Bake

Fudgy, Flourless Instant Pot Chocolate Cake

February  7, 2020
7 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop Stylist: Amanda Widis.
Author Notes

A PSA for all the chocolate cake–loving, Instant Pot–owning folks in the crowd: this gorgeous, uber-fudgy, flourless chocolate cake is destined to become your new fave. The cake is about as easy-peasy as they come, what with its fab one bowl–ness and short ingredient list, and has the silkiest of textures, due to the uniquely moist cooking environment that is the IP. The cake, in fact, manages to straddle both a homey, fudgy brownie vibe and an elevated, sliver-of-chocolate-cake-post-fancy-French–restaurant–meal one. The finished cake is a sight to behold, due to its dark, deeply chocolatey color; but it’s true that the cake does take about 15 minutes longer to “bake” than it would if one were doing so in a conventional oven. However, the texture of this cake, “cooked” under pressure, cannot be beat. Despite how hyperbolic this might sound, the uniquely steamy environment of the Instant Pot produces truly the moistest of cakes, with the most velvety of textures. Moreover, as we IP-devotees know, the 50 minute cook time is all oven-free, hands-off time, with no fears about a dry, over-baked crumb getting in the way of whatever else you are doing while this cutie “bakes” (whether it’s making your actual dinner or binge-watching This Is Us). A dollop of crème fraiche is the perfect finishing touch, though unsweetened whipped cream or even vanilla (or caramel!) ice cream would be awfully nice, too. —Jessie Sheehan

  • Prep time 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook time 50 minutes
  • Serves 8 to 10
Ingredients
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted high-fat butter, such as Plugra
  • 1 cup semisweet (or bittersweet) chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • Crème fraiche, for serving
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Pour 1 cup water into the Instant Pot. Line a 7-inch springform pan (with removable bottom) with a parchment round and grease the sides and paper-lined bottom with cooking spray or softened butter.
  2. Put the butter, chocolate, and cocoa powder in a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high in 40 second intervals, whisking after each, until melted. Or, place the butter, chocolate, and cocoa powder in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk until melted.
  3. Add the salt and sugars to the warm chocolate and whisk to combine.
  4. Add the vanilla and then the eggs one at a time, whisking gently after each, until combined.
  5. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and tap the pan against the counter to pop any air bubbles. You probably won't be able to pop them all (don't worry).
  6. Cover the pan tightly with a sheet of tinfoil, making sure to tuck the edges of the sheet under the pan, and not on top. Place it on the Instant Pot trivet and using the long trivet handles, lower the cake into the pot.
  7. Secure the lid and set the pressure release valve to sealing. Select Manual and set the cooking time for 50 minutes on high pressure. The pot will take about 5 minutes to come to pressure before the actual cooking time begins.
  8. When the cooking program ends, let the cooker release naturally for 10 minutes and then move the pressure valve to venting and release the rest of the steam.
  9. Open the pot and using potholders, or a dish towel, carefully grab the trivet handles and remove the cake. Although some recommend creating a tinfoil sling with which to remove items from the pot, I have never had trouble lifting out something hot, as long as I am using my long-handled trivet (the one that comes with the Instant Pot). But if you are nervous about burning yourself, just wait to remove the cake until it has cooled enough to easily handle.
  10. Unwrap the tinfoil, being careful not to pour any of the collected condensation on the cake. The cake is ready if the center jiggles just slightly like firmly set jello (if it still looks liquid-y, return it to the pot for another 5 to 10 minutes). Blot the top with a paper towel to absorb any condensation. Let the cake cool to room temp on the counter, about 2 hours.
  11. Remove the sides of the pan by running a paring knife around the edges. Then remove the bottom of the pan by sticking a long knife between the paper and the round metal bottom piece and shimmying it a bit until the cake releases. Garnish with cocoa powder and serve slices with dollops of crème fraiche.
  12. The cake will keep wrapped in plastic wrap on the counter for up to 3 days. Or you can refrigerate it for up to a week or freeze it for up to a month (and late-night frozen slivers of this baby are some of life’s greatest pleasures, FYI).

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Bio: Jessie Sheehan is a cookbook author, recipe developer, and baker. She is the author of The Vintage Baker (one of the Washington Post’s best cookbooks of 2018 and beloved by Oprah and Nigella) and the co-author of Icebox Cakes (both published by Chronicle Books). She has developed recipes for many cookbooks, besides her own, and has contributed recipes, written and/or created video content for Better Homes & Garden, Rachael Ray Everyday, the Washington Post, Fine Cooking, Yankee Magazine (October 2020) Epicurious, Food52, The Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family Show, The Feed Feed, The Kitchn, TASTE, Chowhound, Yummly, Spruce Eats and Little Sous, among others.