Flourless Chocolate Cake

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This flourless chocolate cake is a deliciously elegant cake that’s sure to impress guests. With a lightly crackled top, deep chocolate flavor, and fluffy moist texture, it’s hard to believe that this recipe only requires 5 ingredients! 

Flourless chocolate cake.
Photo: Gayle McLeod

I make this flourless chocolate cake often for dinner parties and holidays. It’s a favorite among my friends with its stunning look. But don’t let that elegance fool you! It’s such a simple recipe that you can easily serve it up for any chocolate lover any day of the week. Enjoy it straight out of the oven with a drizzle of warm custard on top, or let it cool to room temperature (to get that crackled top) and lightly dust it with cacao powder for a beautifully layered look. 

But first, I must tell you what makes my recipe unique. Unlike most flourless chocolate cakes which are extremely dense, and almost fudge-like, mine is light and airy. I separate the eggs in this recipe, whip the egg whites separately, and then fold them back in. That creates a cake that still rich in flavor, but also fluffier and more spongy. So if you prefer a light and fluffy flourless chocolate cake, this recipe is for you!

Ingredients for flourless chocolate cake.

Flourless Chocolate Cake Ingredients

The beauty of flourless chocolate cakes is that they’re naturally gluten-free. Even better? You likely have these 5 ingredients (or an acceptable substitute) ready to go in your pantry and fridge!  

  • Chocolate Chips: I prefer to use semi-sweet chocolate chips so that the cake isn’t overly sweet or too bitter. But you can use milk chocolate chips or bittersweet chocolate chips as well, it’s up to you.
  • Butter: Butter mixed with melted chocolate gives a silky consistency to the batter. If you’re dairy-free, you can swap in coconut oil or a vegan butter. 
  • Eggs: Make sure to have your egg whites and yolks separated, with the egg whites in a larger mixing bowl for whipping.
  • Sugar: I love using coconut sugar, which adds depth of flavor with a hint of caramel. But any granulated sugar works. You can also swap in monk fruit or erythritol at a 1:1 ratio. If you use maple syrup or honey, just be forewarned that it won’t have the crackle on top (as those have more moisture). But it will still taste delicious! 
  • Espresso Powder: I highly recommend this for a deeper, richer chocolate flavor (and no, it won’t taste like coffee). I’ve linked my favorite brand in the recipe card below. 
  • Cacao Powder: This is optional, but dusted cacao powder on top makes this cake extra special.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

How To Make Flourless Chocolate Cake

Prep your springform pan. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of your pan. For even easier removal, you can line the bottom of your springform pan with parchment paper (on top of the butter). 

Prepping a springform pan.

Melt the chocolate mixture. Add the chocolate chips and butter to a large glass bowl and heat over a double boiler. Use a bowl larger than what you need, as you’ll be adding egg whites to this mixture later. Stir the chocolate and butter together until it’s completely melted and silky smooth. Then, remove it from the double boiler and let it cool to room temperature.

Melted chocolate in a bowl.

Whip the egg whites. In a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until you have soft peaks, then slowly add the coconut sugar (a small bit at a time) until it’s fully incorporated. Normally, sugar would turn the egg whites glossy (like when you’re making a meringue), but that won’t happen in this case as the coconut sugar granules are much larger. And that’s fine, you just want them combined.

Whipped egg whites and sugar in a bowl.

Mix the chocolate and egg yolks. Once your chocolate is at room temperature add the egg yolks and stir to combine. Be sure to not add these while the chocolate is hot, otherwise, you’ll end up with scrambled eggs in your chocolate, which is never ideal. Then, stir in the espresso powder.

Mixing egg yolks and chocolate in a bowl.

Mix the egg whites into the chocolate. First, add a third of the egg white mixture to the chocolate and stir to lighten it up using a spatula. Don’t worry about deflating the egg whites in this first batch. Then, add the remaining egg whites and gently fold them in, trying not to deflate them too much.

Mixing chocolate and egg whites together.

​​The cake is ready to bake. Pour the batter into your springform pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. The cake will rise significantly as it cooks (like a soufflé), but will fall back down as it cools. That’s what gives it that lovely crackled texture on top.

A flourless chocolate cake in a pan.

Serve it up! Once the cake has cooled to room temperature, remove it from the pan, and serve it up. As I mentioned at the beginning, you could serve it with vanilla custard for a creamy touch, with fresh berries and coconut whipped cream, or even a small scoop of your favorite ice cream.

Flourless chocolate cake next to cacao powder.

Common Questions

Why is my cake dry and crumbly?

This cake should be soft and moist, so you might have overcooked it a little (as all ovens cook slightly differently). Next time, I’d try reducing the time in the oven just a bit and see how that goes!

What if I don’t have a springform pan?

You can also use a regular 9-inch cake pan if you line the bottom with parchment paper. It’s usually just a little bit harder to get this cake out of a standard cake pan than a springform pan. 

A slice of flourless chocolate cake.

Storage Tips

  • To store for the week: You can store this cake covered at room temperature for 2 to 3 days, or up to one week in the fridge in an airtight container.
  • To freeze for later: If you want to keep a few slices to enjoy next month, you can absolutely freeze it. Store slices in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Just keep in mind it may compress a little when frozen and thawed.
  • Tips for making it in advance: You can make this cake a day in advance for a celebration. Just store it covered on the countertop, and wait to add any toppings (including cacao powder) until right before serving. 

More Chocolate Desserts

I hope you love this flourless chocolate cake as much as I do. If you make it, I’d love to hear how it turned out in the comment box below! Your review will help other readers in the community. 

Sliced flourless chocolate cake.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

4.83 from 56 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

This flourless chocolate cake is a deliciously elegant yet easy to make chocolate dessert that’s sure to impress guests. Watch the video below to see how quickly it comes together!

Video

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • Prep your pan. Preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C). Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. You can also line the bottom of the springform pan with parchment paper (on top of the butter) for easy removal.
    Lining a springform pan.
  • Make the chocolate mixture. Add the chocolate and butter to a large glass bowl and melt over a double-boiler, stirring until fully melted. Alternatively, you can slowly heat the chocolate and butter in 20-second increments in the microwave. Remove the bowl from the double-boiler (or microwave) and let cool to room temperature.
    A bowl of melted chocolate.
  • Whip the egg whites. While the chocolate is cooling, add the egg whites to a large bowl and beat on medium-high until soft peaks form. Slowly add the coconut sugar while beating, about one tablespoon at a time, until fully incorporated. Set aside.
    Whipping egg whites in a bowl.
  • Mix the chocolate and eggs yolks. To the melted and now room-temperature chocolate, add the egg yolks and espresso powder and stir together. Make sure the chocolate is cooled to room temperature, otherwise, you'll end up with scrambled eggs in your chocolate.
    Mixing chocolate and egg yolks in a bowl.
  • Mix the egg whites into the chocolate. Add ⅓ of the egg whites to the chocolate, then stir to combine and lighten the chocolate mixture. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites, trying not to deflate the mixture too much.
    Folding egg whites in chocolate.
  • Bake the cake. Pour the batter into the springform pan and bake for 45 minutes. The cake will rise to the top of the springform pan while baking but will deflate once cooled.
    A baked flourless chocolate cake.
  • Cool and serve. Let the cake cool completely, then remove from the springform pan. Dust with cacao powder before serving.
    Flourless chocolate cake with cacao powder.

Lisa’s Tips

  • While this recipe is for a light and fluffy cake, if you do prefer a denser cake that’s easy to make. Just don’t separate the eggs and crack them into the bowl in step 4. 
  • Sometimes it can be difficult to find espresso powder in the supermarket. I purchase this one from Amazon. Make sure to read my Paleo Chocolate Cake recipe to understand the amazing effect espresso powder has on chocolate desserts.
  • Definitely use a springform pan and not a regular pan for this cake recipe. It makes it easy to remove and transfer to a serving plate.
  • If you do opt for maple syrup in this recipe, you may need to cook the cake several minutes longer as maple syrup adds moisture to the recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 109kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 107mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 9IU | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Flourless Chocolate Cake, Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Recipe originally published December 2018, but updated to include new information and photos for your benefit!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




207 Comments

    1. Hi Jen – because I haven’t tried either of those sugars I’m not sure, but I’d lean toward regular white sugar.

  1. The best recipe ever. The cake came out just the way you post it. I didn’t use coffee at all but was superb because don’t want my kids to be up at night.  Hubby loved it. This was the first cake for me to make it at home. Thank you so much for the recipe5 stars

  2. My hubby’s birthday today, and this is the cake I chose to make. Perfect for my chocolate loving manr ☺️💕5 stars

  3. Hi Lisa,

    I made this last night and used Swerve as a Keto substitute for the sugar. My cake came out only about a 1/2 high, could the sugar substitute be the reason?

    1. Hi Stephanie – if you kept all of the other ingredients the same, that could have been the culprit. Though I know others have tried it with erythritol and it worked. You might want to try a different keto sugar substitute next time. :)

  4. I made this as my birthday cake and it is beyond delicious! So easy and works every time. Will definetly make again! Thanks for this cake recipe, it is really great!5 stars

  5. This is a very easy recipe that produces amazing and delicious result. Made it for New Year’s and everybody loved it. So easy and so good, thank you, Lisa, yet another impeccably great recipe5 stars

      1. Update – made it once again for my mom’s birthday – it’s sooooo good. I wish I could insert a picture5 stars

      2. Hi Lana- I hope your mother had a great birthday! What a perfect chocolate treat to whip up for her.

  6. I loooove this cake. I made it two times last two weeks. My family loves it 🙌 It’s quick and don’t need many ingredients. Thank you 5 stars

    1. You can, but I wouldn’t recommend it as olive oil has a very distinct flavor. I’d use a more neutral flavored oil.

  7. This was delicious. Especially loved the step by step video, it made it so easy and allowed me to ensure I was getting the correct texture. I found it had a pretty strong eggy flavour the day I made it and much preferred the taste the next day once it had some time to sit in the fridge.

    I bought the espresso powder especially for this recipe and have now been using it in lots of other chocolate recipes so am really happy I didn’t skip this and am now able to work with an ingredient I’ve never used before.5 stars

  8. Oh my goodness. This is delicious. I made a Thanksgiving trial run with this because I don’t consider myself a baker. The directions were easy to follow and the cake came together so well. I know my gluten free son-in-law will love this!5 stars

    1. Oh wonderful! I’m so happy you loved the recipe Karen. I hope your son-in-law loves it as well. :) Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Hi Sydney- Yes, you can make it a day before, just make sure to not sprinkle anything on top of the cake, otherwise it will absorb the powder! Wait til the day of and put the toppings on. As for storing, seal it tightly and you can place it on your counter top or in the fridge. I might do the counter top to keep the moisture in the cake. Hope this helps!

    1. Hi Dalilah – I haven’t tried it with this specific recipe, but definitely try and let me know how it goes!

      1. Hi Lisa, thank you for your prompt reply- I will try and let you know. 
        Do you think Xylitol will work to substitute the coconut sugar here? 
        I make chiffon cakes and I’m wondering, like someone else mentioned- to bake this in a tube pan and turn in over immediately after removing from oven, this could prevent it from deflating and stay even fluffier. Will try and split batter half for a tube pan and half cupcakes and see what happens 😁

      2. Yes, you can use xylitol in this recipe. I’m not sure about making it in a tube pan though. But I’m all for experimenting! :) Would love to hear how your experiments turn out!

  9. I made it and now it’s my family’s favorite.
    The top of the cake does not crack like yours though, maybe from the chocolate or butter (i use dark compound and mixed butter which was what available around), but the cake still light and very delicious. Thank you for sharing this. Much loves from Indonesia 🤗.5 stars

    1. Hi Robin – I’m glad you were able to divide this into a smaller portion! I hope you loved this recipe :)

    1. You should look for a springform pan with a catch tray on the bottom (I linked to one in the post). It’s fairly standard on all newer springform pans. :)

  10. Hi. I have a question about the flourless chocolate cake recipe. Is the 8 oz of chocolate pieces a measuring cup full or is this a weight of 8 oz?

  11. Hello! I’m very new to baking and discovered the joy of baking through this recipe! My cooking went great, but the top didn’t crack ?. The sides moved in a little on the top. What did I do wrong? 

    1. Hi Leah – you probably didn’t do anything wrong. Sometimes that’s just dependent on ovens and particular temperatures. As long as the cake turned out and tasted great, that’s all that matters! :)

  12. Wow! This is a fantastic recipe!!! Great job!
    I baked mine a bit longer as the center was still needing to firm up.
         I keep it in the frig and it tastes like a combo of mousse and cake.
        I do have a question… have you ever tried not greasing the pan, or used a tube pan so it can invert while cooling? I’m not sure if it’s too heavy to invert and cool as a sponge cake to stay fluffy or drop out all over the counter! Just a thought.
           Fantastic job on this recipe!!! It’s yummy!!!!!!

    1. Hi Peggy, Thanks so much for the kind feedback! I’m so glad you loved the recipe! I haven’t tried making it in a tube pan, so I’m not sure. But if you end up trying something new, let me know how it turns out. :)

  13. I don’t have espresso powder, could add a Tbsp of strong coffee, would I have to adjust the baking time?

  14. Yum! This cake is so tasty and easy to make. I only had a 10″ pan, but it still worked, just a little thinner. Subbed cinnamon for the espresso powder. Served it with your caramel sauce and fresh raspberries. Perfection. Thank you!5 stars

  15. Hi Lisa, Thank you for yet again another fabulous recipe. I absolutely love this cake and cannot believe how light the texture is. Its a real hit with my husband too. Again another firm favourite in our home I’m sure. What is great is that a little goes a long way because it is such a gorgeous rich flavour.

    1. Hi Mary – I’m so thrilled you and your husband love this recipe! It’s definitely rich and fluffy…and highly addictive. ;)

    1. My Paleo Chocolate Cake recipe can definitely be turned into muffins, but I haven’t tried this one as muffins yet.

  16. I make this every weekend because it’s so good. I have given up gluten and dairy and I am now trying to wean myself off of sugar too. This dessert is full of protein so it is filling too. I have experimented with substituting the semi-sweet chocolate chips for dark, no-sugar chocolate chips and the result was not good. The cake did not rise. I suppose it is because the cake relies on the cocoa butter from the semisweet chocolate chips in addition to the eggs to rise. I added back the semisweet chocolate chips and omitted the 1/2 cup coconut sugar and the results were really good – not as good as the original recipe calls for but for someone who has this dessert every weekend and is slowly trying to reduce sugar, I’m so happy!.

    I also bought myself Lisa’s Roaming Free book over Christmas and the pictures are so beautiful and inspiring. I am planning a trip to Bali this year – inspired by the blog here on Downshiftology!5 stars

    1. Hi Sandra – I’m happy to hear you’re enjoying this recipe and have made some tweaks to suit you. Thanks for sharing your substitutions! And that’s wonderful you’re loving Roaming Free. I had SUCH an amazing time in Bali and I’m sure you will as well. :) x

    1. Hi Andrea – I haven’t tested this with stevia but I’m pretty sure it would be fine. :)

  17. I’m not generally GF, however this cake is perfect to take along to a dinner party gathering when you can be sure that at least one guest will be GF. It was delicious and very easy to make.5 stars

    1. Yes, it’s always great to be prepared for parties. So happy you enjoyed the flourless cake Margot!

    1. Hi Jamie – unfortunately I haven’t tried this recipe with an egg substitute. Recipes that have 1-2 eggs can usually be subbed with a chia/flax egg no problem, but with 6 eggs in this recipe I don’t think egg replacers would work. Sorry!

  18. I made the Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe today and it worked very well. I appreciated the video and detail in the recipe. I used parchment paper on the bottom and may use two layers of parchment paper next time just so it is easier to move off of the bottom of the spring pan. The cake is not a heavy cake. The texture is very smooth and light. The expresso powder added depth of flavor that was very nice. I used Williams-Sonoma Expresso Bean Powder.5 stars

  19. Just made this cake today, but i didn’t have any expresso powder. It smelled wonderful as it was baking and it turned out with the crackled top and is light and very tasty! Thank you so much for an easy and rich chocolate cake recipe.5 stars

  20. Just made this today following your recipe except i didn’t have any expresso powder. But it smelled wonderful as it was baking and tastes delicious. It is light and has that pretty crackled texture on top! Thanks for a tasty and easy recipe!

  21. Hi Lisa,
    Hoping to give this a go tomorrow, but I’m lethal with chocolate cakes I eat them all!

    Big Question is can you Freeze this? If I can Freeze I’m making a few to have on hand!! Please let me know :)

    A big thanks for all the hard work and effort, love your website social Media platforms you do :) awesome work!5 stars

    1. Hi Amy – thanks so much! :) Because this cake has a little more lift to it that normal birthday-type cakes (like my Paleo Chocolate Cake) it may compress a little when frozen and thawed. But if you’re okay with that, then I say go for it!

    2. Also look at my chocolate mug cake recipe. That’s a great individual serving size recipe…that helps prevent that over-indulging (I’m guilty as well). ;) x

  22. Looks fabulous.  If you substitute maple syrup or monk fruit in place of coconut sugar, what quantities work best?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Ilene – you can substitute at the same quantity. But you may need to cook about 5 minutes longer if using maple syrup. :)

    1. I’m happy to hear that Mihaela! And I’m actually switching out my recipe card plugin soon to a new one that will also have metric conversions. Stay tuned! :) x

    2. I ordered a set of “cups and spoons” just for Lisa’s receipts. :) It’s really usuful for other americans receips, too. :)

      1. Haha – love it! I’m hoping to add a new recipe plugin to my website next year that will do the metric conversion automatically, which should also make things easier! :) x

    1. Thanks Natalie! And yes, it’s moist and fudgy without being dense and heavy. In other words, super delicious! ;) x

  23. My favorite kind of chocolate cake! This is perfect for the holidays, for sure. The best part is, I think that it would be the only one at the party!5 stars

    1. Yes, it’s great for the holidays! Especially with so many dietary restrictions nowadays, this ticks most of the boxes. Hope you enjoy it Tracy!

    1. It’s wonderful, isn’t it?! And it still has that same light and fluffy texture of a normal cake. Enjoy the recipe! :)

  24. The maple syrup version sounds delicious but I do love that crackle on the top! Thanks for the tip on separating eggs!5 stars

    1. I know – it’s a hard decision isn’t it! Haha. You’ll have to try it both ways and see which you like better. ;)