Flourless Chocolate Cake

Since I’m gearing up for Passover, and I made a flourless cake a week or so ago, it seems like a good time to share. Now, I did make this cake well before the holiday, and I would like to note that it contains a good spike of liquor. I used whiskey, because Mr. B drank the coffee liqueur, and because I do enjoy whiskey. Whiskey is not kosher for Passover, though, so either omit the alcohol or use a non-grain alcohol if you’re making this for the holiday!

I went through a few recipes while decided how I wanted to make this. My first instinct when baking tends to be the New Best Recipe, but in instance it definitely let me down. I knew even from the description before the recipe that whatever they were making was not going to work for me, as they wanted a cross between a mousse and a cheesecake and I wanted, well, cake. Hence the name of the dish. Flourless cake. I thought the eight eggs they asked for was too much, and wrapping a springform pan in foil to bake it in a water bath? WAY too finicky for me!

So then I looked for the cake my grandma made while I was in Florida last month. It was dense and rich but still definitely a cake–or at least a brownie on steroids. But her cake (from the NY Times) wasn’t completely flourless, which seems like a bit of a cheat and also unfair to my gluten-free friends. So I worked out a compromise.

Ingredients (makes 1 9 inch cake. Serves about 12, or 6 plus my stepdad. He is a chocolate fiend.)

1 pound bittersweet or dark chocolate*

10 T (1 1/4 sticks) butter

3 T brown sugar

6 eggs, separated

1/4 cup liquor or liqueur of your choice. I recommend coffee or mint flavored, or whatever you like with chocolate. Omit this if you like.

*Use the best chocolate you can find. If you don’t like the chocolate plain, you won’t like the cake. I used a block of 70% Callebaut. If you don’t like chocolate that dark, go lighter. If you, like Mr. B, eat 100% baking chocolate and cacao nibs plain, go darker.


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Butter a nine-inch cake pan,  line it with parchment paper, and butter the parchment.

Chop the chocolate and plop it into a simmering double boiler.

Maybe I should have used the bigger fondue pot.

Add the butter in chunks.

Stir to melt it all together. . .

. . .then pour in the alcohol.

Stir that together, too.

Set the mixture aside to cool while you whisk together yolks and sugar.

Whip the egg whites to nice peaky peaks.

Mix the warm chocolate mixture into the yolk and sugar bowl, then fold in the whites about 1/3 at a time.

Then pour the batter into a buttered and parchment lined cake pan

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 425°F. I went with 25 minutes, and the edges were a tad burned.

Serve with ice cream or a sweet, crunchy meringue.

It comes out spectacular. Still warm, with coffee ice cream, it turns to deep, bitter liquid in your mouth, like an amazingly dark chocolate sauce. Yet when you first bite into it, what you first notice is the distinct crumb. It’s a real cake. It feels like a real cake when you bite it. Only after a few delightful chews does it reveal itself as a dark and beautiful confection. The next day, with meringues, it was just as good. I’d say this keeps well about three days–better to serve it all when you first make it, because it’s best still warm, but still delicious later.


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  1. #1 by Magagady on August 15, 2011 - 10:44 AM

    So, I just went over to the mom’s house to make this recipe and it was great. She is low carb, so I substituted fake brown sugar for the real stuff, but in general it was perfect and really simple. The texture of this is somewhere between delicious gooey brownie and mouse… Really really melts in your mouth, and the whole family was amazed and please. Couple of thoughts, though: 1) my mom takes exception to your use of the term “nice peaky peaks” because she feels that that does not thoroughly explain if you meant soft peaks or hard peaks or what. I explained that there was a picture, and she just muttered under her breath “…but still…” and 2) I also managed to burn the edges of the cake. I told them it adds flavor, but my timer was set for twenty minutes and it burned when I checked it at about 17. I think this cake just doesn’t want t be cooked. It’s rebellious and contradictory…. And delicious. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  2. #2 by koshercorvid on August 15, 2011 - 2:11 PM

    Ha! They were supposed to be stiff peaks but mine didn’t cooperate, so they were sort of medium-stiff. You can apologize to your Mom for me. I think this cake wants a 2-inch deep cake pan, like a springform one would be, or else the edges burn. That was the only thing we did differently when we made this at my grandma’s house, and it came out perfectly. The one I made at home burned a bit on the edges. Maybe a foil lip on the cake pan would stop this? I won’t suggest a water bath; I hate water baths.

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