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.
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 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!
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.
- Prepare an 8-inch round cake pan. (A 9-inch cake pan works, but the cake is thinner.) Always line your round pans with parchment paper rounds before adding the batter. Grease the pan, 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.
- Melt chocolate and butter together.
- Whisk in the sugar, espresso powder, and vanilla then whisk in the eggs.
- Whisk in the dry ingredients and pour batter into cake pan.
- 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.
- Bake in the steamy oven. Takes about 30 minutes.
- 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.
- Cool completely. Just stick it in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Decorate and serve!
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.
3 Success Tips (Don’t Skip These)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- top with chocolate ganache or even my red wine chocolate ganache
- drizzle with salted caramel or pipe salted caramel frosting
- decorate with fresh berries
- pipe strawberry buttercream frosting
- serve with homemade strawberry sauce or raspberry sauce
- add a dollop of regular whipped cream
- drizzle with melted peanut butter (DO IT!)
Flourless Chocolate Cake
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 3 hours (includes cooling)
- Yield: serves 8
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
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.
- 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
- 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 parchment paper rounds, then grease the parchment paper. Parchment paper helps the cakes seamlessly release from the pans. (If it’s helpful, see this parchment paper rounds for cakes video & post.) The cake WILL stick unless it’s lined and generously greased. (Trust me!)
- 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.
- 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).
- Pour and spread batter into prepared cake pan.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cover and store leftover cake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- 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.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): 8-Inch Round Pan | Glass Mixing Bowls | Whisk | Cooling Rack | Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand) | Ateco 849 | Fine Mesh Sieve
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Confectioners’ Sugar: If you prefer a sweeter whipped cream, increase confectioners’ sugar to 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp; 30g).
- 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
Reader Comments & Reviews
Hi Sally, two questions: If I were to use this recipe to make cupcakes, do you know how many that would yield? Would I be able to replace the eggs with applesauce for an eggless option?
Hi Jacqui! I’m not entirely sure, sorry. The base of this flourless cake are the eggs, so I don’t recommend any substitutes. This wouldn’t be the ideal recipe for making eggless!
Is it possible to double this recipe and bake it in a 9×13-inch pan, then simply cut it into squares?
Hi Erin, You can double the 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.
Hi, Sally. What are your thoughts on replacing the sugar in this recipe with coco sugar?
Hi Tricia! You can definitely try using coconut sugar instead of regular. Let me know how it turns out!
Hi Sally. Made this cake today, using regular bittersweet chocolate and Swerve granular sugar. It is fabulous! The only thing I would advise for those using this, is cook the cake an extra 2-3 minutes.Swerve has a tendency to need longer cooking. I cooked this the full 30 minutes. There were some crumbs on the toothpick, so I removed it. It’s gooey in the center. So, I think adding a couple of mins will help. Next time I’ll try it with sugar free chocolate and let you know how it turns out. Thx!
Followed the recipe to the detail… This was the most incredibly delicious, moist, tender, chocolatey cake without being too sweet!! WOW. Kept it in the fridge in air-tight tupperware for three days and it didn’t lose it’s moisture. Heated it in the oven before serving (therefore just spooned dollops of the espresso whipped cream on top) and it was heaven on earth.
A note on the espresso powder… I couldn’t find any at the grocery store, but just asked for some used grounds in a to go cup from my neighbourhood coffee shop. Followed this recipe and the powder came out perfectly.
Thank you for this recipe! I absolutely love it. I have made it twice, it is absolutely perfect. The only thing I do differently is I don’t refrigerate it, it ruins that amazing fudgy texture and makes it super dense
This recipe looks amazing and would love to try it for my chocoholic dad! I have a very small oven and likely no room to put a pan with water below the cake. Would it be possible to bake this in a water bath instead? Thanks in advance!
Hi Billie, You can certainly try it! You can read exactly how I set up a water bath in my Classic Cheesecake Recipe.
I’m excited to try this recipe. I’m wondering if the recipe can be doubled, and if so, what size pan should be used?
Hi Anna! You can double the 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.
This cake is amazing!!!! Super chocolately. Doing the mocha whipped cream is a MUST!!! the contrast in flavor is heaven!! I love flourless cakes! This one goes on my special recipes book. Thank you Sally…
Thank you for this amazing recipe! I made this cake for my husband on Valentine’s Day and he LOVED it!
We found the cake to be even better the next day 🙂
Hi Sally, lately there’s been a serious baking drought in my house. My daughter moved back from Colorado and has decided to lower her sugar intake. Youngest son was on a wrestling team for the past 3 months, and the coach insisted on banning sugar. Bummer. Well, the season ended yesterday and we celebrated with this cake! My little guy, (well, not so little, he’s 15), asked where this recipe came and if this was easy to make, and when I responded, he said, “Tell Sally I applaud her for this one!” I packed 2 pieces in my older son’s lunch to share with his EMT partner, figured they’d need this for a 24 hr shift, and he sheepishly admitted to eating both pieces. Suffice to say we loved this! BTW, I saved the boiling water step by placing a pan of water in the oven while it was pre-heating – multi-tasking to help save the environment! Thanks for a yummy recipe; I have a feeling the little guy is going to try out his newly found baking skills!
Loved reading your kind words, Lisa! Thrilled this was a hit with your family- what a way to celebrate the end of your son’s wrestling season 🙂
Thank you! This was the perfect end to a Valentine dinner ❤️.
Can’t Wait to make it again!
I made this for my dad’s Valentine’s Birthday. It is absolutely delicious and so easy to make! Your instructions and tips are always spot on and so easy to follow. Thank you! I’ll definitely be making this cake again.
Superb, so rich and full of chocolate. An excellent dessert for diabetics as carb count is low for dessert. I made in 12 muffin pan so could control portion size and freeze easily. Thrilled to find something so delicious.
Looks delicious! Does the whipped cream get runny over the leftovers?
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.
This recipe is SUPERB. 100% make again. Thanks again for the great recipe Sally! 🙂
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.
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!
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!
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.
This cake looks incredible Sally!!! And you made it look so pretty. Happy Valentine’s Day!!! xoxo
Hi Sally! Could i do this recipe with a 9 inch pan?
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.
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!
You can serve this cake at room temperature. The bottom of the cake will then be the top of the cake after inverting. 🙂
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?
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.
Hi there, would it make a difference if I used a spring form pan instead of an 8 inch cake pan?
Hi Sally. I was wondering how you would bake this if you wanted to half the recipe. What type of pan would you recommend?
Hi Grace! You could try a 6 inch cake pan. I’m unsure of the exact bake time though.
Trying this tomorrow for Valentine’s Day. What kind of cocoa powder do you use? Can I use Hershey’s special dark?
Ps. I have made many of your recipes. All keepers!
Hershey’s Special Dark would be great in this cake! I used Hershey’s regular natural.
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.
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?
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.
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?
Hi Miriam! You can leave out the espresso powder if necessary. But you can also use instant coffee granules instead. (Not ground coffee.)