Flourless Chocolate Cake (With Mocha Whipped Cream)

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 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, 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 roasting pan or dish 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:

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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

  • 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 (28g) 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 roasting pan or baking dish on the bottom oven rack. 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

149 Comments

  1. Great recipe. We made with 1 tsp coffee granules and chopped up part of an Easter bunny and still turned out fabulous. Sally’s recipes always turn out great for us.

  2. Mine turned out like a very decadent and delicious brownie. It did seem to rise a decent amount. The only downside is that I could NOT get this cake out of the pan in one piece, but we enjoyed it layered with the whipped cream & raspberries anyway!!

  3. A half recipe works perfectly for a 6 inch cake! No change in bake time or anything. Perfect for only a couple of people. I used a combination of ghiradelli dark chocolate and Hershey sweet because that’s all I had and it worked great! Topped with berries and vanilla frozen yogurt 🙂

  4. Hi Sally, the recipe sounds amazing, can’t wait to try it out! Have a question for you: could I divide the cake into two layers for adding a layer of frosting, or would that break the cake? Thanks!!

    1. I don’t recommend it. This cake is too fragile for layering and the layers would be extremely thin.

  5. I made this recipe into cupcakes and they turned out beautifully! I followed the recipe, spread the batter into 12 greased muffin cups, and cooked at 350°F for 25-30 minutes. They were wet and “raw” until the last 5 minutes; they then puffed up, cracked on top, and the toothpick finally came out clean. After they cooled, the cupcakes flattened out and the cracks disappeared. This recipe results in a rich, fudgey, dense, brownie-cake. I used mine to build a cake volcano (for a gender reveal) and didn’t use any frosting. They were flat & structurally-sound (perfect for stacking) but also chocolatey & feakin delicious. Thanks again, Sally and team!!

  6. This tasted terrible and the consistency was like undercooked cake. I followed the directions exactly. Yuck…garbage.

  7. Kristina Roberts says:

    Today I made this recipe for the second time. I doubled the recipe today and baked in a 10 in spring form pan. I’ve made a recipe almost the same as this for years but can’t find the website and recipe I used to use. I have never used the steam in the oven. Since it’s worked for me without doing that in the past. It’s definitely even better the second day as it’s had time to set. I would describe as more of a cross between the texture of a brownie and a cheesecake. I also put a ganache on the top but would like to try the mousse one day. Everyone I’ve ever made it for LOVES it! I do cut the sugar back to 1/2 cup per recipe instead of 3/4 out of preference. This is my go to “gluten free” Chocolate cake! So decedent! Thank you!

  8. Hi Sally, greetings from Argentina! Made this today and the result was sooo decadent, will definitely make again anytime soon. For anyone wondering about larger pans: I used 9″ (22cm) adding +10% all ingredients. Baking time is tricky, mine took almost 45′ at 355ºF (180ºC) -with only 30′ was too undercooked in the middle. Thanks!

  9. Milena Georgieva says:

    I made this chocolate cake using baking powder and topping it with salted caramel and roasted almonds and it was super good. The chocolate and the salted caramel completed very well each other. The different tastes revealed very smoothly in the mouth and they didn’t overpowered each other. In the second day the cakewas a little harder and less moist though.

  10. Made this for my sister’s birthday and it was sooo good. Super good frozen too and gets nice and chewy.

  11. Loved this. Made it in two small 4″ spring form pans as gifts and then made two “cupcakes” to keep for us. Huge hit!

  12. Katherine Martin says:

    This looks delicious! Can it be made with Splenda??

  13. Chef approved! I made this for my mom yesterday for Mother’s Day. We had to follow social distancing, so we wore masks to protect our parents and didn’t eat while there. I heard from my chef trained brother today that this recipe is a keeper and he was amazed how moist it was. My husband said it has “intense” flavor. High praise indeed, from him.

  14. Can I substitute coconut sugar for the granulated sugar in this recipe?

    1. Hi Erin, You can definitely try using coconut sugar instead of regular. Let me know how it turns out!

  15. Tricia Strong says:

    Can I add some pureed raspberries to the cake batter? If so how much?

    1. I don’t recommend it unless you’d like to cut back on the eggs, butter, or chocolate. Raspberries would create a very wet batter and the texture would be off. If you try anything, let me know how it goes.

  16. I made this for my partner’s birthday and it was incredible! Followed the recipe exactly (did not add baking powder, used organic cane sugar and kosher salt) and used an 8″ pan. I did have to add about 5 minutes to the baking time, but the cake turned out perfectly. Topped it with the mocha whipped cream and raspberries; surrounded the cake with strawberries.

    I will definitely make this again and will try some different topping combinations. It was way easier than making cheesecake and so satisfying! Thanks for a great recipe!

  17. Hi Sally,
    I’ve made many of your desserts in the past, all to great success. My question you is, I was wondering if you know of any sugar alternatives. My grandfather really wants some cake, but he is a diabetic. Do you have any suggestions of a substitute?

    1. Hi Jacob, I wish I could help but I don’t have any experience with low or no sugar baking, or sugar substitutes in baking. I recommend finding recipes that are formulated for sugar substitutes so as not to ruin the recipe or waste your time/ingredients.

    2. Hi Sally & Jacob, I have just made my third cake in as many weeks, it really is sooo good and I like to shrare it. Jacob, on my second cake I subbed monkfruit granules for the sugar, the cake turned out just like the first though I did notice that it was just slightly gritty in texture I guess the monkfruit doesn’t dissolve quite like sugar does. It tasted great other than that, there are 0 carbs or claories in the monkfruit sweetner and it really does taste like sugar.

  18. Austria Azaceta says:

    Hi Sally!
    I recently made this cake & it as absolutely decadent!! I followed the recipe exactly as written including the baking powder cause I was using a 9in pan since that’s what I have.
    So rich & chocolatey & not too sweet at all. I flavored my whipped cream with some strawberry emulsion & decorated with fresh strawberries & powdered sugar. It was as pretty as it was yummy. I will be making it again this weekend for my mom. Thanks!!

  19. Can this be doubled or 1.5x and made in a 9×13-inch pan? How long would I have to bake it, and would the water-bath still be required? Thanks!

    1. Hi Erin, you can double or 1.5x this recipe, but for best taste and texture– I recommend making two separate batches of batter and combining them. An 11×7 inch pan would be best. I’m unsure of the exact bake time. I still recommend the water bath.

  20. Thank you for yet another amazing recipe! I made this cake along with the mocha whipped cream for my dad’s birthday and it was quickly devoured.

    For those looking to make the recipe, I started checking the cake at 25 minutes and then again at 30. I had to bake mine for an additional 6 minutes (36 mins total) until the toothpick came out with a moist crumb.

    Thanks again Sally!

  21. Really amazing cake!! Soo good. The only change I made was that I used the grounds from a Lavazza espresso coffee pod because we didn’t have instant espresso / coffee granules. It was just the littlest bit gritty but it added a lovely dark, bitter, dimension.

    Also found the mocha whipped cream a bit too rich with the cake, but oh my it was wonderful on its own. Like eating milky coffee clouds.

    Will definitely be making the cake again.

  22. Hi Sally, Have tried many of your recipes and all have worked out great! Thankyou! I want to try this recipe but I dont have an oven that can fit in two racks….what can i do about the steamy oven bit?

    1. Hi Bernice! You can pour the water into a baking pan set next to the cake instead.

  23. Hi Sally,

    Due to dietary restrictions, I usually use a commercial egg replacer in almost all my baking recipes with success – do you think that would work here?

    Thanks.. I can’t wait to try this out..

    1. Hi Resh, I have not tested this recipe with an egg replacement so I’m unsure of the results. If interested you can browse all of my egg-free baking recipes.

  24. Absolutely FABULOUS recipe. Follow the directions exactly as written and you will have the most beautifully rich, moist cake.

  25. I made this cake twice over the weekend as it was THAT amazing!! Honestly, it was restaurant quality and all my friends and family loved it as much as I did! Thanks so much Sally for such a perfect recipe!! Will be definitely trying your other recipes very soon!
    Cheers,
    Sandy
    Melbourne-Australia

  26. Michelle Mardegian says:

    Hi,
    I have been trying some keto and vegan recipes, mainly looking for lower sugar/ glycemic index, healthier alternative foods. Some one asked if this recipe for flourless chocolate cake could be made with a sugar substitute, I am able to say “yes, it can!”.
    I used the same amount of granulated xylitol for the sugar. I otherwise followed the directions exactly, adding the baking powder too. The cake was very good, and as others have mentioned, even better the next day.
    I had no trouble getting the cake out of the 8″ pan using veg shortening and parchment. There was a large central crack, that in a small area went right through the cake; whipped cream and berries covered it nicely 🙂 I wonder if there is a connection with the crack and the baking powder??? Next try I will leave the baking powder out.
    I like the size of the cake as now it is only my husband and me to serve. I put 1/3 in the freezer for another time.
    Michelle

  27. Made this for my dad’s birthday and fathers day celebration and it was a HIT! My dad loves a good flourless chocolate cake and he and my whole family loved it! So chocolatey and delicious! I used a 9″ pan and read the comments before and someone else had too and said they added 10% more of each ingredient- that did the trick!!!! Mine was a little gooey at 30 minutes so next time I will keep it in the oven for 2-5 more minutes! Can’t wait to try it again!!!

  28. This was incredible! Very rich and chocolatey. Made it for Father’s Day and followed the recipe to the letter. Served with the mocha whipped cream which was also wonderful. We were fighting over the last couple slices!

  29. I made this recipe for a birthday cake today. Used 1.5 of the recipe and used a 9.5 springform pan & baked it for 40 mins. Turned out perfectly. Espresso whip cream was delicious!

  30. I’m super sensitive to caffeine, and I want to feed this to little kids (youngest is 15 months). Should I omit the espresso powder?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jennie, you can certainly leave out the espresso powder if you’d like. No other changes needed.

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