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This dark, rich, and deliciously moist flourless chocolate cake is naturally gluten free. A 1 bowl cake recipe without any special tools, decorating, or assembly required, this is chocolate cake MADE EASY. With its fudge-like texture, it satisfies even the biggest chocolate craving. Top however you’d like or with my favorite mocha whipped cream.

flourless chocolate cake with raspberries

Is this chocolate cake or is this fudge masquerading as cake? Only one way for you to find out. I promise you’ll be satisfied with the verdict.

If you like chocolate, you definitely don’t want to miss this recipe.

Why You’ll Love This Flourless Chocolate Cake

  • Easy 1 bowl cake recipe
  • Dense like homemade brownies
  • Mind-blowing rich and chocolatey
  • Tastes like fudge you eat with a fork
  • Moister than others I’ve tried (use my oven trick explained below)
  • Naturally gluten free
  • No crazy decorating, layering, or assembling required
  • A billion ways to top it
  • Leavener is optional (zero leavening without it)

Plus, I’m teaching you how to make mocha whipped cream. Take my whipped cream and add espresso powder/water and cocoa powder. It’s lightly sweetened and oh-so-simple.

flourless chocolate cake with mocha whipped cream

flourless chocolate cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake Video Tutorial


Flourless Chocolate Cake Ingredients

“Where’s the flour?!” you might be asking. So you can understand how this recipe works, let me explain each ingredient you DO need.

  • Chocolate & Butter: This recipe starts like my chocolate lava cakes: melt butter and chocolate together. It’s important to use pure baking chocolate, not chocolate chips. Chocolate chips contain stabilizers preventing them from melting into the silky consistency we need. Instead, pick up two 4-ounce semi-sweet chocolate baking bars from the baking aisle– I prefer Ghirardelli or Baker’s brands. You need 6 ounces for this recipe. (Reserve the remaining 2 ounces for another time.)
  • Eggs: Eggs have 3 main jobs in this recipe. First, they help take the place of flour. And like they do in homemade brownies, eggs create the bulk of this cake’s moist, fudgy texture. Finally, they help the cake rise too.
  • Sugar, Vanilla Extract, & Salt: Sweetens/adds flavor. Adapted from King Arthur Flour, I reduced the sugar in the cake. (I also found the cake a little dry, so I reduced the cocoa powder and added another egg, more vanilla, and used baking chocolate.)
  • Espresso Powder: Just like in my regular chocolate cake recipe and marble loaf cake, espresso powder deepens the chocolate flavor. This cake DOES NOT taste like coffee. Find espresso powder in the coffee aisle of the grocery store. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll use it in baking: see all my recipes using espresso powder.
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: Because we’re not using baking soda, you can use either dutch-process cocoa powder or natural cocoa powder in this recipe. Cocoa powder also helps take the place of flour.
  • Baking Powder (OPTIONAL): In my recipe testing, I found a touch baking powder added *a little* extra lift to this normally flat cake. (It’s still pretty flat even with it though!) If you want to skip the leavening, leave it out. The cake tastes the same!
butter, chocolate, eggs, sugar, and cocoa powder

How to Make Flourless Chocolate Cake

Even though this is a simple cake recipe, its preparation is very unique to traditional chocolate cake recipes. To ensure success, I encourage you to read through the following section, as well as the written recipe below.

  1. Prepare an 8-inch round cake pan. (A 9-inch cake pan works, but the cake is thinner.) Grease it, line with a parchment paper round, then grease the parchment paper. Parchment paper helps the cake release seamlessly from the pan. This cake WILL stick if you don’t use greased parchment. Sadly, I know from experience.
  2. Melt chocolate and butter together.
  3. Whisk in the sugar, espresso powder, and vanilla then whisk in the eggs.
  4. Whisk in the dry ingredients and pour batter into cake pan.
  5. Create a steamy oven. This is an egg heavy cake and, like cheesecake, it needs a moist environment to prevent it from drying out. (Trust me on this one– not many recipes call for this but it makes all the difference!) We don’t need a water bath, instead place a large metal roasting pan on the bottom oven rack. Fill with hot water. Place cake on the center rack. Quickly shut the oven door trapping steam inside.
  6. Bake in the steamy oven. Takes about 30 minutes.
  7. Cool the cake for only 10 minutes, then invert it onto your serving plate. This is important! Run a sharp knife around the edges of the warm cake to help release it.
  8. Cool completely. Just stick it in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Decorate and serve!
flourless chocolate cake batter

Warning: Your cake may awkwardly rise around part of the edges. At one point, it looked like one of my test recipes would over-flow on one side! It won’t, as long as you’re using the correct cake pan and following the recipe below.

As the cake cools upside down, any lumps on the top (which is now the bottom!) flatten out.

flourless chocolate cake with raspberries and powdered sugar

3 Success Tips (Don’t Skip These)

  1. For a fudge-like flourless chocolate cake, don’t over-bake it. You’ll walk a thin line between moist flourless chocolate cake and dry flourless chocolate cake. All of my test recipes took 30 minutes. Test the center with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, it’s done. Even if it comes out with just a couple moist (not wet) crumbs, it’s done.
  2. Use my steamy oven trick. Again, this is an egg-heavy cake. To prevent the eggs from drying out, bake the cake in a moist oven as explained in the breakdown of the steps above. Not many recipes call for this, but I’m certain that’s why this one is so unbelievably fudge-like and moist.
  3. Follow the recipe as written. Sometimes it’s ok to play around with a recipe. But this is a very precise one. Without traditional butter/sugar creaming, flour, a lot of leavening, or milk, the other ingredients in this recipe have A LOT of weight to carry and jobs to do. For best taste, texture, and so you don’t waste your time (and money!), I do not recommend any ingredient substitutions.
gluten free flourless chocolate cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake Toppings

I opted for homemade mocha whipped cream, fresh raspberries, and a dusting of confectioners’ sugar. Isn’t it pretty? You don’t need to go all out like I did. 😉 A simple dusting of confectioners’ sugar will do or any of the following:

Print
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flourless chocolate cake with raspberries

Flourless Chocolate Cake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours (includes cooling)
  • Yield: serves 8
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

A 1 bowl recipe, this naturally gluten free flourless chocolate cake is indulgently rich, moist, and fudge-like. For best taste, texture, and so you don’t waste your time (and money!), I do not recommend any ingredient substitutions.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/2 cup (115g; 1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 6 ounces (170g) high quality semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped*
  • 2/3 cup (135g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (27g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • optional: 1/2 teaspoon baking powder*

Mocha Whipped Cream

  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon warm water
  • 1 cup (240ml) cold heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
  • 3 Tablespoons (22g) confectioners’ sugar (see note)
  • 1 Tablespoon (6g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder
  • optional: raspberries and a dusting of confectioners’ sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Make sure you have a bottom oven rack and a center oven rack in place for step 5. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan, line with a parchment paper round, then grease the parchment paper. Parchment paper helps the cake seamlessly release from the pan. The cake WILL stick unless it’s lined and generously greased. (Trust me!)
  2. Cut the butter into pieces so it melts evenly. Place in a large heat-proof bowl. Add chopped chocolate. Melt in 20 second increments in the microwave, stirring after each increment until completely melted and smooth. Let cool for 2-3 minutes. You can use a double boiler for this step if desired.
  3. Whisk the sugar, espresso powder, and vanilla extract into the chocolate mixture. Whisk in the eggs until smooth. The mixture will be heavy and tacky, like brownie batter. Whisk in the cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder (if using).
  4. Pour and spread batter into prepared cake pan.
  5. Prepare the steamy oven: Place a large metal roasting pan or baking dish on the bottom oven rack. Do not use glass. Pour boiling water about 2 inches up the sides of the pan. (I just boil a kettle of water.) Quickly place the cake on the center rack and shut the oven door, trapping steam inside. The steamy oven helps guarantee an extra moist cake.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes until the edges are set. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean OR comes out with just a few moist crumbs. It’s important to not over-bake this cake, which dries it out. Begin checking it at 25 minutes. Don’t be alarmed if the cake rises extra tall around some of the edges and slightly cracks– this is normal (it’s the eggs expanding) and will flatten out as it cools.
  7. Remove from the oven, place cake on a cooling rack, and cool for only 10 minutes in the cake pan. Run a sharp knife around the edges to help release the warm cake, then quickly invert it onto a serving plate or cake stand. (If it cools completely in the pan, it’s very difficult to release from the pan.) Cake will be a little crumbly on the edges. Cool completely. I usually stick it in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
  8. Once the cake is cool, top with your choice of toppings. My suggestions are listed above this recipe. I love it with my mocha whipped cream.
  9. Mocha Whipped Cream: Using a fork, mix the espresso powder and warm water together in a very small bowl. Cool down for a few minutes. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream, sugar, cocoa powder, and espresso mixture on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, about 3-4 minutes. Medium peaks are between soft/loose peaks and stiff peaks and are the perfect consistency for topping and piping on desserts. Serve cake with whipped cream or pipe it on top. I used Ateco 849 piping tip. Decorate with raspberries and a dusting of confectioners’ sugar, if desired.
  10. Cover and store leftover cake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. Make-Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Prepare recipe through step 4 up to 1 day in advance. Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Continue with step 5. Since it’s cold, the cake batter will take a few extra minutes to bake. To freeze– invert and cool cake as directed. Wrap with 2 layers of plastic wrap and 1 layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. When ready, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature before decorating/serving. See how to freeze cakes for detailed instructions on freezing cakes.
  2. Chocolate: Use 6 ounces of “baking chocolate” bars found in the baking aisle. They’re sold in 4 ounce bars, so you’ll need 2. (You’ll have 2 ounces leftover for another use.) I prefer Bakers or Ghirardelli brands. Do not use candy melts, chocolate dipping wafers, or chocolate chips– all contain stabilizers or added ingredients which prevent them from melting into the same silky consistency needed for the base of this cake. Feel free to use bittersweet chocolate for a darker chocolate flavor. I don’t recommend white chocolate or unsweetened chocolate.
  3. Espresso Powder: I highly recommend this addition to help deepen the chocolate flavor, though you can leave it out if necessary. Espresso powder is like instant espresso, found in the coffee aisle. You can also use instant coffee granules. (Not ground coffee.)
  4. Baking Powder: This is an optional ingredient. In my recipe testing, I found a touch baking powder added *a little* extra lift to this normally flat cake. (It’s still pretty flat even with it though!) If you want to skip the leavening, leave it out.
  5. Confectioners’ Sugar: If you prefer a sweeter whipped cream, increase confectioners’ sugar to 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp; 30g).
  6. 8 Inch Cake Pan: I recommend an 8-inch cake pan. A 9-inch cake pan works, but the cake is thinner. The bake time will be a couple minutes shorter in a 9-inch cake pan.

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Keywords: flourless chocolate cake, cake, chocolate, gluten free

flourless chocolate cake

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I made this cake yesterday and the flavor is oh so decadent with the chocolate and espresso powder combined. The topping compliments the cake perfectly and makes it extra special.
    P.S. I’m eating it for breakfast

    1. Absolutely delicious and loved by all who have tried it.
      Are there any tricks to cutting the cake without it sticking to the knife? My slices are not well defined.

    2. Just baked it yesterday & ate it today. My whole family love it. So moist, fudgy, rich & yet not overwhelming at all. The cake it so addictive already on its own, the mocha whipped cream took it up a notch by helping to lightened the cake.

      Always love your recipes as usual

  2. I can’t wait to try! I need to make two because I need to feed more than 8 people. Would you suggest preparing and baking separately? Thank you!

    1. Hi Ashley, you can double this recipe, but for best taste and texture– we recommend making two separate batches of batter and combining them. An 11×7 inch pan would be best. We’re unsure of the exact bake time. Enjoy!

      1. I’ve made a few other flourless chocolate cakes but yours was the most moist! The steamy oven really helped. It was delicious and I love that you can make it ahead of time! One of the toppings I like is home made whipped cream with a few dollops of good raspberry jam in the whipped cream. Can’t wait to try the mocha whipped cream!

      2. I have been gluten free for about 6 mos. now and when I made this as a treat, my boys absolutely loved it. I made it a couple more times since everyone loved it. In fact my youngest then asked for it to be made as his birthday cake. Then my extremely persnickety brownie loving older son asked me to make it for HIS birthday cake. They both liked a peanut butter frosting but it is all so VERY rich so I only piped it on the very edge and in then in the middle (I made 2 layers) So, there you have it. A winner of a cake, gluten free or not!! Thanks so much! PS my cakes were done at the 25 min mark.

  3. Making this recipe for a second time in a week as it was such a roaring success! I made this keto by using keto chocolate and monk fruit sugar versus regular sugar. No one could tell it was keto as the espresso really amped up the chocolate flavor.

  4. Sally’s website is always my go to for any sort of baking. As like her other recipes, this one never disappoints! I follow her recipe to a T and it comes out beautiful each and every time. Pure magic!

    It’s also a low effort cake, relative to a tiered and frosted cake. So it’s fast to whip up and super impressive. Also great for my hubby who is gluten intolerant!

  5. Just made this. Was looking to make as had in restaurant and loved it. I didn’t have Espresso powder but will next time and still tastes great. I will try with baking powder next time to see if makes it better. But was great and so easy. Thank you

  6. I don’t have an 8 inch pan. Could I possibly use one 6 inch or two 6 inch pans? Thanks!

    1. Hi Brittani, you can try halving the recipe for a 6 inch pan. We’re unsure of the exact bake time though.

  7. Hi there! I was going to take the mocha whipped cream and frost a 9×13 chocolate sheet cake with it. Would I need to double the recipe to have enough to cover the whole cake?

  8. Thanks for this recipe! It’s exactly what flourless chocolate cake should be! And it satisfied my pregnancy-induced chocolate craving 🙂

  9. Can i put a layer of frosting or whipped cream in the middle and then stack two of these or is it way too rich for that?

    Huge fan of all your recipes btw.

    1. Hi Charity, We don’t recommend it. This cake is too fragile for layering.

    2. Hi, I have made this as a 2 layer cake and while rich, it seemed to work fine for me! I used a peanut butter frosting because my boys just love it and love Reese’s peanut butter cups but personally I think a single layer with whipped cream is just right—and a small slice unless you have insulin handy

  10. Hi Sally, I’m using this frosting but not this cake recipe, and I have 3 questions.
    1. I want to make it only choc, not mocha so do I just skip the espresso powder and hot water?
    2. Should I use this to layer a cake?
    3. If so, I want to layer 2 9-inch cakes should I double the recipe?
    TYSM

    1. Hi Tamara, We highly recommend the espresso powder to help deepen the chocolate flavor, though you can leave it out if necessary. We don’t recommend layering this flourless chocolate cake, but you can use this frosting between layers of another cake.

  11. This is the BEST website for baking.
    So far I made this recipe, Lemon bars with
    shortbread crust, Triple chocolate cake,
    Triple chocolate pretzel brownies.
    All come out perfect, my family loved them. Thank you!!!

    1. Thank you so much for making and trusting our recipes, Irina!

  12. My family and friends always give a positive feedback on your carrot, banana and red velvet cake recipes. We all love it!

    I will try this no flour chocolate cake. Do you recommend using dark chocolate bar instead of semi-sweet?

    1. Hi Melinda, absolutely, you can use a dark chocolate for a deeper chocolate flavor. Hope you enjoy this cake just as much as our others!

  13. This looks like a great cake option to make for my daughter’s upcoming 1st birthday. I want her to have a special birthday cake that is yummy but also want to limit sugar. Do you think this recipe would work if I reduced the sugar to 1/4 cup?

    1. Hi Lauren, you can try reducing the sugar, but it will alter the taste, texture, and structure of the cake. Let us know what you try!

  14. Hi Sally,
    Do you know the carb count for this flourless chocolate cake? I’d like to make it for my grandson who has type one diabetes.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Moria, We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients. Plus, many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients listed. However, there are many handy online calculators where you can plug in and customize your exact ingredients/brands. Readers have found this one especially helpful: https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076

      1. Thanks Trina,
        Looks like flour isn’t the only big carb factor! Guess I’ll make it another time.
        Having the nutrition tool is very handy!
        Thanks again

  15. Mmm this looks amazing! Can I use the same recipe for gluten free chocolate cupcakes instead??

    1. Hi Ashleigh, We haven’t tested this recipe as cupcakes so I’m unsure of the bake time needed, but you can certainly try. Keep your eye on them and be careful not to overbake. They will be finished when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean OR comes out with just a few moist crumbs.

  16. Yay! This was a hit with my family of which half are gluten free. It was especially nice to have a decadent dessert for EVERYONE on Mother’s Day! I live in central Washington state (at 1,200ft elevation) and needed to bake the cake an extra 13 minutes. I watched it closely and still took it out when there was a bit of batter on the tooth pick. When finished, it looked like an expensive bakery dessert. And, I enjoyed the little extra mocha whipped cream and raspberries for a yummy side treat! 🙂 Thank you.

  17. My daughter wants a cake like this for her birthday – can this be made in a number (like a 1 and a 2 for 12) silicone baking pan? If so, would it need the recipe doubleled?

    1. Hi Diana, we haven’t tested this recipe in a pan like that, and aren’t sure what size it would be, so I’m afraid we can’t guarantee it would work or that doubling it would be the right amount. This post on cake pan size conversions might help guide you a bit more. If you do try it, please report back and let us know how it went!

    1. Hi Natalie, yes, that should work just fine. Enjoy!

  18. Hi, I’ve got a steam oven with “Hot Air & Steam” function. Would that be the same as your baking instructions?
    I really wan by to try baking this cake.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Stef, We always recommend conventional settings for baking (not convection/fan). The flow of air from convection heat can cause baked goods to rise and bake unevenly and it also pulls moisture out of the oven. If you do use convection/fan settings for baking, lower your temperature by 25 degrees F and keep in mind that things may still take less time to bake.

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