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°F). 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




205 Comments

  1. First time I ever made this kind of cake and it is a keeper! My very picky six-yr-old grandson took one bite, rolled his eyes, said ‘So freakin’ good!’ And specifically said even the ‘crunch’ was delicious. “Listen to that sound!” The only change in the recipe was we only had regular cane sugar, but everything else exactly as written. We’ll be making this one regularly!5 stars

  2. I used an 85% dark chocolate bar and halved the sugar. It was divine! if you’re like me and don’t like overly sweet deserts, this was delish! Thank you Lisa for another wonderful recipe!
    Left over tip, I warned up the piece in the microwave and it was just perfect5 stars

  3. Hi Lisa, today I made the flourless chocolate cake, is so easy to make and is delicious. Thank you for the wonderful and delicious recipes. I got your recipe book about 2 months ago, I love it.

  4. Hi Lisa,
    This cake was so easy to make and so delicious. We topped it with whipped cream. YUM! Thank you, Lisa!5 stars

  5. Made this for my beloved on his birthday and it blew his mind! He couldn’t believe it was so tender being flourless and without white sugar. Definitely one I’m keeping in my back pocket for future occasions.5 stars

  6. I want to make this recipe tomorrow but I can´t find the expresso powder. Can I use Nescafé instant coffee powder instead of espresso powder?

    1. Easy recipe & made this the day before thanksgiving, for an appreciative crowd. Next time I’ll keep in oven a few more minutes as it was a bit sticky when cutting.5 stars

  7. I actually love that this is lighter and fluffier than other recipes. Last time I was at a steak house I ordered flourless chocolate cake for dessert and it was sooo heavy after an already heavy meal. Your version is perfect and always gets rave reviews! I’ve made it several times now. Thanks Lisa!5 stars

    1. Thanks so much, Kol! Yeah, those restaurant versions can be super dense sometimes. Glad you enjoy my lighter version!

  8. Followed recipe exactly. The cake had a strange texture, thicker under the very thin top crust. Lisa has so many great recipes. I would pull this one!1 star

  9. Excellent video!!! The tips were extremely helpful, as well. Thank you so much for this thorough presentation.5 stars

    1. It will be a 1:1 ratio. Just be forewarned that it won’t have the crackle on top (as those have more moisture). But it will still taste delicious!

  10. Looks amazing, I definitely want to try it, but  I have a question regarding your Nutrition facts. I assume this information is base on 1 serving, May I know how many grams are per serving? 
    I have a diabetic kid at home  and the amount of carbohydrates per serving is something that we have to control, and I know you posted that information but it will be more accurate if you can share the total weight in grams on each serving. Thanks ☺️ 5 stars

  11. I made this last night for my gluten free hubby’s birthday and we both loved it!!! Question- how would you store it if it’s going to take you a few days to finish it all! 5 stars

  12. What a delicious, rich, moist cake and with so much depth! My 5 year old proclaimed that this is the best cake in the whole wild world ;) we bake a ton and have tried almost all Lisa’s desserts. Lisa’s dessert always gets this praise and rightfully so! This cake and simply outstanding. So easy to make as well. Thank you Lisa, once again! 
    ❤️

  13. I was so nervous about messing this up, but it’s extremely difficult to mess up! Made it for our Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah. It was a hit! I had my daughter help me, and she was so surprised by how easy it was to make. I think it made her feel that even she can do this, herself!5 stars

  14. Without a spring form pan I’m wondering if I could pull this off. I see that the cake rose quite a bit, so I’m thinking of trying it in a deep, round casserole dish that looks like it’s about the size of that spring form pan. If I put parchment in the bottom and then make an X with parchment about 4-5 inches wide, do you think I could lift it out the the parchment X?

  15. This was delicous, I had ran out of coconut sugar so used ‘Swerve’ Brown Sugar as my husband is a Diabetic. Baked exactly 45 minutes. Soooo good and will be making again.5 stars

  16. Hi, i use your same recipe but increase the proportion by 1.5x because i want the cake to be thicker.. however, the batter become so much watery.. why is that so..

  17. I just made this recipe yesterday for my sister’s birthday, and it is amazing. The only addition was two tablespoons of organic maple syrup while mixing the egg whites and coconut sugar. I will be making this recipe for all special occasions. Thanks for all you do. 5 stars

    1. So glad this chocolate cake was a hit for your sister’s birthday Wendy! Definitely a recipe to keep on hand for future special occasions :)

  18. If I use unsweetened chocolate instead of semisweet and just add a little more coconut sugar, will I get the same results as the original recipe?

  19. Super moist chocolate cake! I made it last night and it’s like a chocolate egg souffle. Very delicious. I see the calories per serving here but how many servings is this cake Lisa?5 stars

    1. Glad you enjoyed this cake Carmen! You can always find the servings in the recipe card down below, but there are 12 servings :)

  20. Hi Lisa,

    I wonder what happens if I don’t add any kind of sugar, nor sweetener to any of the cakes? I know you use very little sweeteners in your recipes but since I don’t eat any processed sugars, nor artificial sweeteners I was wondering if that little amount is necessary for the texture or can be left out please?

    Thank you! :) 

    1. Hi Anita – it really depends on the individual recipe how much it can be tweaked. But some sweeteners are usually needed for cakes in order to give them structure.

  21. I’m trying to cut down on saturated fats. Do you have a suggestion for what I could replace the butter with? I worry olive oil would make it taste weird….

  22. Although the taste was great. The texture was a bit dry and crumbly for a four less chocolate cake. Would love to try making again…do you think this can be from over whipping the egg whites? 3 stars

    1. Hi Ahalya – the texture definitely shouldn’t be dry, it’s actually super moist. It sounds like you may have over cooked 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!

  23. This cake is perfect for me. I love chocolate ☺ and it’s also a perfect way for me to sneak in eggs to a breakfast dessert 😇 it’s not too sweet which I appreciate as well, and I like to eat it with a bit of sour jam on top which compliments the sweetness of the chocolate.
    The taste reminds me of a brownie which I love as well.
    Definitely to be repeated, I just need to work on my egg whites technique 😉5 stars

  24. I’m making this cake for the 2nd time. I love it!’ So easy, quick and delicious. I love serving it with coco whip :) 5 stars

  25. I’d like to make this wonderful cake as the star of my Christmas dessert menu. I’d like to use duck eggs. I’m not sure of the number of duck eggs to substitute for the chicken eggs. What do you recommend?

    1. I haven’t tried this recipe using duck eggs unfortunately. But if you do try it, please let me know how it goes!

    2. I’m late to the party, but I would weigh the six eggs on a kitchen scale, the match the weight with duck eggs as nearly as possible.

  26. Hi Lisa! This looks great, and I’d like to try it out for Thanksgiving. I don’t bake many desserts, so I don’t own a springform pan. I know this is what you recommend, but do you have any alternatives? Thank you!

    1. Hi Allison – you could use a regular pan if you line the bottom with parchment paper. It’s usually just a little harder to get out than a springform pan. Enjoy!

  27. I’m so excited to try this recipe for m birthday next week!
    Just wondering can I substitute the coconut sugar for brown sugar? Or what suar sub would be best?
    Thankyou!!!

    1. Hi Elisa – I haven’t tried that substitutions, but it will probably work, Let me know how it goes! And happy birthday!

    1. Hi Egay – you should have no problem using an 8″ pan. It’ll just be a little thicker and you may need to cook a little bit longer. Enjoy!

  28. I just found out I should not have chicken egg whites and have a slightly lower tolerance to the egg yolk as well. I’ve used aquafaba in other recipes but do you think it would work here? Or would duck eggs be a better substitute?

    1. Hi Bri – I’ve found aquafaba is a good substitute when up to two eggs are used in a recipe. Given that this recipe is mainly eggs, which are needed to help it firm up like a custard, I’d go with the duck eggs.

  29. This looks amazing! I plan to make it tomorrow. Can I use instant coffee instant of espresso powder? If so, how much? Thank you!

  30. Hi can I use granulated sugar instead of coconut sugar as my mum is allergic to it? It looks really yummy

    1. Hi Ariana- I haven’t tried it with those substitutes, but I’m thinking it could work! Might have to adjust the measurements though for each depending how sweet you want it.

    1. Hi Dora – you can freeze my regular chocolate cake no problem, but I honestly haven’t tried freezing this one. If you try it, let us know how it turns out!

  31. I didn’t like this cake.  It really lacked flavor.  I wanted to like it.  I kept eating hoping the next bite would change my mind.  It just didn’t get better.1 star

    1. Hi April – because there’s very few ingredients in this recipe, I do recommend using a high quality chocolate. If you love the chocolate chips on their own, you should love this recipe. It’s a good reminder that recipes are only as good as the ingredients that are used. :) Hopefully you enjoy some of my other recipes more!

  32. Hi Lisa,

    I don’t have espresso powder, or instant coffee. Can I  use cold brew as a substitute? If so, in adding a wet ingredient, would I need to omit 1/2 tsp of oil/butter to balance the recipe ratios?

    Thanks.

    1. Hi Barbara – you could always leave the espresso powder out of the recipe. You’ll still have a delicious chocolate cake. :)

  33. Made this and loved the texture! Although might have gone overboard with the cacao powder on top so would try with less or without next time.5 stars

    1. Hi Hana – It is very easy to get carried away with the cacao powder! But I’m glad you enjoyed this recipe nonetheless :)

  34. My mom made this for my birthday cake and I loved it!!!! It was very moist in the inside. She put a ganache on top because she wanted it to be more birthday cake like!5 stars

    1. Hi Suzanne – Happy Birthday! I’m so glad you loved this cake – and the ganache on top sounds amazing :)

  35. Hi.  I just started cutting carbs.  I discovered your channel and subscribed.  I love your recipes and ideas.  When I saw the flowerless cake recipe I knew I wanted to try it.  I made this cake today and it was surprisingly good (since I’ve never had a flowerless cake before).  I’ve also been reducing sugar so now everything I taste is overly sweet so I can reduce the sugar on this one…  Can I use  cacao powder instead of choc. Chips? If so, how?  I will definitely make this again.  Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Janice – I’m so happy you love this recipe! Because I haven’t tried this recipe with cacao powder as a replacement for the melted chocolate, I’m not sure what the ratios might be. If you try it, let us know how it turns out!

      1. I know in some cake recipes  applesauce is used instead of butter.  Have you tried that in this recipe?

      2. Hi Janice – I haven’t tried that in this recipe yet. If you do try it, let us know how it turns out!