Flourless chocolate cake

Flourless chocolate cake

I just (finally) made an FAQ page for the blog, and realized after the fact I should have included this question: what’s that chocolate cake you’re always talking about?

This is the one. Over the past year, this has been our go-to chocolate cake around here. I believe that in 2014, it was the birthday dessert of choice for all six of us. Fine by me. It’s easy, delicious, and easily accommodates those with allergies to the big eight. Grown-ups can mix up this batter in ten minutes flat, and kids can do it by themselves.

I’ve adapted this recipe to suit my own reality. In the original recipe, which caps off Molly Wizenberg’s foodie memoir A Homemade Life, Molly specifies using the very best butter and chocolate you can find. I’m sure the cake is wonderful that way, but I’ve never made it like that.

Instead of seeking out (and coughing up the $$$ for) Scharffen Berger, I’ve always used Ghirardelli. Instead of using the European high-butterfat butter that Molly calls for, I most often use plain old grocery store butter. Half of us don’t eat gluten, so I ditched the tablespoon of flour in favor of almond meal or a gluten-free flour blend.

This cake has turned out beautifully every time.

One of these days I want to try making it with good chocolate and European butter–maybe for Valentine’s Day ?–but until then, my everyday version will suit us just fine.

Flourless chocolate cake

adapted from A Homemade Life

  • 7 ounces chocolate (I use Ghirardelli 70% bittersweet) (1 cup + 2 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 7 ounces butter
  • 250 grams (1 1/3 cup) white sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon almond meal*

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment. Butter the parchment and sides of the pan.

Melt the butter and chocolate gently in the microwave or in a double boiler, stirring regularly. Stir in the sugar and let cool for a few minutes (so you don’t scramble your eggs). Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, stirring well. Stir in the almond meal.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. The cake is done when the center is set and reasonably firm, but not completely set. (The toothpick test won’t work: the toothpick won’t be completely clean, even when the cake is done.)

Let the cake rest in its pan on a rack until it’s cool enough to handle; then invert the cake onto a plate. Let the cake cool completely before serving.

The cake is excellent on its own, or served with a dollop of whipped cream or fresh raspberries.

flourless chocolate cake (with allergy-free variations)

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, so the kids and I dusted a powdered sugar heart on top. Cute, huh?

Allergy free adaptation:

  • Use Enjoy Life chocolate and coconut oil instead of butter.
  • Use 1 tablespoon allergy-free flour or flour mix in place of the almond flour.

A note about the measurements:

The original measurements are for the scale, not the measuring cup. I’ve converted them for your convenience, but think about the scale. Cooks Illustrated persuaded me to make the switch to baking by weight five years ago and I’ve never looked back. I adore my scale, and use it every single day–if only to make my coffee.

flourless chocolate cake (with allergy-free variations)

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53 comments

  1. I’ve made this cake 4 or 5 times, and used premium chocolate and butter once, versus Ghirardelli and regular store butter the other times. Apparently my taste buds aren’t sophisticated enough to tell a difference, which makes my wallet happy. 🙂

  2. Lee Ann says:

    Cook’s Illustrated rates Ghirardelli’s 60 percent cacao chocolate baking bar highest in their most recent taste test, so you don’t have to splurge on expensive chocolate. That’s what I usually use – either that or semisweet chocolate chips – and my flourless chocolate cake always turns out just fine.

    • Anne says:

      Oh, blah. You’re right. We were strict egg-free for two years, and now that my daughter seems to have outgrown the egg allergy (knock on wood!) I forgot it was top 8. 🙁

  3. Shannon says:

    Yummy! Totally agree about getting a scale, it makes all the difference if you have to bake gluten free, and despite being laughed at, we use it to weigh our coffee beans too.

  4. Kelty says:

    Wow! that does look good. We’re on day 30 of our whole30, so I’m having wild dreams about chocolate anything at this point!

    Also, Trader Joe’s has fabulously cheap baking chocolate if you’re ever near one. Their “Big Bar” is $4.99. It will last you several projects as well.

    • Anne says:

      I’ve gifted quite a few of those big bars but I’ve never tried one, and definitely never baked with one! I go to Trader Joe’s all the time (so happy to have one in my town now!) so I’ll have to pick one up on my next visit. Thanks for the tip!

      • Kelty says:

        It’s the “Pound Plus” bar. Sorry, I got the name wrong and then saw it in the cabinet. They go from Milk Chocolate to 72% dark. I’m not sure what I did before Trader Joes!

  5. Stephanie says:

    This is also my go-to chocolate dessert recipe–it’s wowed everyone from bookgroup friends to my husband’s colleagues! I also usually use Ghirardelli chocolate chips. (Once I used an orange-flavored dark chocolate bar for half the chocolate, and that was lovely too.) In winter it’s fun with whipped cream and pomegranate seeds.

    But you didn’t mention one of its loveliest features: it can be frozen! Molly says it actually tastes even better after it’s frozen and thawed (I’ve never done the comparison, but I believe her). Just thaw for 24 hr before serving, and voila! The best make-ahead dessert EVER.

  6. Kelli says:

    I am curious to see how this would be veganized… so I’ll give it a try! I like to use coconut flour to avoid processed wheat flour, but have been wanting to try some flourless recipes.

    So Anne, now you have to tell us – how much coffee do you weigh out? 🙂

      • Kathleen says:

        Would you mind giving me your ‘coffee recipe’? I’m a detail person & would like to try this. How much water do you use for the 22 gms of beans? Do you use a regular coffee maker or a French press? Thanks!
        Oh & I’m making this cake for the first time for a group of 10 ppl on Saturday. Will one cake be enough?

        • Anne says:

          I use a v-60, 330 grams water per 22 grams of beans.

          As for serving 10 people with one cake, it just depends on how big you want the portions to be. For an elegant dessert, with whipped cream and fresh fruit or a berry sauce, it would look really nice and I think it would be enough, but the portions would be slender. If you want more generous servings, bake two cakes.

          • Kathleen says:

            Thank you. I am serving fruit with it. Also, I had no idea what a v60 was until I just looked it up online. I think I’ll have to update my coffee ritual. 😉

          • Kathleen says:

            UPDATE: I made this cake for my LIFE group at church (5 couples) & it was a smashing success. 2 of the ladies asked me for the recipe (which was a high compliment since they were both excellent bakers themselves!)
            I did freeze it and they all (even the guys) commented on how moist & delicious the cake was. Several people said they had eaten that type cake before & it was dry.
            So, since this was my first-time ever making this cake, I don’t know if freezing it made it that way or if using the Ghirradelli 60% cacao chips instead of cocoa powder did the trick. (I used the chips because it was more cost effective than using a bar of chocolate.)
            I know I absolutely loved that I could make this ahead & freeze it.
            I was glad I took the time to read through one of your commenter’s (Nolo’s) tips about freezing & using a spring form pan. Both worked great!
            Also, I took your advice and measured by weight and was surprised to see I was able to use less sugar!
            One last thing – I made my own whipped cream which wasn’t super sweet (like store bought kinds) & which turned out to be a super complement to the sweetness of this cake.
            I also served it with a fresh fruit salad (which allowed me to only have to make one cake). I used strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, peaches & red apple.
            So, thank you from the bottom of my heart for this recipe & making my gathering a success. 🙂

  7. Nolo says:

    I’m another big fan of this cake and have made it many times. What I’ve learned…
    *ground teff is a great replacement for the wheat flour and increases the chocolatey-ness
    *a teaspoon or so of ground espresso powder also increases the chocolate factor (not required and I frequently don’t use it b/c children love this cake!)
    *a bit of salt enhances the flavor as well
    *rapadura sugar is the best – a sugar somewhere between white and brown sugar (definitely a noticeable difference when I’ve used that sugar)
    *to make this even quicker, I mix the first four eggs all at once and then add the last one in – I’ve never noticed a difference doing it this way and it feels more efficient
    *Finally, the biggest thing is that I use a 8 or 9 inch springform pan (or two smaller ones) – much easier to get the cake out of the pan; the smaller pans are great to have a small cake for ~5 people and then having a cake to freeze for later
    *And, yes, the cake’s texture definitely improves after it has been frozen. It also defrosts pretty quickly (a couple of hours on the counter) so it is easy to pull one out close to the last minute.

  8. Tonia says:

    That cake looks heavenly! I’m slowly going wheat free so it’s nice to stumble across a dessert that replaces flour. Going on my recipes-to-try list!

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  12. Keri says:

    Hi, this looks amazing! I’m curious if you’ve ever tried using honey instead of sugar, or if you know if it would turn out if I tried? 🙂

    • Anne says:

      No, I’ve never tried it. I would expect a straight honey-for-sugar swap would make the batter too wet, but I’m not sure how best to compensate for that.

  13. KT says:

    Can you omit the almond meal. I am allergic to that. THUS this is NOT allergen free. You cannot claim things are allergen free, as people are allergic to different things.

    • Anne says:

      I’ve gotten good results with all sorts of flours and gluten-free flours I’ve had on hand, I’ve even skipped it altogether with no discernible ill effects.

    • Lee Ann Roberts says:

      Yes, you can leave the flour out. I’ve never used it in flourless chocolate cake, and it is always delicious, if I do say so myself. 🙂

  14. Nichole says:

    I know this post is several years old, but I just stumbled across it and you are my people! We use a kitchen scale to make coffee and people always think we’re nuts! We started several years ago and never looked back. Also, I’ll try the cake soon. 😉

    • Anne says:

      Now if the scale batteries die and we don’t have a replacement on hand we are truly not sure what to do with ourselves. Or our coffee. 🙂

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