This Best Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe is a gluten-free dessert for serious chocolate lovers. It’s made with only 7 ingredients and is a delicious & elegant make-ahead treat for any special occasion! Watch the video and follow our step-by-step instructions to ensure it turns our perfectly!
This Flourless Chocolate Cake is truly a show-stopper. It has been one of my most requested recipes for years. This cake is pure chocolatey & fudgy goodness, and is a gluten-free dessert for serious chocolate lovers, (just like these flourless brownies)!
It’s made with only 7 ingredients and is the perfect make-ahead dessert for a special occasion! Serve it with homemade whipped cream for an extra special touch!
How to make Flourless Chocolate Cake
This recipe consists of a few simple ingredients which come together beautifully to make a truly special dessert. Here is the process step-by-step, and don’t forget to watch the video!
Dissolve sugar & salt in water
The first step in this flourless chocolate cake recipe is combining the water, sugar and salt and heating it until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
Be sure not to let the water boil, and whisk every minute or so to help speed up the dissolving process. After the mixture is clear, remove it from the heat and let it cool a little bit as you make the rest of the recipe.
Prepare the cake pan
Be sure to line your cake pan with parchment paper for easy removal. I trace the bottom of the cake pan on a piece of parchment paper, and add “handles” (see photo below) for a perfect fit. Then grease the pan with a non-stick spray, butter, shortening, etc.
In the microwave or in a double boiler melt the chocolate until it’s smooth and glossy. Transfer it to the bowl of a standing mixer. You can also use a hand-held mixer to beat the ingredients together!
Add butter 1 TBS at a time to the warm chocolate mixture, beating after each addition. It’s ok if it doesn’t fully melt, because the addition of the warm sugar water will do that. But it should get close!
Add warm sugar water
Next, add the slightly cooled (but still warm) sugar water to the mixture and beat on low/medium speed until the mixture is smooth.
Add eggs & vanilla
Next, add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Then add vanilla and beat until just combined.
Pour cake into pan & prepare water bath
To make the water bath I recommend following these steps:
- Place the pan you will be adding the water to into the oven
- Put the cake pan in that pan
- Pour boiling water into the bottom pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Be extremely careful not to get any water into the cake pan.
I recommend this order so you do not have to worry about transferring the pan filled with water into the oven!
Bake the Flourless chocolate Cake in a water bath!
Bake the flourless chocolate cake in a water bath! In order to ensure that no water leaks into the cake, I recommend baking it in a pan that has no seems (e.g. I do NOT use a springform pan)…which makes it a bit trickier to remove…but a little parchment paper and a good amount of greasing and you’ll be OK!
Why do you bake flourless chocolate cake in a water bath? (How does a water bath work)?
1. A water bath helps maintain a constant temperature.
Now it’s time for another chemistry lesson (because I majored in chemistry in college, and then I was a chemistry teacher before I had kids)! Do you know why it’s beneficial to bake certain treats in a water bath? Water has a high “heat capacity,” which is the amount of heat needed to increase the temperature of an object by 1 degree Celsius.
The heat capacity of an object depends on the chemical makeup and mass of the substance. If an object has a higher heat capacity, it takes longer for its temperature to change. For example, aluminum has a heat capacity of 0.90 J/goC, while water has a heat capacity of 4.18 J/goC. This means that aluminum’s temperature will fluctuate with its surroundings over 4x faster than water.
So, how does this apply to baking? (Right, not all of you are chemistry nerds like me)! If you bake something in a water bath it helps maintain a constant temperature.
Once the water reaches a warm temperature, if anything causes your oven to shift in temperature at all (e.g. you open the door to check the cake), the water bath will hold that temperature without changing.
2. Indirect source of heat = even baking
A water bath also delivers a more indirect source of heat to the flourless chocolate cake! This translates to a more evenly baked Flourless Chocolate Truffle Cake
3. A water bath adds moisture.
A water bath also adds moisture to the oven, keeping the flourless chocolate cake from drying out or cracking!
How do you know when flourless chocolate cake is done?
This flourless chocolate cake is done when the top and edges look set and it is only slightly jiggly. The 45 minute baking time is pretty exact as long as you use a 9″ round cake pan. If you use an 8″ round pan I suggest baking for 50-55 minutes.
Chill the flourless chocolate cake
Something important to note about this Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe is that it needs to chill for a while. I usually make it the day before and let it chill overnight. The absolute minimum amount of chilling time is 6 hours.
I love the fact that this recipe is best when served the next day! This means you can make it ahead and free yourself up to be able to focus on cooking other dishes the day of a special celebration or get together!
After the cake has chilled, cut it into pieces and serve. I recommend removing it from the refrigerator at least 15 minutes before serving to soften up a little! Here are some serving suggestions:
- Add a dollop of homemade whipped cream or strawberry whipped cream on top!
- Put fresh berries on the side
- Drizzle some homemade strawberry sauce on top.
Flourless Chocolate Cake: Ingredients & Substitutions
I can honestly say I do NOT recommend making any substitutions in this recipe. It is absolute perfection as-is. But if you must, here are a few possible options.
- Chocolate. Listen up folks, the cake will be as good as the quality of chocolate used. My top choices in this recipe are Ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate or any other high-quality variety. The darker chocolate used, the richer the cake will taste.
- Butter. I always use salted butter in baking, but you can use unsalted as well with great results! To make this cake dairy-free, a vegan butter substitute, like Earth’s Balance, can be used.
- Granulated sugar. Regular granulated sugar or organic cane sugar both work really well in this flourless chocolate cake recipe.
- Sea salt. I recommend using pure, fine sea salt. If you use table salt (iodized salt), you may need to use less.
More Chocolate Desserts
I take my chocolate dessert making seriously! Here are some of my favorite desserts for serious chocolate lovers:
- These molten chocolate lava cakes are SO easy but look elegant (like you spent hours in the kitchen)!
- I am a sucker for fudgy brownies, like these flourless brownies or my classic brownie recipe.
- If you love chocolate and peanut butter, you have to make this puppy chow recipe and this chocolate peanut butter fondue!
- And of course, or recipe for the best ever chocolate chip cookies!
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Flourless Chocolate Cake
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease one 9” round cake pan (or glass pie plate) and set aside. (Note: I always cut a piece of parchment paper into a circle with “handles” and place it on the bottom of the pan. Then I grease the pan with the parchment paper in it).
- In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the water, salt and sugar. Whisk every 60 seconds until completely dissolved and set aside.
- Melt the chocolate chips (in the microwave or in a double boiler) and pour into the bowl of a standing mixer.
- Cut the butter into 1 TBS pieces and beat it into the chocolate, 1 piece at a time.
- Mix in the warm sugar/water mixture until combined.
- Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time until completely smooth.
- Add vanilla and mix until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Put the cake pan in a larger pan and fill the larger pan with boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of your cake pan. Be very careful not to get water into the cake! I like to put the pan with the cake in it on the oven rack before pouring the water. That way I just have to slide it in and close the door!
- Bake cake in the water bath at 300 degrees F for 45 minutes. The center will still look wet, but the edge will look done.
- Remove the cake from the water bath and let it cool on a wire rack.
- Chill cake overnight (or for at least 6 hours) in the pan!
- Carefully lift the parchment paper out of the pan and the cake with it. Put it on a serving plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar! Serve with fresh berries, ice cream, etc!
Note about pan size:The size of the pan used will effect baking times:
- 9" cake pan - bake for 45 minutes.
- 8" cake pan (must be 3" deep) - bake for 50 minutes
- Individual ramekins - bake 25 minutes
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