This is a single-layer flourless chocolate cake that’s fudgy, silky, and practically melts in your mouth. The cake comes together quickly in one bowl, and the ganache can be made in minutes, though it’ll look and taste like you spent hours making the cake. It’s easy enough to whip up the moment a chocolate craving strikes. Plus, it’s even scrumptious when still warm from the oven sans ganache if you just can’t wait a minute longer.
Ways to Make the Chocolate Shine
The cake itself doesn’t require too many ingredients, but there are a few that set it apart from other recipes you may come across.
- A tiny bit of espresso powder and vanilla extract amplify the chocolate flavor without overpowering it.
- A combination of light brown sugar and granulated sugar gives the cake a fudgy texture and a rounded flavor with a certain je ne sais quoi.
- Dutch-process cocoa powder is less acidic than natural cocoa powder, providing a smoother and more intense chocolate flavor.
- Add a pinch of salt to the ganache—this is something I learned from a dear chef in culinary school. It brings out the flavor of the chocolate.
The Easiest Chocolate Ganache
To make the ganache, heat heavy cream in a saucepan and pour it over finely chopped chocolate—I recommend 60% bittersweet chocolate. Stir to melt the chocolate and create a silky-smooth ganache. Then, pour it over the cake and let it set. That's it!
Though I recommend chopped chocolate bars, you can use chocolate chips. However, they contain stabilizers that prevent them fully melting—you will see tiny specks of chocolate in the ganache. That's why ganache made with chocolate chips is just a touch thicker and less fluid. You may need to add more heavy cream to thin it out.
As the ganache cools it will thicken, sometimes too much. You may be tempted to reheat it in the microwave. Avoid the temptation! Microwaves are often too direct and strong, causing the ganache to overheat and break. Instead, reheat it slowly on a double boiler—a bowl set over a pot of simmering water.
Tips for Baking the Best Flourless Chocolate Cake
Don’t overbake the cake. You want some moist crumbs, but no wet batter, clinging onto a toothpick inserted into the center. If the toothpick comes out clean, it’s overbaked.
Take care when removing the cake from the pan. To avoid breaking the cake, run a small offset spatula or paring knife around it to release it from the pan. Flip a large plate on top of the cake pan. Place one hand under the cake pan and the other on top of the plate. In one swift motion, flip it so that the plate is now on the bottom. You'll feel the cake release onto the plate. Remove the pan to reveal it. Peel off and discard the parchment. Place a serving platter upside down on top of the cake and flip once more so that the cake is now right side up.
Make It Look Nice
The cake puffs up as it bakes then settles as it cools, creating valleys and dips on top. It may also have a super thin, paper-like crust on top. This is totally normal! The ganache softens the crust. for one silky, fudgy cake. If you’d like the ganache to look smooth on top, flip the cake over so that the flat bottom is facing up.
To get a super clean slice of cake, use a hot, dry knife to cut it. Fill a tall container with hot water. Dip a sharp knife in the water until it feels warm to the touch and then carefully wipe the blade dry with a clean towel. Be sure to wipe the knife between each slice and dip in the water to warm it up as needed.
Jazz Up Your Flourless Chocolate Cake
When I was in college, I worked at a bakery in Providence, Rhode Island. My favorite dessert was their flourless chocolate cake served with whipped cream and raspberry sauce. I'm sticking to that spirit with this recipe. Both cut through the richness of the fudgy cake and provide a wonderful textural contrast.
Raspberries not your thing? Top the cake with whatever suits you. Here are some ideas:
- Fold orange zest into the whipped cream and serve with orange supremes.
- Serve it with fresh or macerated strawberries.
- Top the ganache with toasted nuts, such as sliced almonds, chopped hazelnuts, or crushed peanuts.
- Try a passionfruit coulis! The tartness of the passionfruit pairs beautifully with chocolate. This is a pairing I’ve loved since my chocolates classes in pastry school.
- Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle of cacao nibs for a bitter, earthy, crunchy contrast.
- Fold crème fraîche or yogurt into the whipped cream to create a tangy whipped topping.
More Decadent Chocolate Cakes
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Use a bittersweet chocolate with about 60% cacao for a cake that's neither too sweet nor too bitter.
For the cake
Nonstick cooking spray
10 tablespoons (143g) unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces
6 ounces (171g) 60% bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 teaspoon espresso powder
1/3 cup (72g) light brown sugar, tightly packed
1/2 cup (113g) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup (37g) Dutch-process cocoa powder
For the ganache
2 ounces (56g) 60% bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (see recipe note)
Pinch kosher salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Set the rack in the middle of the oven.
Lightly spray the bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Then, spray it once more, taking care to grease the parchment and sides. Set it aside.
Melt the butter and chocolate:
In a medium saucepan, add 2 inches of water and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. In a medium heatproof bowl, add the butter and chopped chocolate, and set the bowl over the pot of simmering water. The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir until the butter and chocolate are fully melted.
Add the espresso powder:
Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the espresso powder. Let the chocolate mixture cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
Add the sugars and vanilla:
Whisk in both sugars and salt until there are no visible lumps of sugar. Add the vanilla and whisk to combine.
Add the eggs and cocoa powder:
Add the eggs, one a time, whisking well after each addition, about 30 seconds each. Do not add the next egg until the previous is fully incorporated. The mixture may look broken—continue whisking until smooth.
Add the cocoa powder and whisk until no dry bits remain.
Bake the cake:
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and use a small offset spatula or rubber spatula to evenly spread it out. Bake the cake until set, puffed, and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with moist crumbs, 25 to 30 minutes.
Cool the cake:
Set the pan on a wire rack until slightly cooled, 10 to 15 minutes. Run a small offset spatula or paring knife around the cake. Flip the cake out onto a serving platter or cake stand. Peel off and discard the parchment paper. Let the cake fully cool.
Make the ganache:
In a heatproof bowl, add the chocolate and a pinch of salt. You can wash, dry, and use the same bowl you used to make the cake/
In a small saucepan set over medium heat, add the heavy cream and heat until it comes to a simmer, with some vigorous bubbling around the edges and steam coming off the surface, 1 to 2 minutes. Do not let it boil.
Immediately pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let sit for a minute, then stir until it is smooth, silky, and fluid.
Still see bits of unmelted chocolate? Did the ganache cool too much and is no longer pourable? Set the bowl over a double boiler (similar to the set up in step 2 above) to gently reheat and melt the ganache. If the ganache is still too thick after heating, add more heavy cream, 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Do not add too much, otherwise it won’t set on the cake.
Pour the ganache over the cooled cake:
Pour the warm ganache over the cooled cake. Don’t worry if it drips down the sides. Let the ganache set on the cake at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour. You could pop it in the fridge for about 10 minutes instead.
For the best texture, serve the cake at room temperature. Use a hot, dry knife to cut clean slices, wiping the knife clean between each cut. Serve with whipped cream and fresh raspberries.
Store the cake covered tightly with plastic wrap or in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or up to 5 days in the refrigerator. If the cake has been topped with fresh fruit, remove the fruit before leaving it on the counter, or store the cake in the refrigerator.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 8 to 10|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 28g||35%|
|Saturated Fat 16g||82%|
|Total Carbohydrate 27g||10%|
|Dietary Fiber 5g||16%|
|Total Sugars 19g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||1%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|