If you’ve never had a flourless chocolate cake before, don’t be fooled! It’s not really a cake.
There’s no flour! So what you get is more comparable to a truffle, or a really dense, really intensely chocolatey mousse.
The only similarity a flourless chocolate cake has to any other type of cake is the shape, and the fact that it’s made in a cake pan.
I love this cake because it is really simple to make while also being a fancy-feeling dessert that all chocolate lovers flock to, and one cake is enough to serve a good size crowd. This makes it ideal for holiday get-togethers.
I have made this cake around Christmas for the past four years. And every year, things go awry in some way.
Year 1: I was up at 3 AM conducting a jet-lagged baking marathon, and dropped the entire cake pan into the water bath it bakes in. So, my unbaked cake was fully submerged in water for a full minute while I groggily attempted to rescue it while also not burning myself in the boiling water that was covering it.
I contemplated starting over, but had used my last egg. So I baked it anyway: It turned out delicious.
Year 2: I was short a couple of eggs (I am now realizing this is a common theme and I maybe should buy eggs in larger quantities). But! I realized this too late in the recipe, so I forged ahead: It turned out delicious.
Year 3: Cake would not come out of the pan. I tried a hot water bath, I tried ironing my inverted cake pan, I tried freezing it (why?), I tried blow-drying it.
And then, we ate it straight out of the cake pan and it was delicious.
This year: I ignored the fact that the recipe suggests a 10-inch cake pan, and, with unbridled optimism, forced the entire batter into an 8-inch cake pan.
I don’t recommend doing this, but the cake was delicious.
Point being: I’m convinced it’s impossible to ruin this cake. And not that I’ve been trying to ruin it, but I think my above blunders would have rendered any other cake inedible – or at the very least, off-putting.
So consider this an endorsement of this cake being fool-proof!
There are only five ingredients in this (six if we’re counting water), and it is so quick to mix together! You melt lots and lots of chocolate, boil together sugar and salt and water, and then mix everything together with butter and eggs and bake it up.
The hardest part of this (and, I think, any) flourless chocolate cake is getting the baked cake out of the pan.
Here are the things I’ve tried with minimal success:
- A hot water bath
- Freezing baked cake (clearly a desperate attempt; unsure why I thought this would work)
- Banging cake pan with a rolling pin (please never tell Jacques Torres)
The things I’ve tried with moderate success:
- Ironing inverted cake pan
- Blow drying inverted cake pan
The thing that definitely, 100%, always works:
- Putting the baked and chilled cake in a 300 degree oven for 3 minutes, then inverting
Once your cake is out of its pan, go forth and enjoy this deliciously dense and decadent, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate dessert!
Flourless Chocolate Cake
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 18 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate
- 1 cup unsalted butter, but into 1-tablespoon pieces
- 6 eggs
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Generously butter a 10-inch round cake pan and set aside.
Combine water, sugar, and salt in a small pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and set aside.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Once melted, transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn mixer to medium speed and beat the butter into the chocolate one piece at a time. Once all butter has been added, pour in the hot sugar-water. Once combined, beat in eggs one at a time.
Transfer batter to prepared cake pan. Place cake pan in a roaster or similarly sized oven-safe dish, and create a water bath by filling the outer dish with enough boiling water to go halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. The center of the cake will still look wet.
Remove cake pan from water bath and chill overnight.
To remove the chilled cake from the pan, place in a 300-degree oven for 3 minutes. Remove, and invert onto a serving plate.
Adapted from Allrecipes.