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. which way do I place it onto the serving plate? Help, it almost out of oven!

    1. Hi Sarah! It’s easiest to invert it so it is upside down on the serving plate.

  2. margery cunningham says:

    Hello This recipe looks amazing. Although you say no substitutions I want to make it for my husbands birthday and it needs to be Keto friendly. The one issue is the chocolate. Normally I would use Lilly’s sugar free chocolate chips. Does it ruin the recipe or just make it less spectacular? It’s his 70th birthday. Thank you.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Margery, We haven’t tested this recipe using sugar free chocolate. However, it’s important to not use any chocolate chips (pure baking bars are the best) which contain stabilizers or added ingredients which prevent them from melting into the same silky consistency needed for the base of this cake.

      1. margery cunningham says:

        thank you for your prompt reply.

  3. I am not a baker, however, I really wanted to make an amazing cake for company. I purchased all the ingredients and then realized my pans were not 8 inches, but 9. I searched the comments and found someone who did it with a 9 inch pan, adding 1/10 of the ingredients (how in the world do you add 1/10 to 2/3 cup)? I did it anyway, using my best discretion. It worked! This is in my forever recipes. It was not too difficult and it turned out amazing! My guests were floored with my baking expertise (LOL!). I also made extra “normal” whipped cream and they added it to their slice of cake. I took a picture and I wish I could add this to my comment. Thank you Sally, for this forever recipe!

  4. Elizabeth Johnson says:

    I made this flourless chocolate cake for a dinner party because one of our guests had celiac disease and can’t tolerate any gluten. I followed the directions exactly and had no trouble. This cake was a huge hit with all our guests! Such rich chocolate flavor! I served with fresh (vanilla) whipped creamI will definitely make this again!

  5. Hi Sally! I’ve made this before and LOVED it and was wondering if there’s anyway to make it lactose free? I have a friend that’s gluten and dairy free and would love to make it for her!

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kristen, so happy you enjoyed this recipe! We haven’t tested a dairy free version of this cake- if you try anything let us know how it goes.

    2. Kristen – there is very little lactose in butter but if you’re worried about the small amount of milk solids you could use ghee which is clarified butter. My daughter is allergic to dairy protein and l can’t have gluten so I often bake GFDF recipes with ghee. Happy Baking!

  6. Do you think I could make two and turn them into a layered cake?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Angel, I don’t recommend it. This cake is too fragile for layering.

  7. This cake has been a real hit in my family—by popular request, I’ve made it about six times since March!! I top it with the mocha whipped cream & raspberries, as recommended, and it is delicious. I also use guittard semisweet baking chocolate bars.

  8. Jenny Robberson says:

    Anyone else have trouble with the baking time? I started checking at 25 mins and I would say I’m at least up to a total of 40 mins now, checking every 3 or so minutes. It still doesn’t seem completely set in the middle although around the edges seem done. I decided to take it out now and hope for the best, but I’m worried it still may not be fully baked in the middle. Oven temp doesn’t seem off (I just made cupcakes and they came out in expected cooking time). I **think** I followed the recipe to a T. Any thoughts??

    1. The same thing is happening to me. The edges seem done but the center is still completely liquid. I’m crossing my fingers and giving it some more time.

      1. Damn I’m having the same issue
        I made this earlier and didn’t take this long however tried it with the water bath and it’s taking forever
        Crossing fingers as this is for a friends bday 🙁

    2. I found if I move the pan of water out from under and push it off to the side with about 10 minutes left on the timer it comes out perfect!

  9. This recipe looks amazing! I’m just wondering if you could make the chocolate cake in advance and then heat up (in the oven?) before serving with cream & raspberries?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes! See the make ahead instructions in the recipe notes 🙂

  10. Vilija Govedas says:

    I don’t have a spring form pan, so I liberally sprayed an 8″ Corning ware pan with cooking spray. After several minutes of cooling the baked cake on my stove top, I placed a plate over top and inverted the pan. The cake fell out of the Corning ware with no issue.
    So, if anyone has issues with sticking, greased glass/ceramic bakeware works like a charm!

    1. I cut a circle of parchment to fit the pan and spray it only slightly with an oil spray. That works for easy removal as well.

  11. I made this for a small gathering last night as one of the guests has a gluten sensitivity. It was a huge hit with everyone! Such rich flavor and the mocha whipped cream is amazing! I will definitely make this again!

  12. Bernadette K Green says:

    Hi Sally.. I’m a new follower. I’ve wanted to make a flourless chocolate cake for years and since both my granddaughter and daughter in law are Gluten intolerant, I tried it. Everyone really loved it and it went in no time. I didn’t have a spring form pan so I just used an 9 inch pan and it turned out great. I love all of your additional tips and suggestions.

  13. Baked this a few days ago for my father’s birthday and he loved it! I topped it with chocolate ganache and the mocha whip cream. Soooo goooood!!! The only problem was that I left the roasting pan in the oven, preheated it to make dinner, and then realized that I accidentally had a steamy oven! It worked out ok, but it have me a scare. I’m so clumsy lol!

  14. Can you make cupcakes with this recipe? If so, how long for baking time?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

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

  15. I would like to try this recipe. Would whisking the eggs separately and folding them in be a good idea for lift? Or would it ruin the consistency?

    1. Hi Joni, you can certainly try it, but I don’t find that extra step necessary. The cake will likely just deflate and become dense (like it’s supposed to be!). So, again, it’s not really necessary.

  16. Hello,
    Excited to make this for a GF friend! Is the espresso powder called for in the recipe instant espresso powder? Or can I use the espresso grind coffee I use in my espresso machine?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Amanda, Espresso powder is like instant espresso, found in the coffee aisle. You can also use instant coffee granules. (Not ground coffee.)

      1. Thank you!

  17. Love the texture and ease of making this. My only comment would be that it didn’t quite pack the chocolatey punch I was hoping for. Can only assume this is because I couldn’t source espresso powder so I had to use espresso instant granules in a little water. Also I would normally use a dark chocolate but as the recipe mentions semi sweet, I did a mix of quality milk and dark.
    What do you use specifically? Maybe my cocoa % wasn’t right.
    Absolutely love your recipes and website! Big fan 🙂 Xx

  18. I tried this recipe with lakanto monk fruit sweetener and swerve confectioners sugar for both the mocha whipped cream topping and drizzling to make it low carb or keto. It turned out really good as well. Thank you for sharing. i need to work on my piping though.

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