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This flourless chocolate cake recipe has only 5 ingredients! It is super light and airy and not dense like other recipes. Even without the flour, this easy cake is still fluffy, spongey, and delicious-it’s almost like magic! You will love this gluten free chocolate cake!
You may have your doubts about how good this cake is- I mean cake without flour? Blasphemy.
But once you make this cake, I BET you will change your mind. The first time I made it I had my doubts too. In pastry school we made our fair share of cakes but never made a flourless cake, so I was skeptical. After I took that first bite though- I hooked! The cake is super fluffy and light and has a rich chocolate flavor. It’s not dense like some other flourless chocolate cakes.
What gives this cake its light and airy texture are the whipped eggs whites that are then folded into the chocolate mixture. They help the cake rise in the oven and then when the cake comes out it sinks slightly to create this crackled chocolate crispy top.
While this may be the only gluten-free cake recipe on my site you can always substitute 1:1 gluten free flour for my 6 inch chocolate cake recipe, chocolate bundt cake, or my one bowl chocolate cake.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- When you dig into this cake, expect a light, fluffy, and spongey cake. This is not dense at all!
- You can use either semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate.
- The cake has a rustic crackled crunchy meringue top when it comes out of the oven.
- It’s the perfect decadent cake to make for Passover.
- It can be made dairy free using Earth Balance and dairy free chocolate.
- It uses simple ingredients and is easy to make!
Ingredients you need
- Unsalted Butter- You’ll melt the butter with the chocolate
- Semi Sweet Chocolate– You can use either semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate for this. You can even use chocolate chips.
- Instant coffee– For a deeper flavor. Sub vanilla extract if you dont want to use it. You can also add some espresso powder in more a deeper flavor, try 1/2 tsp.
- Granulated Sugar– The sugar is mixed with the egg whites to create the meringue that lifts the cake.
- Eggs– The egg whites and yolks need to be separated. In this case, cold eggs whip better than ones at room temperature.
Type of chocolate
I use 8 ounces of semi sweet chocolate in this recipe. You can either use a baking bar or chocolate chips. I don’t recommend using milk chocolate for this recipe because it would be too sweet. Any dark chocolate or bittersweet is fine too but it wont be as sweet.
The best way to measure out the chocolate is if you have a kitchen scale. If you don’t, the amount you need is about 1 1/3rd cups of chopped chocolate or chocolate chips.
How to make flourless chocolate cake
Prep your pan: This cake is made in a 9″ springform pan. Line it with parchment paper or spray with baking spray. If you don’t have a springform pan don’t worry! You can make this in a 8″ or 9″ round cake pan or even a disposable cake tin! I do prefer to line it with parchment for any tin you use, it makes the clean up a breeze!
Melt the butter and the chocolate: In a microwave safe large bowl combine the butter and chocolate. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between. Let the chocolate cool for 5 minutes. You can also melt the butter and chocolate over a double boiler.
Separate the eggs: Carefully separate the egg yolks from the eggs whites in two small bowls making sure not to get any yolk into the eggs whites. If even the tiniest amount of fat gets into the whites, it will stop the whites from whipping.
Make the chocolate mixture: Add all the egg yolks and tbsp black coffee into the chocolate mixture and stir to combine. I usually use 1/4-1/2 tsp instant coffee with 1 tbsp hot water.
Whip the egg whites: Next whip the whites in an electric mixer ( either a stand or hand mixer) fitted with the whisk attachment on high speed. Slowly add in the sugar around the edges of the bowl. Whip until stiff peaks. Stiff peaks hold their shape and soft peaks will flop all the way over.
Fold the egg whites: Using a spatula, fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture 1/3rd at a time. Gently fold until there are no white streaks before adding more. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to get all the chocolate.
Bake the cake: Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes. The cake is done when the sides start to pull away from the pan and the top looks a little crackled. It will deflate once you take it out of the oven and will create beautiful cracks. The center of the cake might still be a little jiggly and thats ok!
Tips on separating eggs:
- Be really careful when separating the egg yolks from the whites. The whites will not whip if even the smallest amount of yolk gets into the white. If it does, you will have to start over again.
- You will need 3 bowls. 1 is your mixing bowl and 2 are small bowls.
- Crack the egg, and pour it into your hand. Let the white drip from your fingers into one small bowl. Place the yolk into the other small bowl.
- Pour the white into the mixing bowl and then repeat the process one at a time. Pour the egg white into the mixing bowl only after ensuring that no small yolk parts got mixed in.
- This ensures that if you get a small amount of yolk into one of your whites, you wont ruin the rest of the egg whites you already cracked!
- You can also crack the egg and separate the yolk from the white by pouring it back and forth between the cracked egg shells but this give you more of a chance of piercing the yolk and it running loose.
Tips on whipping egg whites
- When whipping the egg whites don’t dump all the sugar in at once, it will be too heavy for the whites to whip up all that sugar at one time. Instead slowly add the sugar over 1-2 minutes.
- Whip until stiff peaks form about 2-3 minutes. A stiff peak is when you take the whip off the mixer and turn it upside down and the egg white stands up stiffly without drooping all the way down. Check the picture above for what you want it to look it!
How to fold egg whites
- Always fold egg whites into the rest of your batter no matter what you are baking. Never the other way around or they will deflate.
- The whole point of whipping egg whites is to create lightness and lift in your cakes. This is what takes the place of the flour. If they deflate, the cake wont rise as high.
- Using a spatula, take some egg whites and dump it on top of the chocolate mixture. Lightly dip the spatula into the middle of the batter and then go around the bowl folding and turning the spatula as you go. Not stirring.
- Keep doing the same motion- starting from the middle, bringing the spatula toward you. Then folding to the outer edges of the bowl until most of the white streaks are gone.
- Continue this process until all the whites are folded in. The batter should be uniform in color and thick.
This recipe feeds 10-12 people. Definitely make 2 if you want leftovers!
Serving the cake
Serve this cake with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar. Use a small sifter to sift the sugar all over the top of the cake. Either serve it in the pan with the parchment paper, or lift it out carefully and serve on a cake plate.
You can also top the cake with whipped cream and fresh berries or some vanilla ice cream!
Storing and freezing
Storing– To store this cake, cover it lightly with plastic wrap and leave it on your countertop. Do not store this in an airtight container.
Do not cover the cake completely. If you cover it completely (like in a cake dome) then the crunchy meringue tops (totes my favorite part) will melt into the cake. To keep the crunchy top, make sure you leave a little spot open when you cover it in plastic wrap that lets a little bit of air in.
Don’t worry about the cake drying out. Because there is no flour it won’t get stale! Also just so you know, this does not need to be refrigerated.
Freezing– I do not recommend freezing this cake, the texture will not be the same as when it is made fresh.
- Use a pyrex 8″ bowl to melt the chocolate and butter. The reason I specify the size is because you will be adding in the whipped egg whites into this bowl and I have noticed that my whites tend to deflate less when I use a smaller size bowl rather than a larger one.
- Make sure the bowl you are using to melt the butter and chocolate is completely dry before you add the chocolate to it, otherwise the chocolate may seize up!
- To make the brewed coffee use 1/2 teaspoon of instant coffee and top it with 1 tablespoon hot or boiling water. I usually just eyeball this!
- You can leave out the coffee and substitute it with 1 tbsp vanilla extract.
- Make sure to read the tips on how to separate, whip, and fold the egg whites for recipe success!
- Do not over bake, otherwise the cake wont be as light as it should be.
Why do I need to fold the egg whites? Folding the egg whites ensures that the cake stays light and airy and not dense like other cakes.
Why doesn’t my cake have the cracked top? You may have over whipped or under whipped your egg whites, or you deflated them when you folded them into the batter. It could also be because the cake is over baked.
What makes this cake light and fluffy? It’s from the whipping of the egg whites into a meringue that creates a light and fluffy structure to the cake.
Can I double the recipe? I don’t recommend it because the egg whites might not be able to lift a heavier batter. Rather I would say make two.
More decadent chocolate cake recipes:
Light and Fluffy Flourless Chocolate Cake
- pyrex bowl
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter or margarine
- 8 oz semi sweet chocolate or chocolate chips About 1 1/3rd cups
- 1 tbsp brewed instant coffee Sub vanilla extract
- 6 large eggs separated
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 300° F and line a 9” springform pan with parchment paper.
- Melt the chocolate and butter together in a microwave safe bowl- preferably an 8’’ bowl- for 30 seconds at a time, mixing in between until the chocolate is completely melted. Cool. Prepare the tablespoon of instant coffee with hot water. Pour it into the chocolate and mix.
- Separate the eggs by adding the whites into the mixing bowl of a stand or hand mixer, and the yolks into the chocolate mixture. Mix the chocolate mixture with a spatula until combined.
- Using the whisk attachment whip the egg whites on high speed, pouring in the sugar slowly while whipping. Continue whipping until stiff peaks form. You know the whites are ready when you take the beater out, flip it upside down and the tip of the egg white can hold itself up.
- Fold 1/3rd of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture at a time making sure not to deflate them. Fold until there are no white streaks left then continue.
- Pour the batter into the springform pan and bake for 50-55 minutes until little cracks start to form on the top and the cake is no longer jiggly in the middle.
- Cool and dust with confectioners sugar (optional). Leave uncovered until serving.
I love that cracked top – doesn’t it just give the cake wonderful character? And I love that you have put coffee into this cake – absolutely a winner!
Thank you SO much Katerina! Yes I love to add coffee to my chocolate desserts, I feel like it gives it that extra deep flavor!!I am so happy to hear you loved this, thank you so much for your 5 star review!!
This looks so good Sam! I’m so excited to try it sometime!
Thank you so much Grace! Let me know when you make it!!
Daniela Bitton says
This is my go-to chocolate cake recipe – so easy to follow and always comes out delicious!! Totally foolproof. Thank you Sam!
Hi Danila! I am so happy to hear that thank you so much!
It’s not complex and easy, though I do sweat a bit making the meringue. It is delicious, and I don’t know why they’re a bit thicker than yours even though I used a 9″ round pan.
As long as it was delicious, it doesnt matter how thick 🙂 Thank you so much for your 5 star review!
Can’t wait to make this!! Do you have any creative suggestions for what to do with the 6 egg yolks? all i can think of is an omelette 😂
I like to save them for lemon curd! I have a recipe on my site if you search lemon meringue cookies.
I must be misreading the recipe, but I thought you add the egg yolks to the chocolate mixture. Do you only add some?
Sam Adler says
Nope you add all of the egg yolks to the chocolate mixture!
Beth Reich says
Is there a way to sub oil for the butter in this recipe, or does the shortening need to be butter or margarine?
Sam Adler says
Hi Beth! I havent had luck swapping canola or vegetable oil for butter in this recipe but I have tried coconut oil and that works great!
Alana L. says
Hooooooly cow, Sam! You really outdid yourself with this one. I served it to my family for Passover and EVERYONE loved it. Nobody missed the flour at all.
My grandma wouldn’t stop raving about the “delicious cake.” And everybody else chimed in with how much they loved the taste, very similar to a brownie but not as dense! Truly amazing. Thank you for the great recipe and for making me look like a rockstar baker 😉❤️
AWW Alana! Thank you so much for making this for your fam for the holiday! So glad you guys enjoyed it!! And thank you of course for your sweet comment and review, so appreciate you!!
I have made this probably 6 times since Easter! It’s so yummy and made with things I always have on hand. This is my family’s new favorite. We made a strawberry Grand Marnier sauce and fresh whipped cream to go on top .
Sam Adler says
omggg that sounds so good, I have got to try it! SO glad you love this recipe, thank you so much for leaving a review and rating!
I am OBSESSED with this recipe! I make it for Passover but it’s easy enough for any day! You nailed it!
Sam Adler says
YAYAYAY so happy you love it!!!!
Kelly Kardos says
I’m making this this Passover Sam!
Sam Adler says
Yay! Cant wait to hear how it is Kelly!
Sam, do you have a favorite brand of chocolate you prefer for this recipe? I’m always curious which one to grab! 🙂
Sam Adler says
Hey Cindy!! Ghirardellhi is usually my go to chocolate for baking!!