Sweets & Desserts

Seriously Delish Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless chocolate cake = pure decadence.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a single dessert more decadent than flourless chocolate cake.

The beauty of this dessert lies in its humble ingredients, which number five. Chocolate is showcased, and therefore the end result will only be as good as the chocolate you use. Given that my niche is the creative food lover, I know that I don’t need to extol the virtues of avoiding crappy mass market chocolate. Instead, I will simply say that it would behoove you to go with a chocolate bar you’d happily eat that has a cocoa content in the 60% to 75% range. Typically, you can expect to shell out around $1/oz. for this chocolate, which you may not find in the baking aisle.

The most seriously delish flourless chocolate cake imaginable. Oh, and it will only take you a few minutes to whip up.

Machu Piccu varietal couverture chocolate (65%) Guittard

I normally craft my blogging around the notion that the subject about which I’m writing requires some degree of promotion – e.g that the reader is on the fence about its merits and needs to be sold. In the case of flourless chocolate cake, however, what is there to say? Half brownie, half fudge – essentially, a chocolate lover’s dream. And, it couldn’t be easier to make. So, enough of the filler content! Let’s make this thing!

Here’s the recipe.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Print Recipe
Cooking Time: 35 minutes12 oz. highest quality dark chocolate (60-75% range), chopped into small pieces 1 1/4 sticks (5 oz.) unsalted butter, softened and cut into dice 5 eggs 1/2 c. sugar* 4 shakes sea salt

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. highest quality dark chocolate (60-75% range), chopped into small pieces
  • 1 1/4 sticks (5 oz.) unsalted butter, softened and cut into dice
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 c. sugar*
  • 4 shakes sea salt

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 350ºF and set rack to middle position. Grease a 9-inch round cake or springform pan with fat (I like to use coconut oil), and line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper. You can bypass the parchment paper if you are using a springform pan.

2

Fill a large skillet half-way with water and bring to a low simmer. Place the chocolate, butter, and salt in a heatproof bowl, and set it in the simmering water. Stir occasionally, just until both the chocolate and butter are melted. Remove from heat.

3

Meanwhile, using a stand or handheld electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar for several minutes, until the mixture passes a three-second ribbon test. To perform this test, pick up the whisk and allow the mixture to fall back into the bowl. If it takes three seconds to disappear, you've nailed it. If not, keep mixing and re-testing it in one-minute intervals.

4

Fold the egg and sugar mixture into the chocolate mixture with a spatula until fully incorporated. Scrape into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. It's done when crumbs adhere to but "raw gooey batter" is absent from it.

5

Cool on a wire rack. If using a springform pan, run a sharp knife around the interior perimeter and remove the mold. If using a regular cake pan, invert the cake onto a clean hand or plate, peel off the parchment paper, and place top side up on a serving plate.

6

Garnish with whipped cream or crème fraîche, if desired. I store the leftovers in a cake dome on the counter, but food safety folks would probably insist on refrigerating them. At room temperature, the leftover cake has been able to hold its own for up to five days.

Notes

*This recipe is naturally gluten-free and can readily be made Paleo (depending on the Paleo philosphy to which you subscribe) by substituting coconut sugar for the sugar. Unfortunately, it's not possible to make this cake AIP or vegan friendly while maintaining the integrity of the recipe. **A reader (yogafire) was kind enough to share her experience making this recipe using chocolate with a 99% cocoa content. Although the end result was still edible, she ran into some issues. I would strongly encourage you to check out her comment and my response. I will update this post if I am able to definitively figure out the mechanism that caused her results to differ and why. Thanks for sharing, yogafire!

 

The most seriously delish flourless chocolate cake imaginable. Oh, and it will only take you a few minutes to whip up.

1. 3-second ribbon test; 2. folding the egg mixture into the chocolate; 3. pouring batter into the prepared pan; 4. time to lick the bowl!

The most seriously delish flourless chocolate cake imaginable. Oh, and it will only take you a few minutes to whip up.


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13 Comments

  • Reply
    yogafire
    February 11, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Beautiful pics! The ribbon test is a good tip. Have you heard of the parchment paper tip for cake pans? I saw Alton Brown do it on Good Eats, and it really is a time saver and fun! http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-line-a-round-cake-pan-with-parchment-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-78450

    I usually think baking is too complicated and let my husband do it, but this is the first cake recipe I’m not overwhelmed after reading it!

    Now that you mention it’s gluten free (haha, flourless makes sense now), this would be good for me to try making for him for vday. He recently gave up gluten (trying to pinpoint an allergic reaction) and planned to stop baking for awhile. Thanks for the inspiration. 😀

    • Reply
      Kristi Smith
      February 12, 2016 at 5:52 pm

      Thank you! I have a lot to learn about photographing food (and editing the pictures), but it does make for a wonderful subject! I love the ribbon test. And no, I had never heard of the parchment tip before now. It’s awesome! I normally just trace an outline of the cake pan, but this hack is going to be my new go-to method. Thanks for sharing!

      You will have to let me know how it turns out. It’s one I make (practically) blindfolded these days. In fact, I wrote the recipe out here entirely from memory, lol. It seriously is that simple. I hope your husband enjoys his V-Day cake! Thanks for commenting.

      • Reply
        yogafire
        February 12, 2016 at 6:29 pm

        Yay, Kristi! I decided to make it early as a surprise for my husband when he got home from work since he’s had a tough work week. I got all excited after stopping by a boutique grocery store and splurged on chocolate that was slightly more than $1/oz (ack! need to go back to Trader Joe’s Pound Plus bars) and even bought whipping cream.

        This was the first time I baked something in 10+ years all on my own! He ate two slices very happily and is now taking a nap, completely food coma’ed out. 🙂 I even let him know I was using your blog recipe, too. He agreed it was a simpler version but still had all the essence, and, the biggest advantage, a short baking time!

        The only things I thought for future potential improvements:
        1. Check at 20 min for doneness. At 30 min there were barely any crumbs on the toothpick, so our cake was on the overbaked side, but still delicious. Does your cake still have “fudge-like” elements in it after 30 min?
        2. Clarify the 3-second ribbon test on what “disappears”. When I took out my whisk and jabbed it in the batter, the drippings from the whisk covered up my view of whether it “disappeared”. I might have also overbeat it because my resulting mixture was.. foamy. oops. Note that the current recipe has a typo of “3 minute ribbon test”.
        3. Any idea why my cake is shallow compared to yours? Still used a 9 inch cake pan (See pic!) That may have been why mine had cooked so quickly.

        • Reply
          Kristi Smith
          February 12, 2016 at 9:38 pm

          That’s awesome about your experience (minus the overbaked aspect)! Yippee!!!

          Hmmm…I’m not sure what would cause the differences in your end result. I’m sure that it has something to do with the 99% chocolate you used, but I’m not an expert in this area. I am definitely going to read up on it, though, to see if I can figure it out.

          I’m thinking out loud here…
          1. You are in the Bay Area, which is essentially at sea level, and so that shouldn’t have had any effect;
          2. The chocolate you used had significantly less fat and sugar than the range I specified. How specifically those elements affected the end result is something I’m going to have to delve into. I’m most curious!

          Thanks for the catch (minutes v. seconds) – I’ll be correcting that as soon as I’m done replying to your comment.

          Mine always retains some fudge-like elements after 30 minutes. I mean, it’s not gooey or anything, but it is definitely moist and dense. I’ve let it go longer than 30 minutes with similar results. Do you have an oven thermometer? I wonder if your oven’s calibration is off? I use one, so I know mine is spot-on, but at my previous house it would sometimes be off by nearly 100 degrees! If you don’t have an oven thermometer but do have a candy or meat thermometer, you could fill a pan or ramekin with some water and temp it shortly after your oven claims to be at the correct temperature. I’m very curious now…

          The three-second ribbon test – I just pick the whisk up out of the bowl and watch the batter as it drops off of the whisk and into the rest of the batter. If you over-whip it – e.g. if it manages to hold slight peaks – it could theoretically deflate as the gasses expand when it hits the oven. That could make it fall, possibly.

          Thanks for taking the time and effort to really share your experience, and your enthusiasm really made me smile! I appreciate your insights and am looking forward to incorporating them into my blogging 🙂

          • yogafire
            February 12, 2016 at 10:12 pm

            OK – I might have overwhipped cause it was foamy and had very tiny soft peaks that fell back down after a second. Forgive me for being so slow! Does the ribbon refer to the batter that dripped off the whisk into the bowl, and how it long it takes for that drip to disappear into the rest of the bowl batter? (that would make more sense, ha, I’m just not an intuitive cook or baker!)

            I know for sure our oven (electric) is not reliable, but it typically runs lower than stated. I also used convection but did not lower the temperature to compensate since our oven runs low. I’ve had to increase all my roasting temperatures from our previous place for our current oven by almost 100 degrees to get the same degree of crispy skin on our chicken roast. For example, after roasting at 400 convection for 30 min, I change it to 500, and my oven will beep right away and say “Ta da! I’m already preheated at 500!” Then I have to trick it by inputting 550, and then go back down to 500. Pretty ridiculous workaround for an oven, isn’t it? The oven / range is only 2 years old, and we chose this model because of the convection stove top (which makes it worth it!). For other items we haven’t had to adjust so dramatically – those might just be more forgiving.

            That’s a great suggestion on using a meat thermometer for the water as a calibration test. We actually have an oven thermometer probe, but I’ve been too lazy to set it up, so this is a much doable alternative. Will be reporting back…

            Thanks for helping improve my baking! 😀

          • Kristi Smith
            February 14, 2016 at 12:24 am

            Soft peaks that fall back into the batter and disappear in three seconds are perfect! If they remain longer, you over-whipped. So, to answer your question, whisk your egg and sugar until it gets thick and you are ready to test it. Then pick up the whisk out of the bowl and allow some batter to fall off the whisk and into the batter in the bowl. The drops of batter that fell off of the whisk and into the bowl should “melt” or disappear in three seconds. And no worries! It’s easy for me to forget that not everyone has made at least 15 of these cakes, lol.

            Ugh, your oven situation isn’t fun. I’ve dealt with such things before. Well, you have a system in place to deal with it at least! The water/temp trick is awesome, but it can be a hassle. I use a cheap thermometer that hooks onto one of the racks. Thankfully, my oven is well-calibrated 🙂

            I’m so happy to hear you are baking! I will be posting more great baking recipes once I get this site fully operational. I do want to post my ciabatta bread recipe one of these days…

        • Reply
          yogafire
          February 13, 2016 at 5:52 pm

          1 day later update: This recipe is so forgiving! I forgot and put the leftovers in the fridge (usually that dries it out more). Today it was hard as rock – solidified because of the chocolate – so we nuked it in the microwave for almost a minute. The chocolate was meltier and overrall tasted more moist than the first day! So, microwaving might help if anyone accidentally overbakes like I did!

          • Kristi Smith
            February 14, 2016 at 12:17 am

            That’s a great tip – I’m going to file it away for future use. Thanks!

  • Reply
    yogafire
    February 11, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    I forgot to ask – our “sweet tooth”s (sweet teeth sounded weird!) are more sensitive, so we typically like less sweet and darker chocolate. We usually can cut dessert recipes up to 1/3 of the original amount. However, this recipe is flourless with no other dry ingredients. Would reducing the sugar impact the baking and texture?

    • Reply
      Kristi Smith
      February 12, 2016 at 5:47 pm

      It would be my hunch that reducing the sugar somewhat won’t overly affect the baking and texture. I say this primarily because I have used chocolates with varying cocoa and sugar percentages with great results. I would suggest going with a chocolate on the higher end of the cocoa spectrum, and reducing the sugar only as minimally as you are comfortable. You have just inspired a future blog post on recipe adaptations for baking, btw, but I admittedly have to do a bit of research first 🙂

      • Reply
        yogafire
        February 12, 2016 at 6:14 pm

        Perfect! OK, I actually found a 99% cocoa 9.5 oz and used 54% 2.5 oz that I had at home, so I kept the sugar the same – just the perfect amount of low sweetness for us!

  • Reply
    Darryl
    February 13, 2016 at 11:19 am

    Prefect recipe for Valentine’s Day!

    Love that it is naturally gluten free. I hate attempting to make something taste like it’s gluten counterpart. It may be good, but it’s never quite right, plus it’s often a pain to find the odd replacement ingredients.

    I use the parchment paper trick. It is awesome and saves a TON of time!!!

    • Reply
      Kristi Smith
      February 14, 2016 at 12:16 am

      OMG, that’s my biggest cooking nemesis! Don’t get me started…

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