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Guests are coming for dinner. And you just found out that one of them is gluten free. What do you do?
You can run to the store, maybe the bakery, and buy something.
You can break out a carton of ice cream?
You can make a flourless chocolate cake.
Choose the flourless chocolate cake. It’s impressive and everyone will love it. You can make a flourless chocolate cake that compares with those in fine restaurants.
You can buy a mix for a flourless chocolate cake or use one of the recipes below.
How Flourless Chocolate Cakes Work
Cakes, not flourless, depend on the starches in the flour for structure—along with a little egg. In a flourless chocolate cake, the structure depends on one or more of the following:
Eggs (when the proteins cook, they provide structure)
Nearly all recipes are egg rich and most supplemented with other starch or ground nuts. The ground nuts add a wonderful flavor and texture but are not necessary.
The chocolate provides nearly all of the flavor and masks some of the eggy taste that you would find in recipe with that much egg alone. The eggy taste can be reduced by using egg whites instead of whole eggs.
Today, we’ll share three recipes with you:
Easy Chocolate Cake
This recipe is super easy. It’s unusual in that it relies only on cocoa and eggs for the structure.
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 is enough to balance the eggs and make it more cake-like.
This cake has a cup of cocoa and that’s a lot. Cocoa without sugar is unpleasant and it took about a cup of sugar to get the right balance. It has a flavor reminiscent of bittersweet chocolate.
We liked it but we’re admitted chocoholics. We topped slices with dollops 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.
There are two keys to success with this recipe:
- Really good cocoa but that’s true with any flourless chocolate cake.
- A springform pan with a tight seal. We recommend a silicone springform pan .
As with other flourless chocolate cakes, this is dense and chocolatey. 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.
We use Ramstadt-Breda Dark Cocoa which has three times the cocoa butter of most national brands. This will not be the same with inferior cocoa.
8 large eggs
1 cup rich, dark cocoa, Ramstadt-Breda or equalivalent
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Death by Chocolate Flourless Chocolate Cake
This fabulous flourless cake is easy to make. And it is so good—moist, dense, and fudgy.
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.
1 cup butter
15 ounces bittersweet chocolate wafers (about three cups—you may substitute good quality semisweet chocolate wafers)
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave, stopping to stir several times.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Classic Flourless Chocolate Cake
Before learning that cocoa added necessary body to flourless chocolate cakes, we made cakes with finely chopped or ground nuts. The nuts created 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.
This cake is made much like a sponge cake: you whip the egg whites and fold them in with the chocolate and yolk mixture. It’s really quite simple.
Make this cake in a springform pan. Our Candy Apple Red Silicone Springform Pan is perfect.
This cake is rich enough that frosting is not necessary. Simply dust it with a little powdered sugar.
2/3 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 ¾ cups semisweet chocolate wafers
(10 ounces). See note.
8 large egg whites
8 large egg yolks at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- In a blender, chop the walnut pieces and sugar together until finely chopped. Set aside.
- Melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave, stirring as needed. Set aside to cool slightly.
- While the chocolate is cooling, beat the egg whites to soft peaks.
- 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.
- 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.)
- We use Pure Dark Chocolate Wafers for a scrumptious cake.
- Don’t over beat the egg whites; soft peaks are sufficient. Over beating incorporates too much air which will make the cake drier.
Topping Your Flourless Chocolate Cake
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.
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 Ramstadt Breda Rich Dark Cocoa in each of these recipes. It has 22-24% cocoa butter compared to 8 to 10% in most store brands.
We use a silicone springform pan 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.
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About the Author
Dennis Weaver has burned food from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Miami, Florida. He is the founder of The Prepared Pantry in Rigby, Idaho and the author of How to Bake: The Art and Science of Baking available as an E-book or as a Kindle book on Amazon.
Dennis lives in Rigby, Idaho, with his wife, Merri Ann. They have five wonderful children and five beautiful granddaughters.