January 3, 2018
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Less About the Flour and More About the Chocolate

For a dark, caramel-y, espresso-tinged, slightly molten cake, turn to this makeover of the flourless chocolate cake.

As a dark-chocoholic, there have been plenty of instances when I’ve ordered a chocolate dessert that on paper or to the eye appeared extremely chocolaty, only to be underwhelmed. More often than not, it’s too one-note and sweet for my taste buds (where’s the chocolate?), rather than exhibiting those deep, complex chocolate flavors I crave.

Not all chocolate is created equal. Like good wine, the flavor depends on a number of factors: the type of bean, region, terroir, fermentation, roasting method, and ratio of ingredients (e.g., cocoa butter, sugar, vanilla) in each chocolate formula. You’ll know when you encounter really good chocolate because you get those inherently fruity and earthy notes.

While flourless chocolate cake obviously doesn’t contain flour (or gluten of any kind, for that matter), this cake is not about dietary restrictions. This cake is all about the chocolate. Pure, rich, glorious chocolate. I’m talking dark, bittersweet chocolate—in this case 73% cocoa. If that’s your type of chocolate, then do I have a cake for you.

Given the absence of flour, this cake is less cakey and more fudgy in texture, with a bit of airiness from the egg whites that are whipped and then folded into the batter. I also added two shots of La Colombe espresso to the batter to enhance and intensify the flavor of chocolate. I opted for dark brown sugar as opposed to white sugar, which is often found in flourless chocolate cake recipes. Dark brown sugar contains molasses, which imparts complex caramel and toffee notes. Since this cake is all about the chocolate, seek out the best-quality chocolate and cocoa powder you can find.

When the cake comes out of the oven, it will be set around the edges but still a bit wobbly in the center. It will firm up somewhat as it rests (you should let it rest for about 10 minutes if you have the willpower; I confess, I didn’t). Before slicing, dust the top of the cake with a sprinkling of pure cocoa powder (I used Valrhona) and serve with spoonfuls of whipped cream.

As you slice into the warm cake, it will be slightly and pleasantly gooey and molten in the middle. If there is any leftover cake to store in the refrigerator, know that it will take on a completely different texture as it cools, solidifying and becoming completely fudgy.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake

9-12 servings


  • 1 ½ sticks of butter, roughly chopped, plus extra for greasing pan
  • 12 ounces dark chocolate wafers (used 73% cacao)
  • 2 shots of espresso
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup good quality cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Whipped cream for serving (optional)

This flourless chocolate cake is incredibly fudgy, slightly gooey, and insanely rich and chocolaty.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line and grease a 9-inch spring form pan. Dust with cocoa powder.
  2. Place the butter, chocolate, and espresso in a heat proof bowl that fits snuggly over a pot. Fill the pot with a few inches of water. Bring the water to a simmer. Place the bowl over the pot. Whisk the chocolate until completely melted. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Mix the egg yolks, ½ cup brown sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.
  4. Place the egg whites into a separate bowl. With an electric beater, beat on medium-high speed until frothy. Slowly add in the reserved ½ cup of brown sugar. Continue to beat until firm peaks form. In batches, fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
  5. Pour the batter into the greased pan. Bake, about 35 minutes, until set around the edges but still a bit wobbly in the middle. Let rest 10 minutes. Dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder.
  6. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

Linda Schneider

Linda Schneider is a home cook who is obsessed with good food and all things local. Follow her adventures at Wild Greens and Sardines.

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