This amazing Dark Chocolate Flourless Cake is fudgy, decadent, and full of blissful contentment! I can't think of a better surprise dessert to make for your loved one Valentine's Day! There are several secrets to achieve this level of chocolate goodness, and I've detailed all of them in this post.
Update: As a surprise for my friend, I am going to try a modification of this recipe by baking it in two smaller springform pans to make it thinner, and add some dark chocolate hazelnut butter in the center. I'll let you know how it turns out.
First, this cake is loaded with butter, eggs, sugar and good quality bittersweet chocolate. The simple list of ingredients are whipped into a voluminous batter and baked in a deep cake pan, submerged in a water bath for over 2 hours. Let it set inverted overnight. The hardest part is waiting. Finally remove the pan before serving, and your jaw will drop. Taste it and moan with pleasure. Warning, this cake will serve 20 people. A sliver for each person is more than enough. It will last in the fridge for a week - eating small bites once or twice a day. Trust me on this one. It is that good.
I must credit this recipe to fellow food blogger and amazing baker, Ashlee Marie. I watched her youtube video on this cake and was intrigued how she achieved such a great height and structure to her flourless cake. Watch her video before you try it. Sometimes it helps seeing it too. In addition to using quality chocolate, I'd say there are three secrets more to this cake.
- Use the right set of cake pans. This cake needs a 10-inch x 3-inch round cake pan, and a larger pan for setting up the water bath. Fat Daddio's has a perfect 10 x 3 and 12 x 3 pan set here.
- Use "baker's goop" to grease the pan. I learned this trick from another amazing food blogger and baker, I Am Baker. Blend equal parts of flour, shortening and vegetable oil to a thick paste. Grease your pan by brushing it all around. Store the extra goop in a glass jar in your fridge for future baking. You can also use Baker's Joy or another prepared spray with flour. This is an important step for easy release of the cake when inverted.
- This cake will take 2 ½ hours to cook. It is hard to overcook it, and also hard to tell when it is done. After making this cake multiple times I found that 2:20 at 325F in a convection oven is perfect. Conditions vary by oven and kitchen, so check with a cake tester when looks ready. It puffs up and will shrink as it cools.
Dark Chocolate Flourless Cake is actually simple to make once you learn the techniques. Here is the process:
Start with quality ingredients. There are only 4 needed. 1) 24 ounces of of chocolate: I prefer a combination of 60% and 70% bittersweet Ghirardelli chocolate bars. One tip, look for the bars that are 4 ounces each, usually found in the baking aisle. 2) 10 whole large eggs. The eggs are best if room temperature. If not, you can place them in a bowl of warm water for 3 minutes. 3) 3 cups of sugar and 4) 4 sticks of salted butter . Oh yeah, I should point out that it is also gluten-free. haha.
Make your baker's goop or have a baker's spray ready. Prep your 10-inch x 3-inch pan by liberally coating it with goop, and adding a parchment circle on the bottom. This will ensure an easy release.
Whisk the eggs and sugar in a stand mixer until creamy yellow and quadrupled in volume. I LOVE my new Bosch Universal Stand Mixer for this recipe. It is much easier to work with compared to a KitchenAid.
Melt the butter and chocolate, and some of the sugar, in a pan on the stove. Whisk until smooth. Set aside and let cool for at least 20 minutes before adding to the egg mixture. When the chocolate mixture is cool, slowly stream it into the eggs while whisking on slow. This is where the Bosch Universal Stand Mixer comes in handy. The open top makes it easy to stream in the chocolate without making a mess.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan. Set the 10-inch x 3-inch pan inside a larger pan. In this case I used a 12-inch x 3-inch pan.
Now boil 5 cups of water in a tea kettle with a pouring lip. Very carefully, pour the hot water into the outer pan to create a water bath. It is your choice whether to place the pans in the oven first and pour, or carry the filled hot pan to the oven.
Bake for 2 hours 20 minutes (give or take) at 325 degrees in a preheated convection oven. Keep adding hot water to the outer pan to keep the water level with the cake batter level. It is done when a cake tester comes out crumbly. It will not be perfectly clean. Take the cake out of the oven. Remove from the water bath and let cool for 30 - 45 minutes. When cool enough to handle, place a cake plate over the top and quickly invert. This may take some practice :-). I also add a 12-inch cardboard circle between the cake and the cake plate which makes for easier handling later. Do not remove the pan! Let the inverted cake remain in the pan, and allow to cool on the counter overnight or at least 8 hours to set. Do not refrigerate this cake at this point, the texture will much better.
The next day, gently twist and lift the pan to release the pan and unmold the cake. Remove the parchment paper. Voila! A three-inch high Dark Chocolate Flourless Cake!
Dust the top with cocoa powder and slice to serve. This cake requires nothing else to be added, however a small dollop of whipped cream and berry or two won't hurt for color. Refrigerate any leftovers in the fridge. The cold temperature will harden the cake and it will taste like a wonderful creamy fudge.
p.s. Tom, this post is dedicated to you.
The Most Amazing Dark Chocolate Flourless Cake
- 3 cups sugar - separated into 2 cups and 1 cup
- 1 cup Water
- 2 cups 4 sticks salted butter
- 24 oz bittersweet chocolate broken into small pieces mix semi sweet, bittersweet and dark
- 10 whole eggs
- 2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
- Preheat the oven to 325F.
- Line a 10 inch x 3 inch round pan with Baker’s Joy* and line the bottom with parchment paper. If you don’t have Baker’s Joy, then see the note below about “baker’s goop”. This is essential for easy release of the cake from the pan at the end.
- Heat 2 cups of sugar in a small pan with the water until the sugar has completely dissolved to a syrup.
- Place all the butter in the hot syrup and stir, then add the chocolate and stir to combine until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
- In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs with 1 cup sugar until the volume quadruples; approximately 5 minutes. Start on low and turn up to high the last 3 minutes.
- Turn the mixer on slow and add approx ¼ cup of the chocolate mixture to the eggs until just combined. This will temper the eggs. Slowly pour the rest of the chocolate mixture to the mixer until all is well combined and smooth.
- Place the 10 x 3 pan inside the empty 12 x 3 pan. Pour the cake batter into the 10 x 3 and place the whole set in the oven. Very carefully pour boiling water into the larger pan to create a water bath. The water level should reach the same level as the cake batter in the inside pan. This is vital for even baking.
- Bake in the oven for 2 hours. Check the water level every 30 minutes and add more hot water to keep the water at cake batter level. It's actually very hard to over cook. And the center tends to be goopy if it's undercooked, so always err on the side of cooking a bit too long. Use a cake tester to look for a slightly moist and crumbly texture in the center.
- The cake rises quite a bit when it cooks (expanding egg bubbles), but it does shrink as it cools. Flip it over onto a plate or cake stand while it’s still warm, but leave the cake pan on to hold the shape, once it's cool you can take it off. Place a cardboard cake circle between the plate and cake before flipping for easier handling.
- Do not refrigerate! Leave on the counter overnight to cool, or a minimum of 6 hours before serving.
- Right before serving, remove the cake pan by a twist and lift. It should come right off. Dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder.
- With a sharp knife, slice into very thin pieces (since its so rich) and plate. You may need to run the knife under warm water every couple of slices to keep the slices clean. Note: A substitute for Baker’s Joy is equal parts crisco, vegetable oil and flour, blended until smooth. Use a pastry brush to coat the inside a cake pan for easy release. Sometimes called Baker’s Goop.
- Note: Refrigeration changes the texture of the cake to become more dense.