Flourless Chocolate Cake

January 13, 2022
12 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 10 to 12
Author Notes

This is an improvisation on a cake from my Gourmet cookbook—I use a bit less sugar, for a richer flavor, and beat the egg whites for much better structure. This is wonderful for dinner parties or a quickie hostess gift, and children adore it. For the latter group, I like to cut out a shape (recently I used a trumpet for a Music Man cast party), lay it in the center of the cake held down with dimes, then sift powdered sugar over it. Carefully remove the paper pattern and, voilà, a themed cake. You can halve this recipe and make in an 8-inch cake pan for smaller groups. —Jestei

Test Kitchen Notes

A delicious flourless chocolate cake is perfect for Passover and beyond. This recipe doesn't get much easier and features ingredients that you probably already have and need to use up. All you need is some chocolate, butter, sugar, eggs, cocoa powder, and sea salt. For the best results, though, you should seek out the highest-quality bittersweet chocolate you can find; it'll make all the difference in the final taste and texture. To make the cake, you don't even have to use the stovetop, as you can melt the butter and chocolate pieces in the microwave. Doesn't get much more convenient than that. Once the butter and chocolate are melted, just whisk in the sugar, then add the egg yolks, cocoa, and salt. You don't have to use a stand mixer to beat the egg whites, but that makes this step go the fastest—you can definitely use an electric hand mixer or the power of your own arm if you'd like (it's a good workout!). It'll make the cake super light and fluffy, and well worth the extra step.

If you want to go a little fancier with the toppings (even though a light dusting of powdered sugar is always a classic choice), you could also make some homemade whipped cream and decorate the cake with fresh fruit. You could also serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Or garnish with fruit peels shaved into ribbons for a creative presentation. The possibilities are endless—let us know how your cake works out in the comments below. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
  • 8 ounces high-quality bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting
  1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven; heat to 350°F. Generously butter a 10-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper; butter the paper.
  2. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and transfer to a small saucepan. Melt with the butter over very low heat, stirring frequently, until smooth. (You can also do this in the microwave.) Pour into a large bowl and whisk in the granulated sugar. Let cool for 5 minutes, then add the egg yolks, one at a time, mixing to fully incorporate before adding the next. Sift the cocoa and salt over the chocolate mixture and whisk to combine.
  3. In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites at high speed until peaks form but are not yet stiff. Gently fold into the chocolate mixture.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the cake forms a thin crust on the top. Remove the cake before its sides start to pull away from the pan.
  5. Let cool for 10 minutes. Invert onto a plate, then reinvert onto a wire rack. (I have also served this right from cake pan, sides removed. Sue me.)
  6. Let cool completely before sifting the powdered sugar over top.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Lise Desmarais
    Lise Desmarais
  • tastysweet
  • Burf
  • Rhonda
  • alahanson

23 Reviews

Lise D. January 26, 2022
Done it twice and on top of being super easy, it is delicious!
tastysweet December 17, 2017
If you serve this cake straight from the pan, an idea I like, when you go to cut it, I would assume the parchment paper would still be on the bottom of the slice.
Tarta February 13, 2016
I am currently baking this cake it's now been 50 minutes and it's still not done. Did anyone have this issue? I definitely used the correct ingredients and my oven is 350 degrees..
Burf June 8, 2015
this was great! very rich & moist. I cut the recipe in half, and divided that batter between two 4.5" springform pans (because of this, they cooked really fast). Stacked 'em with Nancy Silverton's whipped cream & berries. Perfect for 4 people. Thanks!
Rhonda April 20, 2015
Did anyone else have theirs turn out dry. My cake went stale pretty darn fast, like within hours. What about adding more fat?
Conlof January 2, 2023
Yes it did. In making cakes it was ready at 30min but I left it 5min more and I think it dried🙃. But the flavor and texture was fine for about 5 hours. It’s a good idea to enjoy 10min after it’s done.
alahanson December 18, 2014
Can I use regular Valrhona cocoa powder?
Artemis V. June 30, 2015
Valrhona cocoa is Dutch process!
pamela November 1, 2014
my spring form pan broke, can i bake in regular cake pans or rectangular glass?
Angela P. October 13, 2014
I just made this tonight! Very good! Serving it warm is a great suggestion. Very light.
lisa L. June 21, 2014
can this cake be made with a sugar substitute for a diabetic?
Heidi B. May 12, 2014
can I use coconut sugar for the sugar and raw cacao for the dutch cocoa?
Rae P. May 7, 2014
If you make this the day before serving, how should you store it?
Jestei May 8, 2014
in a closed container
teresa August 30, 2013
love this cake, HUGE HIT! and not too hard to make either. so tasty warmed up with ice cream :)
luvcookbooks December 7, 2010
dr babs, just read yr comment in the cooking spotlight and saved the recipe for passover 2011
drbabs December 7, 2010
It's quite decadent and amazing.
drbabs December 20, 2010
I posted a photo of the cake I made for a holiday party with crushed peppermint candy on top.
drbabs March 30, 2010
OK, i wish I had decided to keep it on the cake pan--when i inverted it onto the cooling rack, it was so soft in the center that it kind of collapsed into the grid. Maybe I didn't let it cool long enough? Anyway, I'll just whip up some cream for serving to hide the broken part. And I got to taste it--amazing.
drbabs March 30, 2010
I made this today for Passover--I added the zest of an orange and a teaspoon of cardamom powder. The batter tasted amazing--I'm looking forward to having it tonight.
Food52 June 21, 2009
Never knew the dimes trick -- cool!
Holly May 7, 2014
What is the "dimes trick"?
pcskinner October 14, 2014
Holds the parchment paper design cutout down while you sprinkle powdered sugar.