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Easy Flourless Chocolate Cake

Easy Flourless Chocolate Cake
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A flourless chocolate cake is one of those restaurant-style desserts that it’s tempting to think is too fussy to make at home. It’s naturally gluten free, and you can whip one up at home any time!

A flourless chocolate cake is one of those restaurant-style desserts that it's tempting to think is too fussy to make at home. It's naturally gluten free, and you can whip one up at home any time! About the ingredients: Unlike some other desserts that some like to call “flourless,” this decadent chocolate creation is actually without flour of any kind. There are no grains or anything ground into a flour-like powder at all used in the making of this cake. If it calls for almond flour, it’s not flourless. Oats or oat flour? Again, not flourless. If you have some chocolate, butter, eggs, sugar and cocoa powder, you can have flourless chocolate cake. Since there are so few ingredients, the quality of the chocolate and cocoa powder matters quite a lot. Use the best you can come by. Using Dutch-processed cocoa powder will make for a smoother, less acidic cake. And remember that the melted chocolate is the star of the show, so its quality will shine through as well. This recipe doesn’t call for a water bath or any other sort of fanciness. It’s not a cheesecake, but it’s going to fall and crack a bit after it’s baked. It’s meant to. I promise. You can make the cake without beating the egg whites separately and folding them into the batter. Simply beat the sugar egg whites and eggs vigorously until pale yellow in color before whisking in the cocoa powder and the melted butter and chocolate. Your cake will be more dense and even more fudge-like. A flourless chocolate cake is one of those restaurant-style desserts that it's tempting to think is too fussy to make at home. It's naturally gluten free, and you can whip one up at home any time!

A note about equipment and method: the truth is, for flourless chocolate cake, cheesecake or virtually anything else, I hate using springform pans. I’ll do almost anything to avoid them. They tend to leak, they’re confusing to assemble if you’re not really on your game (which is the top, which is the bottom, for crying out loud?), and they’re just crazy hard to clean. But for this cake, you’re best off using one. If you don’t have it, though, just use a 9-inch cake pan and chill the cake for at least an hour in the refrigerator before transferring it carefully to a serving dish. Once it’s chilled, the cake will become much more firm and stable.

A flourless chocolate cake is one of those restaurant-style desserts that it's tempting to think is too fussy to make at home. It's naturally gluten free, and you can whip one up at home any time!

A flourless chocolate cake is one of those restaurant-style desserts that it's tempting to think is too fussy to make at home. It's naturally gluten free, and you can whip one up at home any time!

If you’ve never made a flourless chocolate cake before, you may find its tendency to rise like a regular cake and then fall abruptly after it is removed from the oven rather alarming. No worries. That’s what it is meant to do. If you do use a springform pan that is dark in color, start watching it closely at 20 minutes as it will have more of a tendency to burn. You’re less than an hour away from creating the ultimate restaurant-quality, naturally gluten free flourless chocolate cake in your very own kitchen.

Links:
Guide To Chocolate Varieties
Springform pan recommendations
Dutch-processed versus natural cocoa powders

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Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 1 9-inch cake

Ingredients

6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, chopped (plus more for greasing)

2 egg whites (50 g) + 3 eggs (150 g, weighed out of shell)

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (40 g) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted (Dutch-processed is best)

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch round springform pan, line with a 9-inch round of unbleached parchment paper, then butter the paper. Set the pan aside.

  • Melt the chocolate & butter. In a double boiler or a medium-sized microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate and 8 tablespoons butter until both are melted and smooth. If you are using the microwave method, microwave in 30-second increments at 70% power, stirring in between intervals, taking care not to burn the chocolate. Set the mixture aside to cool briefly.

  • Beat the egg whites. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer), beat the 2 egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Add about half of the sugar and about half of the cocoa powder slowly, beating on medium speed until glossy peaks begin to form. Adding cocoa powder to the egg whites makes it easier to incorporate them into the rest of the mixture later without deflating the whites.

  • Assemble the batter. In a large bowl, whisk the 3 whole eggs, remaining sugar and remaining cocoa powder until well-combined. Add the melted chocolate and butter mixture slowly, whisking constantly, until fully combined. Continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Fold the egg white mixture into the batter carefully but completely. The mixture will be thickly pourable. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top carefully. Tap the pan gently on the counter to break any very large air bubbles.

  • Bake. Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the cake is set in the center and has just begun to pull away from the sides of the pan. If you are using a dark-colored springform pan, begin checking at 20 minutes to ensure that cake doesn’t burn. Remove the pan from the oven and place the cake on a wire rack, still in the pan, to cool completely. Chill the cake in the refrigerator for a few minutes before unmolding it from the springform pan. Slice with a sharp, wet knife and serve.

  • This recipe was originally posted on the blog in 2013. The recipe method was slightly updated and the photos were redone in 2016. 

Love,
Nicole

 

P.S. Please pick up your copy of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy! I can’t keep the blog going without your support!

  • Lisa

    Yep, this is the one. Thank you so much for all you do for us gf sweet lovers out here. You just made my Valentine happy!

  • Katelyn B

    My Kitchenaid broke :( (it was my 17th birthday present) and I’m still waiting on our tax return to replace it, but THIS will be the first thing I make when I’m back on action.

  • http://www.melskitchencafe.com/ Mel

    You crack me up, Nicole. I echo your sentiments about cleaning springform pans…but alas, sometimes they are necessary. I’ve had a ton of requests for a flourless chocolate cake and have been on the search. I’m going to make your recipe. I like how it looks a bit less gummy and undercooked than most recipes I’ve seen. Lovely!

    • gfshoestring

      Mel! You’re here! If I had known you were coming, I might have cleaned the place up. I’d be so honored if you tried my humble little recipe. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Gina Kelley

    I love flourless chocolate cake!  I used to make it all the time.  You’re right, it’s not too tricky, and it’s totally worth it.

  • http://celiackiddo.wordpress.com/ Dana Schwartz

    Oh, how I do enjoy your posts! The pictures are gorgeous, sure, very “pin-able” for those Pinterest addicts (just joined!) but I’m really here for the writing, Nicole. You crack me up! And we happen to share a severe dislike of dirtying too many dishes (not to mention the Cuisinart) and dropping expletives along with whatever falls in the floor. Thanks for laughs and this insane looking cake.
    -Dana

    • gfshoestring

      That is one of the very many reasons that I so enjoy your virtual company, Dana. We speak each other’s unspoken language. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Amy

    Ooh! I’ve been trying to figure out what I could make in my new heart-shaped springform pan. This looks like the winner! Thanks for the recipe! Love your blog! xoxo, Amy

    • gfshoestring

      A heart-shaped springform pan, huh, Amy? Go for it. Me? I’d line up someone who promises to clean that pan (oh the crevices when it’s heart-shaped!!) before making the cake. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Lisa

    I making this. I’ve made other flourless chocolate cakes but this one seems different enough (in a wonderful way) that I want to try again. yum yum yum

  • Peggy Ford0518

    I have made flourless peanutbutter cookies but this is the first flourless chocolate cake recipe I’ve seen.  Will have to try this one soon!  Thans, Nicole!

  • Pamela Gordon

    this looks frickin’ awesome!!! Will have to try! <3

  • http://www.facebook.com/tiltoncrew Jennifer Tilton

    Oh no you didn’t! Now, I just need to make it look like PF Chiang’s Chocolate Dome Cake and my daughter will be over the moon!

  • Pam

    Now I need to buy a springform pan!

    • gfshoestring

      Oh, no, Pam! You can totally make in a solid-sided pan, but maybe try a tart pan. The low sides will make it easier to get out of the pan. Springforms pans are so fussy!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Justice887

    I am totally going to make this for my 2 sweet Valentine’s tomorrow! I thought I had a stand-by recipe already but yours has more chocolate and I like the addition of the egg whites. Still think I’ll add the Frangelico to mine, but that’s only because I have some in the cupboard. Thank you for your witty sense of humor…it makes my day!

    • gfshoestring

      Oh by all means add some booze, Justice! Perhaps not for the children, but who am I to judge. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Jasmine Carlton

    I love flourless chocolate cake! One place I worked as a pastry chef we would make these 10 at a time! That wasn’t as fun.. I bake mine in a solid, parchment lined pan in a water path at 300F with top of the pan covered in foil for many hours (3-4) until it looks set and the top is matte not glossy. Cool gently at room temp in the water bath for a couple hours and refrigerate. Once it’s chilled it turns right out of the pan and the consistency is like fudge. So good. Just thought an alternate baking option might interest you :)
    Thanks so much for everything you do, you make being GF so much easier!!

  • Chris

    If I wasn’t sick, I’d be making this for myself RIGHT NOW!

  • Rena Holcomb

    Do you have any calorie/carb/fat/fiber information?  It is a pain having to be gluten free, dealing with a few other tummy issues and trying to count points with Weight Watchers.  Love your recipes~ 

    • Keturah

      If you have online tools, you can use the recipe builder tool and it will calculate your points based on the ingredients. I just did that with the lava cakes. I put a link in my description back to the blog post. (And I own the books, too…love this blog and what you do, Nicole. I have been giddy making things from GFOAS Bakes Bread! I never thought I could do a yeasty bread dough gluten free!)

  • Dominic’s Mominic

    This was absolutely delicious. Thanks so much for the fantastic recipe. We’re newbies to this lifestyle and are very thankful for everything you’re willing to share. Checked the book out at the library and have made just 2 recipes from it but hubs says you are a lifesaver. Looks like you have another believer…and another book (or both) sale. Thanks a million!

  • Annette Coats

    I made this last night but played with the proportions a bit and used 2 7″ springform pans since it is just the hubs and I. ;)
    Here are my notes (in case it’s helpful):
    12 oz chocolate (I used Ghirardelli bittersweet chips)
    6 eggs (4 whites, 6 yolks)
    1 cp Sugar
    No chg to butter or cocoa
    Baking time was nearly the same, but I started checking at 2. :)

    Made a lovely dessert for us and one to share with the neighbors!
    Thanks Nicole!!! You’re a RockStar in the Kitchen, GF or not!
    Hugs,
    Annette Coats
    (aka. The Newbie)

  • Julie Bergfeld

    Can this be made with a butter substitute? I can’t do dairy

    • http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ Nicole Hunn

      You can try using virgin coconut oil one for one, Julie, but I haven’t tried it so I’m not sure if it would work!

  • Diane Kaighin

    Hi Nicole, can cacao powder be substituted for unsweetened cocoa powder? I live in Aus and have never seen unsweetened cocoa powder.

    • Victoria Donaldson

      Any cocoa powder that you buy that says 100% cocoa powder is unsweetened. The dutch stuff that aldi sells from time to time is awsome for cakes like this. Or Nestle cocoa powder is good too, it is unsweetened it just doesn’t actually advertise it. P.s. I live in Australia too.

      • Diane Kaighin

        Thanks Victoria :)

  • Janet Lathbury

    Hi Nicole, I have recently made this cake and I can attest to its deliciousness! I am impressed and grateful for your desire to make the best tasting food (not just “good for gluten-free”)! As someone who loves to bake and was feeling that I would no longer create delicious baked goods, you have proved that it is possible to still rock some awesome food! Thank you!

  • Mattie86

    Just want to let you know I’m so appreciative for all your recipes. You truly are an inspiration to people like myself and my family who have so many issues with IBS and colitis and sensitivity problems. So thank you and have a nice day ❤️

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