Best Flourless Chocolate Cake

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This is the best flourless chocolate cake recipe ever. It is a rich, intensely chocolatey, gluten-free dessert made with only 7 ingredients! It’s a delicious & elegant make-ahead treat for any special occasion.

a piece of Flourless Chocolate Cake on a plate with a bite taken out of it, garnished with raspberries and whipped cream


When people say that a dessert is “too fudgy” or “too chocolatey” I never, ever understand what they mean. Because, to me, there is no such thing as “too much chocolate” – and this flourless chocolate cake recipe is testimony to that.

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).

This recipe recipe requires seven simple ingredients, which come together beautifully to make a truly special dessert. It’s the perfect make-ahead dessert for any occasion. Serve it with homemade whipped cream for an extra special touch! 

a Flourless Chocolate Cake with 4 slices cut dusted with powdered sugar topped with raspberries

Flourless Chocolate Cake: Ingredients & Substitutions 

I do not recommend making any substitutions in this flourless chocolate cake recipe. It is absolute perfection as-is. But if you must, here are a few possible options.

overhead photo of the ingredients in this Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe
  • Chocolate. Use high-quality chocolate for the best results.  I suggest Ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate or another high-quality variety. Adjust the sweetness/darkness by using different chocolate varieties such as milk, semisweet, or dark.
  • 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, works well.
  • Granulated sugar. Regular granulated sugar or organic cane sugar both work really well in this recipe. 
  • Sea salt. I recommend using pure, fine sea salt. If you use table salt (iodized salt), you may need to use less. 
a slice of Flourless Chocolate Cake on a plate with a bite taken out of it, topped with whipped cream, powdered sugar and raspberries

How to make Flourless Chocolate Cake

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. 

Do not let the water boil, and whisk every 30 to 60 seconds. After the mixture is clear, remove it from the heat and let it cool as you make the rest of the recipe. 

two overhead photos showing how to make flourless chocolate cake - dissolving sugar in water

Prepare the cake pan

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. 

Use a seamless pan

Since this recipe is baked in a water bath, I recommend using a pan that has no seems (e.g. I don’t recommend using a springform pan). This ensures that no water leaks into the cake.

two overhead photos showing how to make flourless chocolate cake - preparing a cake pan

Then, met the chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler 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.

two photos showing chocolate in a glass bowl before and after melting

Next, add the butter 1 tablespoon 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 ensure that it does.

two photos showing how to make flourless chocolate cake - adding butter

Then, add the slightly cooled (but still warm) sugar water to the mixture and beat on low/medium speed until the mixture is smooth. 

two photos showing how to make flourless chocolate cake - adding sugar water

Next, add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

two photos showing How to Make Flourless Chocolate Cake - adding egg one and a time

Then add vanilla and beat until just combined. 

two photos showing How to Make Flourless Chocolate Cake - adding vanilla

Bake the Flourless Chocolate Cake in a Water Bath

Once the batter is ready, pour it into the prepared cake pan. Then put the cake pan in the preheated oven.

two photos showing How to Make Flourless Chocolate Cake - batter in a cake pan and that pan in a larger 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 pouring the water into the bottom pan while it is in the oven so you do not have to transfer the pan filled with water into the oven.

up close view of flourless chocolate cake in a cake pan in a water bath before baking

Bake the flourless chocolate cake for 45 minutes. This 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. 

The cake is done when the top and edges look set and it is only slightly jiggly.

overhead view of flourless chocolate cake on a cooling rack

Chill the Flourless Chocolate Cake

This recipe needs to chill for a while, preferably overnight. I usually make it the day before and let it chill in the refrigerator overnight. The minimum amount of chilling time is 6 hours.

I actually love the fact that this fluorides chocolate cake 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.

flourless chocolate cake with 4 slices cut topped with powdered sugar and raspberries

Serve

After the cake has chilled completely, carefully remove it from the pan, 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: 

Flourless Chocolate Cake on a plate with a bite taken out topped with whipped cream and a raspberry

Store

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

Freeze

You can freeze either the whole cake or individual slices. To do this, place the cake or slices on a flat surface (baking sheet) and put them in the freezer to freeze until hardened. Then, wrap them with plastic wrap and put in an airtight container. Freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw gradually in the refrigerator.

Flourless Chocolate Cake on a plate with a bite taken out

Recipe FAQs

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. 

Does flourless chocolate cake have to be refrigerated?

Yes, you need to store this cake in the refrigerator so it doesn’t overheat and melt.

How long will flourless chocolate cake keep?

This cake lasts for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or 2 months in the freezer.

Why do you bake flourless chocolate cake in a water bath?

1. A water bath helps maintain a constant temperature. 
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 4.18J/goC. This means that aluminum’s temperature will fluctuate with its surroundings over 4x faster than water.
So, 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 results in the cake being evenly baked.
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.

front view of a piece of Flourless Chocolate Cake on a plate with a fork

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Best Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe

Laura
This is the best flourless chocolate cake recipe ever. It is a rich, intensely chocolatey, gluten-free dessert made with only 7 ingredients! It's a delicious & elegant make-ahead treat for any special occasion.
4.92 from 115 votes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 slices
Calories 422
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Chilling time12 hours
Total Time13 hours

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • 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 Tablespoon 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.

Prepare the water bath

  • Put the 9" cake pan in a larger pan then put the pans in the preheated oven.
  • Once in the oven, pour boiling water into the larger, bottom cake pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the 9" cake pan that contains the flourless chocolate cake.

Bake

  • Bake the flourless chocolate cake in the water bath at 300 degrees F for 45 minutes. The center will still look a little wet, but the edge will look set and the cake should only jiggle slightly.
  • Remove the cake from the water bath and let it cool on a wire rack.

Chill overnight

  • Chill cake overnight (or for at least 6 hours) in the pan.

Serve

  • 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!

Video

Notes

*Nutritional information calculated based on the recipe yielding 12 servings, although it is very rich and I find it can definitely serve more! 

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 

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Chocolate. This 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. 

Store

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

Freeze

You can freeze either the whole cake or individual slices. To do this, place the cake or slices on a flat surface (baking sheet) and put them in the freezer to freeze until hardened. Then, wrap them with plastic wrap and put in an airtight container. Freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw gradually in the refrigerator.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 422kcal | Carbohydrates: 39.2g | Protein: 5.1g | Fat: 30.5g | Saturated Fat: 18.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9.1g | Cholesterol: 134mg | Potassium: 194.8mg | Fiber: 2.5g | Sugar: 35.5g | Vitamin A: 625IU | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1.7mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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