Chipotle Flourless Chocolate Cake

This flourless chocolate cake by Garrett is to-die-for. Almost like fudge. ~Elise

For a recent potluck for all the Sacramento food bloggers I decided to throw together this intensely decadent and very easy chocolate torte. The original recipe is based around David Lebovitz’s Chocolate Idiot Cake, however, this one bakes up much more quickly, uses less butter, and has a bit of burn to it. The chipotle pepper and cinnamon give a nice bit of spice and a slow, sweet tingle that lingers after each bite.

If you can’t get chipotle chili powder, ancho chili powder will work fine as well. As the ingredients in this are few, and thus their flavors are of the utmost importance I highly suggest you splurge a bit for a high quality chocolate; Guittard and Scharffen Berger are excellent choices.

Chipotle Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe

Ingredients

  • 10 oz. of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 7 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon of chipotle chili powder
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9 ½ inch springform pan with a circle of parchment paper. Grease the sides and the parchment with butter or non-stick cooking spray (I love Pam for Baking cooking spray, myself).

2 Melt the chocolate and butter together over a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring occasionally until smooth.

3 Whisk together the eggs and the sugar in a large bowl, and then slowly, a bit at a time, whisk in the melted chocolate. Add the salt and spices and taste, adjusting the spices if needed.

4 Pour into the springform pan and bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool completely on a wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

55 Comments

  1. Linda

    I adore chocolate anything. I was wondering if a drizzle of chocolate would work on this cake as well?

    Linda in Washington State

    This cake is already uber-rich, but if you can eat it, then go for it. Personally, I would suugest frreshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. ~Garrett

  2. Susan

    So, can someone tell me the calories, I’m watching my calory intake, and this looks sinful.

    Probably near the infinity mark. ~Garrett

  3. Catherine

    I was lucky to taste this wonderful creation. There was definitely a kick to it with a lingering ‘burn’ from the peppers – but in a good way. Highly recommended!

  4. jonathan

    I owe you a huge debt of gratitude Garrett for helping me to use up the RIDICULOUSLY OVERPRICED $6 2-OUNCE BOTTLE OF CHIPOTLE POWDER I NEEDED FOR A RECIPE A YEAR AGO AND HAVE HAD NO USE FOR AFTER THE 1/4 TEASPOON I USED.

    There. I feel much better now. Phew.

  5. kate d

    I live in a country where you cannot get chipotle or ancho chile powder…any suggestions for other substitutions? I can get regular chili powder, is that workable? Thank you!

    Regular chili powder can sometimes be a mixture of spices. Be sure to check the ingredients, but regular dried ground chili powder should be just fine. Let us know how it goes! ~Garrett

  6. LDubs

    Isn’t it a bad idea to taste the batter that includes raw eggs?

    Salmonella actually exists on the shell of an egg, not within the egg itself, so don’t use cracked or broken eggs, store your eggs in the fridge, and use them within 2 weeks of buying them. Only after time goes by and in poor conditions does salmonella have the chance of infecting the whites of the eggs. The FDA has good procedures in place to ensure that your chances of actually getting salmonella are rare. However, it’s your call. You can get a bit more info here ~Garrett

  7. Lisa

    Ok, silly question-how do you get the pretty cross-marks with the powdered sugar?

    Not silly at all, I simply placed my wire rack over the cake and dusted it with powdered sugar, then I lifted the rack off. Any bit of lace will do a fine design as well. ~Garrett

  8. erin

    Amazing! I did it in cupcake cups because I was taking it into work. Not only is it incredibly good – such a perfect combo – the cupcakes look neat with the little cracks. No frosting needed!

  9. Elle

    What happens if you don’t have a springform pan and use a glass pyrex dish? I think that’s the one “gadget” I don’t have in the kitchen.

    Springform pan will make your like easier and make for nicer presentation. However, if you only have Pyrex, then just go for it. Erin commented about using cupcake cups, which I think shows the diversity of the recipe. ~Garrett

  10. Kizzi

    It is possible to use egg replacer or flaxseed for replacing the five eggs in this recipe?

    No idea, I have never in my life used either so I do not know how they work. Give it a try and let us know! ~Garrett

  11. EWA

    Very good, thank you for the recipe! I am always quite nervous about these chocolate cakes as they often turn out too moist. In my house it should be called a “tornado cake” as I was preparing it during tornado watch here in Virignia! I was just thinking what would I do if tornado really hits… it is all new to me, I spent my whole life in Europe. Great and easy recipe! I am eating it hot, hope it will be still good after cooling!

  12. ~M

    Before I add this to next week’s menu, do you have any idea whether this freezes well? Also, do you leave this out over the course of several days or store in the fridge? Thanks, Garrett!

    I would suggest that you just store it in the fridge for no more than 2-3 days. I usually make this the day before it’s served. ~Garrett

  13. Jim

    Great sounding combination! Combining savory flavors with desserts is the bombe (pardon the food pun!)

    I especially love freshly cracked black pepper in chocolate wafer cookies. Mmm, I can taste it now, enough spice to make it interesting, but not too much to over-power the chocolate. Can’t wait to try your version of chocolate cake.

    Thanks,
    Jim

    Jim, I feel for ya’ with the black pepper. Personally though, I prefer a bit of cracked pink peppercorn. It has a distinctly fruity tone that just really rings well with chocolate. Maybe not so much for a cookie, but used in cakes or cupcakes, it can be delightful! ~Garrett

  14. Stephanie

    Yum! But how come your recipes calls for a third of the baking time of David’s?

    It isn’t cooking in a waterbath for this recipe. ~Garrett

  15. Garrett

    I recently made this again using Chinese Five Spice in place of cinnamon and chili powder. It was very well received by all who tried it. =)

  16. Stephanie

    Thanks! The no waterbath leads to my second question – how do you keep it from cracking and drying out? Was David’s waterbath totally unnecessary? My springform pans leaks, regardless of meticulous foil wrapping, so this no waterbath thing is just what the doctor ordered.

    This recipe cooks quicker out of the waterbath so it’s denser, dryer and more fudgy. There is a bit of cracking along the outer rim, but I think it gives it visial appeal. The best way to see how the recipe works is to make it. ;) ~Garrett

  17. Anu

    Just tried this yesterday for a friend’s birthday – I used only cinnamon since I didn’t have chipotle or ancho powder. It was a huge hit! Very gourmet results, with very little effort – my kind of recipe. =)

  18. Don Livingston

    I tried this recipe today at my sister’s place. The middle was rather goopy, even though I ended up cooking it about seven minutes longer than the recipe said. Any thoughts about how to prevent that?

  19. Deah

    Baked this last weekend for my son’s graduation cookout. I baked it a few minutes longer than instructed. While the cake was cooling I could smell the smokey chipotle. Once cooled the smell was gone :-( The taste and texture was good. Unsuspecting tasters initially tasted the chocolate and something unexpected which can’t be identified, then about 15 seconds later the heat kicks in! This is spicy but not overwhelming. My mom, who doesn’t like hot stuff, really liked this one. She even asked for the recipe!

    While this is a good recipe I don’t think I will crave this one. But, I will bake it again for the surprise factor.

  20. Dan

    We made this for an office party and it was fantastic! I only used cinnamon and some cayenne but people seemed to enjoy it regardless. Next time I will try to use the chioptle powder.

  21. Angie

    Ho. Ly. Cow. So good! I made this for an early Father’s Day celebration and it was amazing. Unfortunately I live in a city that doesn’t think outside the box much, so I had to make do with a few different ingredients. Instead of Scharffen Berger chocolate, I was forced to use Ghiradelli. Good, but not the best. I also had to use New Mexico chili powder instead of chipotle. Regardless, this was still an amazing dessert. I piled a bunch of fresh raspberries in the middle of the cake and served it with vanilla ice cream. So simple to make and so flavorful. Thanks for the recipe!

  22. Jean Prescott

    This cake, far and away the easiest I’ve ever made, was a slam-dunk, wrestle-you-for-the-last-piece hit with everyone who tasted it. As one party guest said to another, “Taste this; it will change your life.” Reminds me of “Chocolat.”

  23. Elizabeth

    I made this for Father’s Day, and it was a hit. I also used a cupcake pan, as I don’t have a springform pan. It was great–little mini cakes that I served with French Vanilla ice cream. Delish! Thanks, Garrett & Elise.

  24. KP

    Just got rave – explative – explative reviews from choc fiend boyfriend. Made my day! So easy.

    Could not find chipolte in vaca town or even cayanne but still fab. I used some Lee Kum Kee chili oil.

    Back in the city I will find primo ingredients and try to top it. May become MY signature dish. Thankyou Garret for sharing!!

  25. Karissa Padilla

    This turned out great! I did add about 1/4 tsp. ground instant coffee to the batter. Debated a little on adding the cayenne, but went ahead and used it. I loved the fudginess, and the flavor was awesome! I probably won’t use the Springform pan next time, though (and there will be a next time). Always leaks on me no matter how much I wrap with foil, and it’s frustrating to no end (I do alot of cheesecakes). Thank you for sharing this one!

  26. Melissa

    See, this is why I’m so happy that I subscribe to this blog, because I have this vast deposit of knowledge at my disposal–and this is just what the doctor orderered! I actually omitted the cayenne and doubled the amount of chipotle (I like things spicy and so does my boy) and it came out beautifully! It was nice and moist on the inside and crispy on the top, and went beautifully with chipotle-cilantro-garlic burgers, canteloupe, and some wonderful coconut sorbet. Thank you!

    One question, though. When it came out of the oven, it was fairly tall and puffed up, but once I left it, it fell like a souffle. I turned it out upside-down (which it seems is what you did in your picture, as I don’t see an overly crackly top) and served it that way. Is it supposed to fall like this? Is it overlarge bubbles in the mix, or anything else? I did whip it quite a bit while mixing, and I feel that the eggs might have gained volume because of this.

    Melissa, the directions do not say to turn it over so no, don’t. The crackle you see is mostly just on the rim of the cake. Yes, it should fall, as it is a flourless chocolate cake, there is not gluten structure to support it. =) ~Garrett

  27. Zoe

    I hope I am not too late on this post. I have a question. I am thinking of making this cake for a special occasion for my husband and I, so I wanted to make it ahead of time so we can eat it when we get home. Can I do that? Everytime i have had flourless chocolate cake at a restaurant it has been warm, so i am wondering if I can make this ahead of time and reheat it in the oven when I get home and then sprinkle it with the powdered sugar?

    I have never reheated this cake, but yes it does keep. I would say just warm it slowly in the microwave or place it in a slightly warmed oven and see if that works. ~Garrett

  28. Janice

    I made this this weekend for my family for our what seems to be our last BBQ of the season. While it was a bit spicy for me, my family adored it, I was able to eat a piece with a big glass of milk and loved it though. At first I was worried as it puffed up a lot but as it condensed after cooking it got perfectly dense and delicious, though I think I undercooked mine a bit. Thanks for the great recipe!!!

  29. daveg

    Made this for my dad for father’s day, he loved it.

    I increased the chipotle powder a bit, and think I got it just right.

    My wife thought it was horrid, but she’s not one for unusual flavors :)

    Carefully placed on cardboard and wrapped in a tight layer of plastic wrap, it survived shipping via UPS.

    For those who find the smoky warmth too spicy, a bit of whipped cream does soften the burn.

    I would definitely make this again, for those with an adventurous palette.

  30. Rebekah

    Omagaaah! I just baked and devoured this about ten minutes ago. And let me tell you, it was amazing! Instead of the chipotle powder, I just added some red pepper flakes to the butter as it melted then strained it. I also added a little coffee. I also baked them in little muffin cups,for portion control. And topped it with a combination of bittersweet chocolate and evaporated milk. It was amazing. Thank you, Garrett!

  31. Ned

    I love this recipe and its always a hit. But the cooking time seems incorrect. This cake always cooks for about 45mins to an hour (if not more) at 350 degrees. Perhaps its a typo?

    I would check your oven temperature. ~Garrett

  32. Adapter Design

    Making this right now. I added around another 1/4 tsp of chipotle and maybe 1/8 tsp of cayenne because my wife and I both prefer a little more kick.

    Earlier in the week, I made a French silk pie from Cook’s Illustrated’s recipe. Since the pie doesn’t get baked, they had you wisk the eggs and sugar in a double boiler until it hit 160. I may give that a shot next time I make this recipe to see how it effects the texture. I’m wondering if it adds volume and/or density.

  33. Adapter Design

    I have to second the cooking time issue. It may be due to altitude or the fact that I’m using a 9″ springform rather than a 9.5″, but I’m at about 40 minutes right now and the toothpick still isn’t coming out clean. Top is started to harden quite a bit. Think this first one is going to be a little off. Oven temp is correct (had to switch to a hanging thermometer a month back because the built in one is way off).

  34. Adapter Design

    Actually, I just pulled it out after leaving that last comment. Toothpick is still coming out with crumbs but the edges were burning.

    Sounds like the altitude might be an issue as you mentioned. It may be a bit smooshy in the center but it will set up a bit after it cools. The texture will be very ganache like. ~Garrett

  35. Ana

    I made this cake a few times in my student flat with my ridiculous oven and, since I sweetened it a bit too much for my taste (I love bitter chocolate), I would usually add a bit of cocoa to bring back the bitterness. The cake would usually be done a lot sooner since my oven at the lowest temperature practically cooks my hand when I try to reach for the cake. To avoid the burning, I would cover it with foil after the top hardened. Always turned out quite beautifully.

    Then I came home to my dad’s superb high quality perfect oven and remembered to put less sugar and cooked it at a normal temperature and time. After I took out the cake it just fell. It completely shrunk in size and looked a lot like a shrivelled up depressed pathetic chocolate bowl. It made me feel like an idiot (because of the original title of the cake).

    I was wondering how this happened? Could it be that the cocoa powder keeps the cake in shape? Or the screwed up oven or tin foil?

    I am confused.

    Ana, I really wish I had an answer for you. This cake does actually fall a bit when you make it due to the fact there is no gluten structure to keep it up. It makes for a very rich and fudge-like cake. ~Garrett

  36. Cheryl M

    Just baked the cake – in a table top Breville convection oven in a 9″ spring form pan. Took 40 minutes at 350F for it to rise, and for the toothpick to be almost clean.

    Now, why would a pan 1/2″ smaller take so much longer? It looks good, the batter tasted good, I’m hoping the final product tastes good too.

  37. Lisa

    Looks delicious. I have made one similar to this but I can’t wait to try this recipe.

    Just an FYI – if using the Pam Baking spray as suggested, remember it is not gluten free! The baking brand does have wheat flour in it, however the original Pam spray is gluten free.

  38. crecencia

    Can the sauce from canned chipotle peppers be used as a substitute? I have the chinese 5 spice too, should I just use that?

    Yes, you can use the sauce, maybe just a teaspoon or so. As for which to use, it is your call. ~Garrett

  39. Corrie

    This cake was a hit at the birthday party that I brought it to. I did whisk the eggs and sugar until fluffy and liked the effect; give it a try. The recipe calls for the perfect amount of spice.

  40. Jason

    Baking sprays can have a trace of flour/gluten in them. I find them easy to use, but for gluten free recipes I grease the pan with oil or butter and use cornstarch to dust it. Works very well.

  41. dorene

    I found the Guittard in chips, but not bars at the store. They only had Ghiardelli or Lindt in the bars. Which do you think would be better?

    That’s a matter of taste, Dorene. It’s up to you. ~Garrett

  42. vanessa

    Wow, this was great! I followed the instructions to a T, but I only had a nine inch springform so it actually took about 35 minutes in my oven. I served it with some fresh whipped cream and some homemade cinnamon almond brittle, and it was a big hit. The burn definitely comes a little after you’ve stopped chewing…

  43. Sanya

    I just made the cake and it came out great. It took quite a bit longer in my oven (about 50 minutes). Next time I will try it with less sugar and more spice. Do you think it would bake the same with half the sugar?

    I am not sure on the sugar issue. As for the baking time, I just had a new oven put into my apartment. This cake took forever for me too. Turns out that I had two problems: the oven wasn’t calibrated, and used extra large eggs that made the batter extra wet and require longer baking. ~Garrett

    Thanks for the great recipe. I also cant wait to try it with some berries and whipped cream, as you suggested.

  44. Donna

    Just made this recipe tonight and it turned out great. I made cupcakes instead of full cake. I really like the combination of chocolate, spice and sweetness. I don’t find it to be too sweet but I’m wondering also what less suger would do to the taste. So far daughter likes them; husband and son are asleep so I’ll find out tomorrow what they think. Thanks for the recipe!

  45. Stacy

    I usually don’t leave comments, but OMG this cake is SO good! I decided to try it since my hubby can’t have any gluten and it was a big hit. The only change I made was to use half semi-sweet and half bittersweet chocolate since that is what I had at home. It turn out perfect…not too sweet. This recipe is good enough to serve on a special occasion. Thanks!

  46. erin

    About how many servings do you think this recipe makes? I want to make it for a birthday party, but I am not sure if I should double the recipe?

    Well, it depends on how thin you slice the cake. It’s pretty rich so one recipe should probably be fine. ~Garrett

  47. Michelle

    Oh man, this was gourmet delicious and super quick and easy, might I add. The only weird thing was the thin crusty top, which was like that crispy layer in a macaron, it cracked when the cake rose, and then after I took it out of the oven, the cake deflated and cracked more. Still, it tasted amazing, not too sweet or rich either and the cinnamon/chipotle set it apart from your common chocolate cake. and gluten free too! I baked mine in a glass pie pan, and it took around 30 min. to fully cook (I think I’ve heard glass takes longer than metal pans to bake). I will make this again for sure. By the way, if you microwave chocolate, be sure to do it in small time intervals like 10-15 seconds and stir in between, otherwise once you burn the chocolate, the whole batch is ruined. Lovely recipe, thanks!

  48. Robert

    Here’s a question almost four years later: Can you clarify if one is supposed to take the cake out of the springform pan to cool on the rack, or let it cool in the springform pan? Or does it really matter? :-)

    Allow it to cool a bit in the pan then undo it to cool the rest of the way. ~Garrett

  49. Robert

    Thanks for the answer! Glad to know you’re still checking in four years later. Made the cake twice this weekend. It was devoured both times. The second time I notched up the chipotle powder to a full teaspoon and the cinnamon to 3/4 tsp. Gave it a bit more kick.

  50. Jennifer

    I made this cake a few days ago and it’s wonderful. I found that it took around 30 minutes to bake in my oven and I did use a springform pan. I cut down the amount of chipotle powder for my kids and served it with a homemade salted caramel sauce. I loved the crispy top layer and how the cake was dense and fudge-like without being heavy. I will be making this again for sure.

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