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:

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

  • 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

183 Comments

  1. I live in Australia and don’t know what Espresso powder is. The only thing I can think of is instant coffee powder. Is that the same?

    1. Hi Sabrina! They’re different but you can use instant coffee instead of espresso powder if needed. (Or leave it out!)

  2. I am SO excited to try this recipe! And if my drooling mouth weren’t motivation enough, my teenage son with recently diagnosed celiac puts this over the top.
    One question – I can’t get espresso powder where I live…what can I substitute for it, hopefully without compromising texture or taste?

    1. Hi Miriam! You can leave out the espresso powder if necessary. But you can also use instant coffee granules instead. (Not ground coffee.)

  3. This cake looks awesome and I am going to make it very soon! My only reservation is getting it out of the pan! The video did not show that step and I am concerned that as the cake does not seem to fill the pan that it might fall apart when you invert and it drops onto the rack?

    1. Hi Janet! We were filming so much this day that we didn’t catch inverting it, but it’s not too complicated at all. Like a pineapple upside down cake, you invert it onto a serving plate or cake stand, not the cooling rack. Much easier than you think! Make sure you grease the pan as instructed, use the greased parchment round, and run a knife around the edges to help release it. 🙂

      1. OK. Thanks!

  4. Is it just me or is everybody else getting a lot of ads during the videos? I got four and a video that is just under four minutes long. I don’t recall having all of these ads in the past.

    1. Hi Susan! On the video that plays on my website? There should only be 1 ad in the beginning that you are able to skip after it plays for a few seconds. I just watched it and I only got that 1. Let me look into this though. Thank you!

      1. Hi Sally,

        Same thing here- ads repeatedly interrupted the video. Celebrating Valentine’s Day a bit on the late side cause I was out of town; can’t wait to make it for my kids tonight!

  5. Sally;
    Hi,I am going to make your flourless chocolate cake at the end of this month after I buy the ingredients.Do you know what the nutrictional information is for your cake recipe?Can I substitute sugar in your cake recipe with swerve or stevia or coconut sugar?I am a diabetic and I want to stay away from sugar.
    Kim

    1. Hi Kim! I haven’t tested this recipe with sugar substitutes. I’m unsure of the nutritional info of this recipe, but there are many great online calculators like this one that you can use: https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp

  6. Hi I know you ask for no substituting. Would using oil instead of butter be a very big issue? From my understanding on some of you recipes oil is used in chocolate cake for a more moist cake.

    1. Hi Soula, you can definitely try it. I just fear the cake would taste oily without flour to help soak some of it up. It’s also difficult to fully mix oil with chocolate.

  7. This looks like the chocolate cake of my dreams! I am so excited to try it! I also love how the ingredients are so simple and everything I have on hand and made in one bowl. Can’t wait to try this soon!

    1. I hope you love this cake, Ikhlas! Happy baking 🙂

  8. IWhat changes are needed for making this cake At my elevation of 7100feet? Live in Colorado! It would be great to advise in certain recipes. Thank you!

    1. Hi Nancy! I wish I could help, but I have no experience baking at high altitude. This recipe might be fine as written, but you may want to consider using the optional baking powder. Additionally, I know some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

  9. When lining the cake pan, do you only need to line the bottom? Or do you have to line the bottom and sides of the cake pan?

    1. Hi Jenna! Use a parchment paper round for just the bottom. Trace the pan and cut the round from a large piece of parchment paper– if you have an extra second, you can see me do that in the video tutorial.

  10. Gosh, Sally, this looks A-MAZING! My mouth begun watering when I saw the first picture, and then turned into a complete waterworks by the time I reached the option for salted caramel drizzle. I mean, seriously, a slice of this cake served with caramel and a scoop of ice cream could make me satisfied for life! Well, at least until you post your next recipe 😉

    1. It’s truly a delicious and decadent dessert! If you try it, let me know what you think- salted caramel not optional 😉

  11. Hi Sally, could this recipe be used to make chocolate cupcakes, and if so, how many and what baking temp? Will the cupcake liners also have to be filled only 1/2 way like your moist chocolate cupcakes?

    1. Hi Amanda! I haven’t tried it, so I’m unsure how many this recipe would yield or how long they’d take. I would grease the cupcake liners. They won’t rise, so you could fill them higher than halfway. Let me know what you try!

  12. Has anyone actually made this cake? Would like to see a review or two before I try it.

  13. That looks delish!!! Could I ask, is the weight of eggs important? I live in Singapore and the eggs here might not be the same size as the ones in the US?

    1. Hi Nicole! 1 large egg weighs about 2 ounces/58g, so you can use that as your guide.

  14. This cake is soooo delicious! I followed this recipe exactly and it turned out amazing!!! Thank you for this recipe and for all the details to help it turn out perfectly.

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed this cake, Amber! Thank you for your positive feedback 🙂

  15. Hi Sally, I used a 9-inch cake pan coz I didn’t have an 8-inch and it was thin like a pancake/pizza. But the taste was definitely spot on. Would you recommend a loaf or cupcake pan as alternative maybe? Thanks.

    1. Hi Jeannie! Definitely expect a thinner cake than pictured. You could definitely try a loaf pan, but it wouldn’t really rise. Same with the cupcake pan. I’m unsure of those bake times, but use a toothpick to test for doneness.

  16. Hi Sally 🙂
    This cake looks amazing! Wanna try making it for my office as a little Valentines surprise. I wonder tough instead of making the cake in the oven would it be possoible to bake the cake in a steamer with the steaming mode? Would that be the same effect as having water in the oven or would the steamer make the cake to wet? Thank you for your help 🙂

    1. Hi Bianca! I honestly haven’t tried it, so I can’t say for sure. But I fear the cake would simply become too wet.

  17. Trying this tomorrow for Valentine’s Day. What kind of cocoa powder do you use? Can I use Hershey’s special dark?

    Thank you!

    Ps. I have made many of your recipes. All keepers!

    1. Hershey’s Special Dark would be great in this cake! I used Hershey’s regular natural.

  18. Hi Sally. I was wondering how you would bake this if you wanted to half the recipe. What type of pan would you recommend?

    1. Hi Grace! You could try a 6 inch cake pan. I’m unsure of the exact bake time though.

  19. Hi there, would it make a difference if I used a spring form pan instead of an 8 inch cake pan?

    1. Hi Amber, an 8-inch springform pan would be just fine.

  20. I’m going to try these as cupcakes. Do you suggest I grease the cupcake papers? Also, I don’t have baking chocolate, but I do have nestle simply delicious 3 ingredient dark morsels. Do you think I can replace the baking bars with it?

    1. Hi Jessica! I haven’t tested this recipe as cupcakes or with those particular morsels, but you can certainly try both. Yes, I recommend greasing the cupcake liners.

  21. Can a sugar substitute be used in stead of real sugar?

    1. I haven’t tested it. Let me know if you do!

  22. I was just looking through flourless chocolate cake recipes to make so the timing is perfect!!! Would it be ok to let this cool room temp and serve room temp. And even store for a couple days room temp? Also, when you invert it, do you re-invert so the top side is up or do you keep the bottom side up? Thanks so much!

    1. You can serve this cake at room temperature. The bottom fo the cake will then be the top of the cake after inverting. 🙂

  23. Hi Sally! Could i do this recipe with a 9 inch pan?

    1. Hi Grace! 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.

  24. This cake looks incredible Sally!!! And you made it look so pretty. Happy Valentine’s Day!!! xoxo

    1. Thank you so much, Rebecca! Hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day 🙂

  25. It was easy to make and turned out perfectly. The only problem was that it had a coffee taste. I made the whipped cream chocolate whipped cream instead of mocha. It would taste amazing with some vanilla ice cream or milk.

    1. Thanks for giving this recipe a try, Zoe!

  26. I made this cake for Valentine’s day and it was gone within minutes at my work! You’re right, it is dense and very fudgey! I decorated it with fresh berries and everyone asked when I could make it again!

    1. So sweet! I’m thrilled it was a hit at work, Claire 🙂

  27. I made this for Valentine’s Day for my husband and I and it was delicious. I loved that it was one bowl and didn’t require whipping egg whites. I opted for the raspberries and mocha whip cream and it was a great combination. Thank you Sally!

    1. I’m thrilled you both enjoyed this cake, Jen! Thanks for your positive feedback 🙂

  28. I think this is a great recipe however I found the coffee taste a little heavy. I think I may try it with only one teaspoon next time. Otherwise, decadent, moist and so flavorful with the berries.

    1. Thanks so much for your positive feedback, Devon! Next time you can omit the espresso powder if you prefer 🙂

  29. This recipe is SUPERB. 100% make again. Thanks again for the great recipe Sally! 🙂

    1. Love reading this, Janie! Thanks for your positive feedback 🙂

  30. Looks delicious! Does the whipped cream get runny over the leftovers?

    1. Not really. It’s pretty stable! Feel free to only serve the whipped cream with slices and keep it in a separate closed container in the refrigerator for leftover slices.

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