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

183 Comments

  1. Deborah Shanks says:

    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.

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe, Deborah! Your mini cakes sound adorable 🙂

    2. Deborah, would you share the baking temperature and time you used with the muffin tin? I attempted baking this cake in a muffin tin after making it successfully (twice) in an 8” round, but my mini-cakes were crisp and dry on the outside (almost like a shell) and slightly under done in the center. I baked at 350F for a total of 23 min (checking at 15, 20, 22, and 23 min) with the water bath on my lowest rack.

  2. 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.

    1. I’m thrilled that you enjoyed it so much, Shawna!

  3. Thank you! This was the perfect end to a Valentine dinner ❤️.
    Can’t Wait to make it again!

    1. Thank you so much for your positive feedback, Ramona!

  4. 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!

    1. 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 🙂

  5. 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 🙂

    1. I’m so glad you both enjoyed this recipe, Elissa!

  6. 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…

  7. 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?

    1. 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.

  8. Hi Sally!
    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!

    1. Hi Billie, You can certainly try it! You can read exactly how I set up a water bath in my Classic Cheesecake Recipe.

  9. 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

  10. I am planning on making this cake for a friend’s birthday; however, the cake will need to sit out for a few hours before eating. I am worried that the whipped cream will melt – would you recommend using a different type of frosting?

    1. Hi Hannah, Traditional buttercream is way too sweet for this cake. You could try Swiss Meringue Buttercream, but honestly the easiest thing to do would be to make the whipped cream, keep it in the fridge, and then just serve it in a bowl with the cake when it’s time to eat it. You can also just skip it completely – it’s amazing all on it’s own!

  11. Have you explored at all any of the no-calorie sweeteners for this recipes? I’ve been on a new journey the last 16 months with good success, and we love to entertain, which means dessert after dinner! Using Swerve would allow me to stay on course, and this recipe would be ideal for our gluten-free friend. Thx!

    1. Hi Diana! I haven’t, sorry! Let me know if you test anything. 🙂

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. Hi, Sally. What are your thoughts on replacing the sugar in this recipe with coco sugar?

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

  15. Has anyone done this in a bundt pan? Thoughts? Looks like a wonderful recipe. Can’t wait to try it!

  16. Hi! Would this recipe work if I used unsweetened Bakers chocolate and added 1tbsp of sugar per ounce of chocolate?

    1. Hi KJ! I’m sure it would, but I haven’t tested tested it. Let me know what you try!

  17. Is it possible to double this recipe and bake it in a 9×13-inch pan, then simply cut it into squares?

    1. 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.

  18. 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?

    Thanks!

    1. 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!

  19. Hi Sally, made the flourless chocolate cake this am. It is outstanding. Advised my friends to come to my home this afternoon for a taste but worried my husband and myself might eat it all! So easy to make that I might have to make another. Found the espresso powder at Williams and Sonoma which is only 5 minutes from my home. Easy to make for company at the last minute. I added the baking powder for that extra lift!!!

  20. Great recipe, tastes awesome and it doesn’t look or feel like your standard bleh grocery store GF cake. I used espresso grounds instead of powder. I didn’t notice any grittiness, but if you do sub, make sure it’s extra fine ground (as espresso should be).

    I did this in a bundt pan successfully-ish, here’s some notes:
    – Instead of lining with parchment: Butter the pan well, throw in some cocoa powder, shake it around until the cocoa has covered all surfaces, then tip out the extra
    – Pour in your batter and bake as directed, mine was ready at 28 minutes

    The release was okay, it left a little bit of the exterior behind making the top a little rough, but that’s what the icing is for right?

  21. Sherri McNiff says:

    So amazingly good. Very rich – a small piece was enough for this chocoholic. Whole family loved it.

  22. Hi Sally! I can’t wait to make this! Would you recommend adding gelatin to the mocha whipped cream to help maintain structure or should it be fine without?

    1. Hi Julie! I’ve never added it and have never had a problem. Feel free to make any changes you’d like.

  23. Kathy Soury says:

    This looks beautiful and yummy. Thinking of making it for Passover. I’ve made another one but preparing the pan a bit tedious. Being this is flourless it works for Passover.

  24. Caitlin Collier says:

    Sally,
    This is the perfect “company chocolate cake”! I easily had all the ingredients on hand to prepare on a whim. I followed the recipe precisely using bittersweet chocolate and it was absolutely divine!!! I made a chocolate ganache to go on top and served with vanilla gelato! The whole cake was gone in one night!

  25. Can this recipe be made in a 8 inch springform pan or will the batter leak out?
    cant wait to try it for the holidays.

    1. Should be just fine!

  26. We made this today and it tasted amazing! It slices perfectly and has a rich chocolate taste. Thank you for the recipe, Sally!

  27. kathy soury says:

    Hi Sally, how far ahead can you make this? I need it for the first night of Passover, Wednesday night. Thank you.

    1. Hi Kathy, You can store the cake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or see the make ahead instructions in the recipe notes.

  28. great recipe, tried it twice, but the second time I beat the yolks and whites separate and also split the sugar accordingly . it is even better !

  29. I can’t wait to try this recipe for Passover! I’m making several to share with family, and going to omit the espresso powder for the one going to a house with a 3 year-old. I see in the notes that it can be taken out – but would you replace it with an additional 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder or completely omit?

    1. Hi Brian! You can completely omit it.

    2. Hi Brian, You can leave the espresso powder out without making any other changes or replacing it with anything. Enjoy!

      1. Thank you!!

  30. Stephanie C says:

    I just made this cake today and it was TO DIE FOR! I chose to make cupcakes with the batter (instead of a full sized cake), and used paper liners, baked for around 16-18 minutes at 350 degrees (I know all ovens are different). I checked them after 10 and they were still completely runny. Another 6-8 mins and they were great. Also followed the steamy oven suggestion. Absolutely delicious and so easy! :)))))

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