This flourless chocolate cake is rich, dense and fudgy. It’s gluten free but requires no specialty ingredients. It’s surprisingly easy to make and requires no fancy decorating skills. It has a delicious dark chocolate flavor that’s perfect for anyone who loves a decadent chocolate dessert.
This flourless chocolate cake is incredibly fudgy with a delicious chocolate flavor that’s rich and decadent but definitely not too sweet. It’s perfect for anyone who loves dark chocolate. The texture is somewhere in between a piece of fudge, a moist brownie or dense chocolate cake.
Best of all this recipe is so simple to make. The entire recipe can be made without an electric mixer and there’s no assembly or decorating skills needed. Despite being so simple to make – it tastes like a dessert from a 5 star restaurant.
Ingredients for Flourless Chocolate Cake
As mentioned, there are no specialty ingredients needed for this recipe. I’ve adapted this recipe from King Arthur baking – with a few changes that I find produced a cake with a better flavor and fudgier, texture.
- Unsalted Butter: I always bake with unsalted butter and add in salt. This gives me more control. Salted butter will work – just omit the salt from the recipe.
- Dark Chocolate: I recommend using anything between 45-70%. I used 60% which provided a rich dark chocolate flavor, without being too overwhelming. You could use 70% if you love dark chocolate, but I wouldn’t use anything with a higher percentage. The original King Arthur recipe uses semi-sweet chocolate. I always find dark chocolate has a more complex and rich flavor profile than semi-sweet chocolate, which is why I made the swap. Using dark chocolate definitely elevated the flavor – making this cake taste like a gourmet restaurant.
- Granulated Sugar: Nothing fancy here. This recipe doesn’t call for a lot of sugar (all things considered). Whenever a dessert is rich (like this flourless chocolate cake is), I don’t want it to be sweet as well.
- Eggs: Note that you will need 4 eggs in total. You’ll use 3 large eggs, plus just the egg yolk of the 4th egg. Adding the additional egg yolk not only helps to bind but also creates a slightly gooier texture, which I love.
- Instant Espresso Powder: Instant espresso powder really elevates the chocolate flavor. The cake doesn’t taste of coffee.
- Vanilla Extract and Salt: To round out the flavor. If you’ve ever had dark chocolate with sea salt flakes, then you know why salt is so so important to balance out the richness.
- Cocoa Powder: Cocoa not only adds to the flavor, but also helps to add structure to the cake.
Note that if you want this recipe to be gluten free, make that your cocoa powder and dark chocolate are labeled gluten free. These ingredients typically are gluten free, but depending on the facility they are made in, they may not be.
How to Make this Flourless Chocolate Cake
With many flourless chocolate cake recipes, the recipe calls for you to separate the eggs and then beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Then at the end you gently fold in the egg whites. This process creates a slightly lighter cake that will sink in the middle creating an almost crater shape. For this recipe, I wanted the cake to almost verge on fudge in texture – which is why there’s no need to separate the eggs first and beat the egg whites. Here’s the rundown.
- Start by preheating the oven and preparing your cake. Line the bottom of an 8-inch round (20-cm) cake pan with baking paper, then lightly grease the sides. Because this cake is very dense – it’s important to line the bottom of the pan. Do not simply grease the pan, or the cake can get stuck.
- Melt together the butter and chocolate. Make sure the chocolate is finely chopped first so that it melts more evenly without becoming grainy. Whenever melting chocolate it’s important to go very slowly to prevent the chocolate from burning. If you’ve ever just popped your chocolate in a bowl and microwaved for 3 minutes on high power – then you know what I’m talking about. If using the microwave, use 45-second intervals on medium power – do not use high power, which is often the default. Then stir between each interval until smooth. You can also melt the butter and chocolate together using a double boiler over gently simmering water. If using a double boiler, be sure that your bowl of chocolate does not touch the simmering water underneath.
- Then whisk in the sugar.
- In a separate small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the 3 eggs and additional egg yolk. They don’t need to be airy and frothy or anything along those lines – just slightly whisked. Then add the whisked eggs into the chocolate mixture along with the vanilla extract and whisk together until you no longer see pieces of egg. Be sure that the chocolate and butter mixture isn’t hot when you add in the eggs – otherwise the eggs can cook and you’ll end up with scrambled eggs in your chocolate.
- Then add in the cocoa, instant espresso powder and salt and whisk until just combined. Note that if your cocoa is lumpy, then make sure to sift it into the bowl. Make sure to stop whisking as soon as everything is combined – this ensures that the cake stays dense and fudgy.
- Pour the batter into your prepared pan to bake. The cake will bake in the middle of your oven for about 25-30 minutes – mine baked for 28 minutes. When it’s done baking, the top should look completely set and an inserted toothpick should come out clean.
After the cake is done baking, it will need to cool fully before serving. This is necessary for the cake to set properly. Otherwise it will be too gooey.
Once the cake is fully cooled, you can carefully invert the cake pan and let the cake slide out. I topped this flourless chocolate cake with a thick layer of chocolate ganache. I like adding the ganache on top because it evens out the top surface of the cake and adds a deliciously glossy finish. The cake is equally delicious with a sifting of powdered sugar on top, served with whipped cream and berries or with raspberry coulis.
This flourless chocolate cake is perfect for anyone who loves chocolate fudge, dark chocolate or desserts that are rich without being sweet. It’s so simple to make and tastes gourmet. I love making it for Valentine’s Day – but it’s also a fantastic dessert for ending your dinner party. You will only need a very small piece because of the rich flavor, but this chocolate fudge cake is oh so worth it.
And for more rich and fudgy chocolate desserts, then be sure to try:
- Chocolate Layer Cake
- Triple Chocolate Fudge Brownies
- Chocolate Mud Cake – this is a super tall, single layer chocolate cake that’s incredibly fudgy
Flourless Chocolate Cake
- 8-inch round cake pan
Flourless Chocolate Cake
- ½ cup unsalted butter (112 grams) cut into cubes
- 6 ounces dark chocolate, 45-70% (170 grams) finely chopped
- ¾ cup granulated sugar (150 grams)
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk discard the egg white
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder not coffee ground
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder (33 grams)
- 6 ounces dark chocolate (170 grams)
- ⅓ cup heavy cream (80 ml) or whipping cream, 33-35% MF
Flourless Chocolate Cake
- Preheat the oven to 375F (190C). Line the bottom of an 8-inch round (20-cm) cake pan with parchment paper and lightly grease the sides. Do not simply grease the pan or the cake can get stuck.
- Add the butter and finely chopped chocolate to a large heat proof bowl. Microwave for 45-second on medium power (not high power, which is often the default). Remove from the microwave and stir. Repeat the process until melted and smooth. Alternatively, melt in a double boiler over low heat.
- Allow the chocolate to cool slightly, then whisk in the sugar.
- In a separate small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the 3 large eggs and additional egg yolk. Then whisk the eggs and vanilla into the chocolate mixture.
- Add the cocoa, instant espresso powder and salt into the chocolate mixture (sift in the cocoa powder if it's lumpy). Whisk together until just combined. Be careful not to over mix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for about 24-28 minutes, or until the top is set and an inserted toothpick comes out clean or with a few damp crumbs. It should not have gooey cake batter on it.
- Cool the cake in the pan. Take a thin knife and trace around the edges of the pan while the cake is still warm.
- Finely chop the chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl.
- Heat the cream until almost boiling - either in a double boiler over low heat or in the microwave in 30-second intervals on medium power.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let sit for 3-5 minutes, then whisk until smooth. If the chocolate hasn't entirely melted, microwave for 30 seconds on medium power (do not use high power) then remove from the microwave and whisk until smooth. Repeat the process as needed.
- Ensure the cake is fully cooled. Carefully insert the cake pan and remove the cake. You may need to lightly tap the bottom of the pan to help remove the cake. Peel back the baking paper from the bottom of the cake and place on the plate you plan to serve it on.
- Pour the chocolate ganache on top of the cake and spread with a flat knife. Place the cake.
- Dark Chocolate: Use anything from 45% - 70% or alternatively use semi-sweet chocolate. 70% dark chocolate will create a cake with a very rich dark chocolate flavor. I do not recommend using anything stronger than 70% or the cake can become bitter.
- Eggs: Make sure that your eggs are room temperature before getting started. To speed up the process, place the eggs in a bowl of warm water for 10-15 minutes before getting started.
- Nutrition: Details provided are an estimate only and based on 1 slice with chocolate ganache topping, assuming that the cake is sliced into 12 uniform pieces. Because this cake is so rich, you only need a very small piece. You can likely get 16 pieces from the recipe.
- Make Ahead Tips: This cake can easily be made ahead of time. The day before serving, make the cake. Cool fully, then insert the cake. Place on the serving plate and cover. Refrigerate overnight. The day you plan to serve, make the chocolate ganache, top the cake and place back in the fridge until ready to serve.
- Storage: Store cake covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.