This article presents two easy flourless chocolate cake recipes and two classic recipes and compares them.  It explains how flourless cakes work, addresses chocolate grades and their importance, and recommends pans.  Included are recipes for raspberry and strawberry sauces for toppings. 

How Flourless Chocolate Cakes Work

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We love flourless chocolate cakes.  They’re dense and fudgy—almost like a brownie.  Since Merri Ann, my wife, can’t eat wheat (bummer! Married to a baker), it’s a perfect dessert.  

So when we found a recipe in the newspaper, we were interested.  It was a simple recipe, but then flourless chocolate cake recipes are usually simple.  It had only four ingredients—chocolate, eggs, sugar, and butter.  It didn’t have a starch to take the role of flour but the eggs were separated and whipped.  Maybe that would work.  We decided to try it.

The cake didn’t match the billing.  At least, we didn’t like it.  We asked several visitors to our store to try the cake and they weren’t fond of it either. 

With only these four ingredients, there was essentially no starch in the recipe.  Starch provides “body” and structure, a chewiness.  This was too smooth, like a quiche. 

But we were intrigued by the recipe.  The eggs were separated and the whites beaten.  Could beaten whites create a lighter, less dense flourless chocolate cake and was that desirable?  We substituted a cup of our best cocoa for the chocolate and made it again.

Depending on the brand, cocoa is about 60% starch.  That much starch in one cup of cocoa doesn’t seem like a lot in a nine-inch cake but it made a dramatic difference.  Now the cake was more cake-like with body, but a cup of cocoa was a lot and with a cup of sugar, it wasn’t overly sweet.  It was reminiscent of bittersweet chocolate.  We liked it but we’re admitted chocoholics.  We topped slices with a dollop of whipped cream and fed them to visitors in our store.  We expected that many of them would find it too chocolaty.  They didn’t.  They loved it.

Too much chocolate is a matter of taste and opinions vary widely–what I find just right, others will find too intense.  We decided to tone it down a bit.  We also decided to make it a thicker, deeper cake.  So we increased the batter by 50%, decreased the proportion of cocoa, and slightly increased the amount of sugar.  It took a number of trials to get it right.  If we decreased the cocoa too much, we lost that rich, deep chocolate flavor characteristic of flourless chocolate cakes and the cake became too “smooth”—not enough starch.

Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipes

We think the following recipe, developed from the newspaper recipe, is just right.  Instead of bittersweet, it is closer to semi-sweet and still has a nice body.  We think this is a very good and easy recipe.

Newspaper Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe

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This recipe makes a very dense, rich cake—almost like a brownie.  It is very good and very easy. 

Make sure that you use the very best cocoa that you can find.  We used Ramstadt Breda Rich Dark Cocoa and it made perfect cakes.  (Read the reviews for this cocoa.)

We made this recipe in two bowls: one to mix the batter and the other to whip the egg whites.  Since we melted the butter in the batter bowl, we used a microwave safe bowl for the batter.  (The medium bowl in the Candy Apple Red Mixing Bowl Set   is perfect.)  We beat the egg whites with our stand-type mixer using the whip attachment.  Egg whites should always be beaten in a glass or steel bowl. 

1 cup butter
6 large eggs, separated
1 cup rich, dark cocoa, Ramstadt-Breda or equal
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
preheat the oven to 300 degrees. 

  • Melt the butter in the batter bowl in the microwave.  Add one-half cup of the sugar to the melted butter.  Add the cocoa and egg yolks and stir to blend.
  • Whip the egg whites in another bowl.  Drizzle in the remaining sugar as they beat.  Beat until stiff peaks form.
  • Scrape the egg whites into the batter bowl and fold them into the chocolate mixture.  Scrape the batter into a 9-inch springform pan with a good seal.
  • Bake for 48 minutes or until a toothpick comes out nearly but not entirely clean. Cool on a wire rack and then place in the refrigerator to chill.  The cake will become dense as it cools.  Dust with powdered sugar if you desire.   Serve with a raspberry sauce and/or whipped cream.

So how does this compare to the other flourless chocolate cake recipes on our site?  We made our Easy Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe so that we could compare them side by side.  The new recipe, the “national” recipe with whipped egg whites, is dense and rich, almost like a brownie.  You do have to stop and separate the eggs and whip the whites but the recipe is still very easy.  The original recipe, Easy Flourless Chocolate Cake, makes a spongier, more cake-like dessert but still much denser than other cakes.

Easy Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe

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With only four ingredients and three steps, this is an easy flourless cake.  And it’s scrumptious—perfect to make for your sweetheart.  As with other flourless chocolate cakes, this is dense and chocolaty.  

A simple dusting of powdered sugar makes this cake elegant. Drizzle it with raspberry sauce, raspberry chocolate sauce, or chocolate sauce.  (A recipe for raspberry sauce follows.)  Finally add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Be sure and use good quality, dark cocoa.  We use Ramstadt-Breda Dark Cocoa which has three times the cocoa butter of most national brands.  This will not be the same with ordinary cocoa. 

8 large eggs
1 cup rich, dark cocoa, Ramstadt-Breda  or equal
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. 

  1. In your stand-type mixer and with the whip attachment beat the eggs for three minutes at medium speed, until they are bubbly and lighter colored. While the eggs are beating, melt the butter and measure the other ingredients.  Measure the cocoa by spooning cocoa into a cup—do not compress the cocoa.
  2. Add the sugar and cocoa and beat in.  While the mixer is running, drizzle in the melted butter.  Continue beating until mixed.  Scrape the batter into the pan.
  3. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or an insta-read thermometer registers 165 to 170 degrees when inserted into the center of the cake.  Cool on a wire rack and then place in the refrigerator to chill.  The cake will become dense as it cools.  Dust with powdered sugar if you desire.

Yield: 12 servings. 

Which is better?  They have basically the same ingredients but with different preparations.  Our testers were split with about half liking one recipe and half liking the other better.  Both make great cakes.

The following recipe is another take with a bit of cornstarch added to give body to the cake.  It too makes a great cake.

Death by Chocolate Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe

This fabulous flourless cake is easy to make.


And it is so good—moist, dense, and fudgy.

For a nice presentation, make it in a springform pan. Be sure to use the very best intense chocolate. The recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate but you can substitute a quality semi-sweet chocolate.

Enjoy this decadent flourless cake recipe.

Warning: This is an intensely chocolate cake. If you are not a certified chocoholic, eat this cake with a scoop of ice cream or a little whipped cream.

Ingredients

1 cup butter
15 ounces bittersweet chocolate wafers (about three cups—you may substitute good quality semisweet chocolate wafers  or chips  )
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave, stopping to stir several times.
  2. Whip the eggs until light and fluffy, about three minutes at medium speed. Add the vanilla, powdered sugar and cornstarch and continue beating until smooth. Fold the melted chocolate into the egg mixture.
  3. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the center of the cake is firm to the touch.
  4. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool. Let cool for five minutes before gently loosening and removing the ring. Let cool completely before serving. Garnish with whipped cream or sift powdered sugar over the cooled cake.

Before learning that cocoa added necessary body to flourless chocolate cakes, we made cakes with finely chopped or ground nuts.  The nuts create the body.  These are very good cakes and we certainly recommend these recipes.  Adding ground nuts adds steps and expense but if you want a fancy cake, try these recipes.

Classic Flourless Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

2/3 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips (10 ounces) or 1 3/4 semisweet chocolate wafers (10 ounces). See note.
8 large egg whites
8 large egg yolks at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

  1. In a blender, chop the walnut pieces and sugar together until finely chopped. Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave, stirring as needed. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. While the chocolate is cooling, beat the egg whites to soft peaks.
  4. Fold the nuts, egg yolks, and vanilla into the chocolate mixture. Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Pour the batter into a nine-inch springform pan.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes or until done. Test for doneness as you would a cheesecake, by gently jiggling the pan. When done only the center of the cake will jiggle. Remove from the oven and set on wire rack to cool. After five minutes, run a knife or spatula around the edges and remove the ring. Let the cake cool completely before cutting. (The cake is fragile until it cools.)

Baker’s notes:

  1. We use Pure Dark Chocolate Wafers for a scrumptious cake.
  2. For a more intense chocolate, use Bittersweet Chocolate Wafers. You can also use a combination of wafers.
  3. Don’t over beat the egg whites; soft peaks are sufficient. Over beating incorporates too much air which will make the cake drier.
  4. Since the cake is still fragile while warm, carefully remove the springform pan ring.

Topping Your Flourless Chocolate Cake

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Flourless chocolate cakes can be rich and intense.  Sometimes it’s nice to tone down that chocolate with a bit of topping or sauce.  (Of course, a light dusting of powdered sugar works fine also.)  The easiest topping is a squirt of whipped cream from an aerosol can.  Be a bit generous with whipped cream.  A scoop of ice cream works.  A strawberry or raspberry sauce is delightful and our favorite way to present slices of flourless chocolate cake.  A dark slice of chocolate cake sitting in a pool of crimson sauce is as delightful to the eye as it is pleasing to the taste.  

About Chocolate

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Don’t scrimp.  Your flourless cake will be no better than the chocolate you use, whether cocoa or solid chocolate.  Essentially, the entire flavor is carried by the chocolate.  Typically wafers are a higher grade chocolate than baking chocolate since wafers are intended for candy making and baking chocolate is masked with flour and other ingredients.  (We used dark chocolate wafers in our first trial, the recipe from the newspaper.) 

Cocoa is usually made from lower grade, less expansive beans than solid chocolate so you’ll need to shop around a bit for good cocoa.  It’s worth it.  There is a dramatic difference between brands.  You’ll want to use cocoa with at least 14-16% cocoa butter which will eliminate most supermarket brands.  You can find good gourmet cocoa on the internet. 

We used Ramstadt Breda Rich Dark Cocoa in each of these recipes.  It has 22-24% cocoa butter.  We highly recommend this cocoa. 

Most manufacturers make many grades of cocoa or chocolate.  A higher grade from a given manufacturer may be perfect for your recipe while a lesser grade is unsatisfactory.  Chocolate chips especially are very competitive and most chips sold in grocery stores tend to be made with lower grade chocolate.

Recommended Pans

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We use the new silicone springform pans for all flourless chocolate cakes. We don’t have trouble with cake leaking in the oven because the silicone creates a tight, double seal.  When done, we simply peel the silicone ring off like a wrapper. 

We have also used our glass-based nonstick springform pans.   While I’m not as confident in the metal pans, I don’t recall one leaking. 

We think the following recipe, developed from the newspaper recipe, is just right.  Instead of bittersweet, it is closer to semi-sweet and still has a nice body.  We think this is a very good and easy recipe.

Dennis Weaver is the president of The Prepared Pantry, a full line kitchen store in Rigby, Idaho.  The Prepared Pantry sells kitchen tools, gourmet foods, and baking ingredients including really good cocoa and chocolate baking chips