This flourless chocolate cake is my favourite dessert to bring to dinner with friends. It’s rich and dense with the ultimate intense chocolate flavour.
This cake also happens to be gluten-free and nut-free, making it a perfect allergy-friendly option.
I like to serve this cake with a dollop of whipped cream and fresh berries, but it is also delicious on its own!
Ingredients in Flourless Chocolate Cake
- Unsalted butter: unsalted butter allows you to control the amount of salt in the batter by adding it separately. You can use salted butter if necessary – just omit the added salt.
- Dark or semi-sweet chocolate: make sure to use high-quality (NOT compound) chocolate which is suitable for baking or cooking. Use a large knife to roughly chop the chocolate block into small pieces.
- Using chocolate chips: you can also use high-quality dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips. Make sure they are designed for cooking and can be melted down (do not buy brands labelled with ‘holds shape while cooking’). Use 1 cup of dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips to substitute 180 g (6.5 oz) block of chocolate.
- Brown sugar: brown sugar makes this cake moist, fudgy and rich. It also gives the cake a sweet crisp crust on its surface.
- For a homemade brown sugar substitute: use a fork to combine 1 cup of white sugar with 1 tbsp of molasses.
- Can I use plain white sugar instead of brown sugar? Yes, but note that this will make the cake less fudgy and more dense/chewy. I highly recommend using brown sugar or making the homemade brown sugar substitute.
- Vanilla essence
- Eggs: eggs give flourless chocolate cakes structure without the addition of flour. It is important to whisk in eggs just one at a time, whisking well in between. This aerates the batter and helps the cake rise. Without adequate whisking, the cake can sink while baking and become dense with an egg-y flavour.
- I use size Large eggs which are approximately 55 g (2 oz) each.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder: note that this is NOT hot cocoa powder. Avoid using dutch-processed ‘cacao’ powder as this is more bitter than traditional cocoa powder.
- Baking powder: NOT baking soda. Check the baking powder is within its expiration date as this is a common cause of sunken or dense cakes.
How to Make the Cake
1. Place the butter and chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl.
2. Microwave for 1 minute then stir. Microwave for further 30 second bursts, stirring in between, until smooth and melted. This will stop the chocolate from burning and/or seizing.
3. Whisk in brown sugar until smooth.
4. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. This helps to lightly aerate the batter for a moister cake. Sift over the cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
5. Sift over the cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
6. Whisk in well.
7. Pour batter into a 20 cm (8 inch) round cake tin lined with baking paper.
8. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean (or with just a few moist crumbs clinging). The cake should have a crust and should only wobble very slightly (or not at all) when gently moved.
FAQ + Top Tips
- What does flourless chocolate cake taste like?
- This flourless chocolate cake tastes half-way between a traditional chocolate cake and a brownie. It is extremely rich and chocolatey with a slightly fudgy texture, but has a distinct lightness (meaning it’s easy to eat a lot of it!)
- What’s the best way to serve flourless chocolate cake?
- Flourless chocolate cake tastes best when it is completely cool- this eliminates any lingering ‘egg-y’ flavour. I find it is much better and more flavourful on the second day!
- I recommend serving this cake with whipped cream and fresh berries.
- What gives flourless chocolate cake its texture?
- Whisking the eggs into the batter one at a time is the best way to make a flourless chocolate cake light and moist. Some recipes call for beating the egg whites separately then folding them into the cake but I find it unnecessary (and time-consuming!) for this recipe.
- You can keep this cake stored refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Do you absolutely need to refrigerate flourless chocolate cake? No, you do not absolutely need to refrigerate this cake. It will last longer (and I believe tastes better) refrigerated, especially if your house is hot or humid. Keep for max 2 days if storing at room temperature.
- Can you freeze flourless chocolate cake? I do not recommend freezing this cake. It tends to lose a great deal of its texture and flavour.
- 125 g (4.5 oz / ½ cup) unsalted butter, roughly chopped
- 180 g (6.5 oz) block dark or semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped (OR 1 cup chocolate chips - see notes)
- ¾ cup (150 g) brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 tsp (5 g) vanilla essence
- 5 large eggs (approx. 55 g / 2 oz each)
- ½ cup (50 g) unsweetened cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
- ½ tsp (2 g) baking powder
- ½ tsp (2 g) salt
- Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F (fan/convection) or 180°C/355°F (standard). Grease and line a 20 cm (8 inch) round cake tin with baking paper.
- In a large heat-proof bowl, combine the butter and chocolate. Microwave at full power for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave in further 30 second bursts, stirring well in-between, until mixture is completely melted and smooth.
- Add brown sugar and vanilla essence. Whisk until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking well in between each addition.
- Sift over cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Whisk until well combined. The batter will be runny.
- Pour into the prepared tin. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a crust forms on top and a skewer inserted comes out mostly clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with cocoa powder before serving, if desired.
- You can keep the cake refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Substitutions & Tips
- Most brands of baking powder and cocoa powder are gluten-free. Make sure to double check the brand you're using if you need to make the cake entirely gluten free.
- Chocolate: many chocolate chips aren't designed to be melted down. If you want to use chocolate chips instead of a block of chocolate, make sure they are high quality (not labelled 'compound' or 'candy melts'). Replace the 180 g block of dark chocolate with 180 g (6.5 oz / 1 cup) of dark chocolate chips.
Nutrition Information:Serving Size: 1/10th of Cake
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 295Total Fat: 18.8gSaturated Fat: 10.6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 92.5mgSodium: 144.8mgCarbohydrates: 27.2gFiber: 1.6gSugar: 25.3gProtein: 4.9g