixing constantly. Once it reaches a jelly like texture, take off heat, and stir in the remaining portion of tapioca flour until it forms a stiff dough that is not too hot to knead on a clean work surface.
  2. Divide into 8 equal portions and roll each one into 1/4″ strings, and cut them 1/4″ wide. Roll each tapioca pearl to make it round.
  3. Bring a medium saucepan filled about 3/4 way with water to a boil. Add in the tapioca and stir until they float, then allow to boil for about 10 minutes or until chewy. Stir occastionally.
  4. Strain and set aside.
  5. In a separate saucepan bring the brown sugar and water syrup to a rolling boil over medium heat, and add in the cooked tapioca. Stir constantly until the syrup thickens slightly, about 3 minutes.
  6. Use to top your boba lava cake or make your own brown sugar boba milk tea.

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