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Easy Flourless Chocolate Cake

Easy Flourless Chocolate Cake

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 easy to whip one up at home anytime.

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!

How do you make a flourless chocolate cake?

Although of course I tell you exactly how to make a flourless chocolate cake in the recipe below, the general idea is to melt chocolate and butter together, then set them aside to cool.

Whip egg whites until they form peaks. Beat some whole eggs with sugar and cocoa powder, then mix in the melted butter and sugar. Finally, fold in the whipped egg whites.

Is a flourless chocolate cake gluten free?

Yes! Unless one or more of the basic pantry ingredients that you source contains gluten, it will be naturally gluten free.

How do you store a flourless chocolate cake and do you refrigerate it?

It can be served at room temperature or chilled in the refrigerator. It can be frozen for longer storage. It freezes really well—just wrap it tightly! Then defrost in the refrigerator and served slightly chilled.

Is it really flourless?

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 in this recipe, 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.

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!

What pan, what method?

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.

The truth is, for flourless chocolate cake, for cheesecake or 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 a springform pan, though, just use a round cake pan.I do recommend that you chill the cake for at least an hour in the refrigerator before transferring it carefully to a serving dish.

That’s true whether you use a springform pan or not. 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 easy to whip one up at home any time.

Rise and fall

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.

 

Ingredients and Substitutions

Dairy

If you’d like to make this cake without dairy, it’s relatively easy to find a dairy free dark chocolate. The only other dairy containing ingredient is the butter in this cake, and it can easily be replaced with Earth Balance buttery sticks. The cake may rise a bit and fall a bit more, due to the extra moisture, but it will still be rich and fudgy.

Eggs

Once this cake is dairy free, it’s a short step to making it vegan if you replace the eggs. However, that’s a tall order.

There are not only three eggs, but two egg whites in the recipe. The two egg whites can possibly be replaced by aquafaba, although I haven’t experimented with that replacement.

Generally, my favorite replacement for whole eggs is one “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground chia seeds mixed with 1 tablespoon lukewarm water until it gels). But I generally only recommend replacing up to 2 eggs per recipe with chia eggs.

Chocolate

Haha just kidding this is a rich chocolate cake. No making it without chocolate, silly! If you’re making a gluten free chocolate cake, it’s going to have chocolate in it!

Like this recipe?

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)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch or 9-inch round springform pan, line just the bottom with a 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. (For a slightly fluffier cake, separate one of the 3 whole eggs and add that white here.) 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 (or 2 whole eggs and remaining egg yolk), remaining sugar, remaining cocoa powder, vanilla and salt 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 (closer to 30 minutes for an 8-inch cake), or until the cake is just set in the center. 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, the video was added in 2017.

Love,
Nicole

 

Comments are closed.

  • Ellen
    April 16, 2017 at 4:26 AM

    Can this be made in individual ramekins?

    • Nicole Hunn
      April 16, 2017 at 9:27 AM

      I’m afraid you’ll have to experiment, Ellen. I haven’t tested that!

  • Shirley E Harlan
    April 14, 2017 at 1:00 PM

    I noticed that you used granulated sugar. I have a condition that doesn’t allow me to use white granulated sugar I have to use something like Agave Nectar as my sweetener. I also know you use 1/2 to 2/3 cup of agave in place of 1 cup of white sugar. This also requires you to decrease your liquid ingredients by the same ratio the only liquid you shouldn’t reduce is oil that should stay the same. This would then make it also good for diabetics as the glycemic index is low and won’t spike the sugar count. Is it possible to create this dessert using agave

    • Nicole Hunn
      April 14, 2017 at 1:12 PM

      As I’ve stated in other comments, Shirley, you can’t replace a granulated sweetener 1:1 with a liquid one. You’ll have to experiment!

  • Aeron
    April 10, 2017 at 8:01 AM

    Oh…I found the oven temp!
    Thank you!

  • Lynne Mori
    April 10, 2017 at 5:03 AM

    OMG I made the flour less chocolate cake today. It was DELICIOUS and so very easy to make. I had visitors coming and it smelt soo good when they walked in the door ad I was just about to take it out of the oven. I cannot wait to make it again. Oh how that had given my GF life a much needed boost having only been on it now for about 6 weeks. Oh what a treat.
    Thankyou so very much for such a awesome recipe x

  • Debra Jones
    April 10, 2017 at 3:35 AM

    Looking forward to trying this one. We L-o-v-e-d the black beans & choc brownies – absolutely wonderful, and froze well too. They’re a keeper. Thanks so much.

    • Nicole Hunn
      April 10, 2017 at 9:43 AM

      I loooove those, too, Debra!

  • Katie
    April 9, 2017 at 2:07 PM

    Looks amazing. I love how you are always experimenting. My cooking and baking are definitely always evolving too. Thanks for sharing your creative recipes!!

  • Coleen
    April 9, 2017 at 1:35 PM

    Just a question regarding the “dark chocolate.” With so many varieties on the market these days, is there a certain brand or % chocolate I should use? (I personally eat 85% dark chocolate, but think I read somewhere that in recipes we should use 600% chocolate). Or maybe, as someone said above, just “bittersweet”?

    • Nicole Hunn
      April 10, 2017 at 9:44 AM

      I personally like to use a chocolate that is 72%, but any of them will work. It’s really to taste, Coleen!

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