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 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.
  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 (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

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 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.
  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

178 Comments

  1. I am a beginner baker. Found this recipe for my son in laws birthday cake and was super easy to follow. Steam baking was a great tip, the cake was moist, fluffy and delicious! He doesn’t care for mocha so i did simple vanilla bean whipped cream and berries and the cake was superb. I’ve baked it again since and shared with my neighbours who absolutely love you Sally 🙂

  2. No luck with this one. Cake didn’t bind together and just fell apart.

  3. I tried 4 recipes for flourless chocolate cake and this was definitely the worst one. The texture was grainy and the taste was not nearly as decadent and appetizing as the other three. I followed the recipe exactly, but will NOT be making it again. Epicurious.com, Kingarthurbaking.com and foodnetwork.com have much better recipes.

  4. Tamara Daviston says:

    Can you leave the espresso out of the whipped cream too?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Absolutely.

  5. Can this be made in a 7 inch springform pan as well? Thanks!

    1. Hi Megan, 7 inches is a bit too small.

  6. I’ve made this twice and it’s a big hit! Do you think I could make a graham cracker crust for it? I think it would awesome as a s’mores-ish cake ☺️

  7. I haven’t finished the cake- I think it’s important to advise bakers NOT to use a glass casserole pan with boiling hot water. My casserole dish just exploded into pieces.

  8. Holy Chocolate Cake Batman, this recipe is awesome! I followed it to the letter except I forgot to boil the water before putting it in the oven for steam. It still came out fabulous! My husband loved it. So rich, so chocolatey and so simple. Thanks, so glad I ran across this one!

  9. This is delicious! I was craving brownies, but didn’t feel like making a huge batch- this was a great compromise! I used a square 8 inch pan and it came out just right. I just made plain whipped cream and it was fantastic.

  10. I just made this for the first time ever with your recipe and it came out perfectly! I used about 2.5 ounces of leftover unsweetened baking chocolate and 3.5 ounces of 70% cacao chocolate and it tastes delicious. I also read previous comments and I made sure to use room temperature eggs… I wonder if that helps keep the cake from collapsing? Mine rose and fell nicely and wasn’t a bit crumbly. Another perfect recipe—I have never had a failure with you. Thanks!

  11. My chocoholic mother is gluten intolerant, and she regularly asks me to make this cake. It’s SO GOOD. She’s allergic to coffee, so I have to leave that out. We recently tried it with a little bit of raspberry extract added to plain whipped cream, and it was delicious!

  12. Delicious and pretty! I was worried I had undercooked it (toothpick came out a little wet) but after time in the fridge it was perfect. The espresso whipping cream and raspberries made the dish. thank you, Sally!

  13. I followed the recipe..no alteration in ingredients. This was delicious!! The only issue I had was the center was raw, but I think that had to do with the pan I used. Definitely hold off adding more powdered sugar to the whipped cream until you try it with the cake. I usually prefer my whipped cream sweeter, but it was PERFECT with this cake. Thanks for the recipe!!

  14. Made this for Passover and it was an unbelievable hit. I’ve made these before but this is by far and away my new all time favorite.

    It was just rich enough, not overly sweet, and very easy.

  15. This cake is a dream come true! If you follow all the steps correctly, it comes out truly delicious. Easy to make, too! Thank you Sally!

  16. Angela Laird says:

    This cake is mind blowing good like the world’s best brownie!!!

  17. I made this beauty – but made two 6” cakes for Moms on Mothers Day! Turned out perfect!!!!

  18. Amanda Bacon says:

    Hi! I love your page and use a lot if your recipes!
    I was wondering if this cake can be made into cupcakes/ small cakes using a muffin pan, so that I can make small individual cakes.
    Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Amanda, 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.

  19. Hi Sally,

    I made the mistake of not checking inventory before staring this recipe and had a moment of panic when I realized I had no white sugar in the house! I turned the pantry over looking, and found a bottle of liquid Sugar In The Raw. Out of desperation, I substituted it in for the white sugar, same quantity.

    I was really nervous about it, given the note to NOT make substitutions in this recipe. But I got really lucky, the cake was sensational in every way and had a really rich yet mellow sweetness.

    I might do it like this again, on purpose!

    Thank you!
    .

  20. I made this and it looks wonderful, but I left it out overnight. I haven’t cut into it yet. Think it’s okay to eat?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Arika, it should be fine to eat if left out overnight, but certainly use your best judgement and what you are most comfortable with. Hope you enjoyed it!

  21. Hi. How do I adjust the ingredients for 6 inch round pan?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Valerie, you can try halving the recipe for a 6 inch pan. We’re unsure of the exact bake time though.

      1. Hi Lexi. Thank you for your advice. For smaller pan; will the bake time be longer than 30mins?

      2. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Valerie, it should take just a little less time than that. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it’s done.

    2. I made this cake by halving the recipe and using a 6 inch pan. I used the toothpick test and found that it needed 35 minutes in the oven. The nice thing about the smaller pan is that the cake doesn’t sink so much when cooled.

      1. Hi. Thanks for sharing with me. I will try it soon!

  22. Made this today for my grandfather’s birthday and it was a huge hit!

  23. Hi,
    I plan on making a mousse cake in a heart shaped pan. Could I make this in a 9inch pan so it’s thinner then use that as the base and use the mousse recipe from the dark chocolate cake as the main cake to make the whole thing a gluten free mousse cake?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Oke, a 9 inch pan will work for a thinner cake — the bake time will be slightly shorter, too. You can certainly use the dark chocolate mousse cake filling as well. Hope it’s a hit!

  24. My husband is dietetic. Can I use a sweetener substitute for the sugar?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jolene! We’d love to help but we are not trained in baking with sugar substitutes. For best taste and texture (and so you don’t waste your time trying to adapt this recipe since it may not work properly), it may be more useful to find a recipe that is specifically formulated for sugar substitutes. Thank you!

  25. I’ve made this recipe twice now. Second time I switched the ingredients up a bit – used 1 1/3 stick of butter and 7 oz of chocolate and added 1/3 cup of flour, which is very much like the French moelleux au chocolat. The cake was insanely good both times – we slightly preferred it the second time round. It’s best made 8-12 hours in advance to really let the chocolate flavour deepen. Serve cold. The mocha whipped cream and raspberries are a must! Second time round I spread the mocha whipped cream all over the top of the cake and decorated with raspberries and chocolate shavings. Thanks for yet another awesome recipe Sally.

  26. Hi, do you know if you can use non-dairy butter in this recipe?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kate, we haven’t tried it ourselves, but let us know if you do!

  27. Delish! It is a dense, fudgy cake, but that is nicely offset by the wonderful mocha whipped cream and the raspberries. It was a hit!

  28. Bethany Barrios says:

    Can I use German chocolate 48% bakers brand?

    1. That shouldn’t be a problem!

  29. Really wish I knew what I did wrong. Batter looked beautiful, the roasting pan was steamy with boiled water, it went in with the parchment lining the bottom and everything greased as recommended. It’s been an hour at 350 and the middle of the cake is still sopping wet. I’m starting to think my oven is broken? Or maybe because I baked a pizza before I started my cake at 425 and then adjusted the temperature to 350, something went wrong with the temperature gauge? I am also using a stainless steel cake pan. Not sure if that makes a difference.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Michelle! So sorry you’re having trouble baking your cake. In the future, a useful tool may be an in-oven thermometer. It can help reduce headaches like these by making sure your oven the the temperature it says it is. Let us know how it turns out!

      1. Thank you for the fast response! It was user error on my end- I didn’t set my oven temperature properly like I feared. The actual cake flavor is amazing though, I can’t wait to try this again!

  30. This recipe made 6 “muffins” in a Teflon coated turnover pan (which is just a tall cupcake pan). I greased them well and lined the bottoms with 6 greased parchment rounds I cut out myself, filled and baked them in a water bath @ 350 for about 30 minutes, cooled and decorated with mocha chocolate whipped cream and raspberries. They came out easily, were delicious and perfectly moist individual servings. Will definitely make again!

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