Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache

A rich, mix-by-hand in one bowl flourless chocolate cake topped with silky ganache — perfect for Passover, Valentine’s Day, a gluten-free birthday cake, or just because it’s a Tuesday.  Who knew something so easy and simple could be so delicious?

a flourless chocolate cake topped with chocolate ganache and a ring of raspberries on a confetti dotted serving plate

Passover is coming up, which means it’s time to get out all our favorite grain-free desserts.  This flourless chocolate cake should top your list!  It’s This oh-so-rich, decadently fudgy, and topped with a layer of bittersweet chocolate ganache.

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side view of a flourless chocolate cake covered with chocolate ganache with serving plates stacked in the background

What is a Flourless Chocolate Cake?

If you’ve never made a flourless cake before, the ingredient list might sound funny.  Chocolate, butter, sugar, eggs, cocoa powder.  That’s it.  The cocoa powder provides just enough structure to form a sliceable cake.

But without flour, the eggs, butter, and chocolate combine into this amazing dense, smooth cake – with a texture almost like a cheesecake.

How does a flourless chocolate cake work, anyway?  It’s time for my favorite subject… kitchen chemistry!

Kitchen Chemistry

The key ingredient responsible for the structure of a flourless chocolate cake is cocoa powder.  While it doesn’t include gluten, cocoa powder contains both starch and fiber, which are able to absorb moisture and hold the structure of the cake.  Without the gluten or any leavening agents, however, the cake does not rise and the resulting dense texture remains smooth and rich.

an uncut flourless chocolate cake covered in chocolate ganache on a decorative plate with a basket of raspberries and dessert plates in the background

Is Flourless Chocolate Cake Gluten Free?

Yes! Because this cake is flourless, it’s also naturally gluten free — no alternative flours of swaps necessary.  Of course, you’ll want to make sure your ingredients are gluten free.

Everything in this is naturally gluten free, but cocoa powder may be processed in the presence of gluten-containing foods.  If you’re making this cake for someone with gluten sensitivities, look for ingredients that are also certified gluten free.

a large cut slice of flourless chocolate cake on a stack of dessert plates with the rest of the cake in the background

How to Make The Best Flourless Chocolate Cake

Have you ever had a flourless chocolate cake and thought it was a little… bland?  Dry and boring?  Because there are so few ingredients, quality is key here.

Use high quality chocolate and butter – it’s worth splurging for this!

Because I’m often asked about what specific brands to use — I like Giuttard, Scharffen Berger, and Ghirardelli for baking chocolate.  For butter, I always bake with unsalted and generally prefer baking with American-style (80% fat) butter over European (85% fat).  I generally nagivate to Land-o-Lakes because I find it very consistent and baked goods turn out the same every time.

As far as cocoa powder, you can technically use either naturally unsweetened or dutched cocoa powder.  Either will work, since we are not adding any leavening agents.  Buuuut… for the best, fudgiest flourless chocolate cake, use dutched cocoa powder with a higher fat content.  Dutched cocoa powder will produce a richer, more chocolately flavor, and the higher fat content will yield a perfectly smooth texture.  My personal favorite for this is Droste cocoa powder.

one slice of flourless chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and three raspberries on a dessert plate with a fork holding one bite of cake resting on the edge of the plate

Tips and Tricks for a Perfect Flourless Chocolate Cake

  1. Use a pan with removable sides for perfect presentation — I like to use a 9-inch springform pan or removable bottom tart pan.
  2. Use high quality Dutch processed cocoa powder (like Droste) and baking chocolate (like Guittard, Scharffen Berger, or Ghirardelli)
  3. Use an instant-read thermometer to determine when the cake is done.  Take out the guess work and remove the cake from the oven when the center hits 200 °F.
  4. Let the cake fully cool before adding the ganache, and let the ganache solidify for a few hours before serving.
  5. Looking for an easy make ahead dessert?  This cake can be made ahead and stored in the freezer for up to 3 months!
  6. If you are storing the cake in the refrigerator to help the ganache set, bring the cake to room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

This flourless chocolate cake is too good, and too easy, to save for special occasions.  Mix it by hand in one bowl, bake it in a tart plate, springform pan, or cake pan, smooth on a layer of ganache, and you have yourself one decadent treat.

Top with berries or toasted almonds, or serve with whipped cream or ice cream.  You really can’t go wrong!

More Rich Chocolate Desserts:

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Yield: Serves 12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Cooling Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes

A rich, flourless cake, perfect for Passover, a gluten-free birthday cake, or just because it’s a Tuesday.

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1 cup (175 g) chopped high quality bittersweet or semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (43 g) dutch processed cocoa powder

For the ganache:

  • 1 cup (175 g) high quality bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • optional: whipped cream, berries, or sliced almonds sprinkled on top

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 °F. Lightly grease a 9” removable bottom tart pan, springform pan, or cake pan. If using a cake pan, cut a piece of parchment paper to fit, place it in the bottom of the pan, and grease the parchment paper.
  2. Combine the semisweet chocolate and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Heat at 50% power in 1 minute increments until the butter is melted and the chocolate is soft, whisking between each microwave session. Whisk until the chocolate completely melts. Whisk in the sugar, salt, and vanilla. Add in the eggs, whisking until smooth, followed by the cocoa powder. Mix just to combine.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes. The top should be just set, and an instant-read thermometer should register at least 200 °F when inserted into the center of the cake.
  4. Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges with a knife and remove the sides (tart or springform pan) or invert onto a wire rack (cake pan) to fully cool.
  5. Combine the bittersweet chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl and heat until the cream is hot, but not yet simmering. Remove from the microwave and stir with a spoon until the chocolate melts and the mixture is completely smooth. Spoon the ganache over the cake, spreading to almost the edges with an offset spatula. Add berries or sprinkle almonds on the ganache before it sets. Allow the ganache to fully cool before serving.
  6. The cake can be kept at room temperature for a few hours, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to a month.

Notes

The cake can be kept at room temperature for two days, in the refrigerator for up to 7 days, or in the freezer for up to three months. To freeze, wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Bring up to room temperature before slicing.

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 310 Total Fat: 19.8g Carbohydrates: 30.2g Protein: 4.4g
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