Flourless Chocolate Cake with Meringue Topping
A rich, fudgy slab of flourless chocolate cake topped with a light, marshmallowy meringue — this cake is as impressive as it is delicious. The chocolate base is a cinch to make: you simply mix all of the ingredients in one bowl and place it in the oven. After it’s baked, you swirl a Swiss meringue dramatically over top, then the whole thing goes back in the oven until the peaks are lightly golden. If you’re short on time, feel free to skip the meringue topping and serve the cake plain with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. No one will complain, I assure you.
Begin by melting the butter in the microwave.
Immediately add the chopped chocolate.
Stir until completely melted and smooth.
Add the sugar and whisk to combine.
Whisk in the eggs.
Then add the cocoa powder.
Whisk until smooth and thick.
Transfer the batter to a buttered 9-inch springform pan.
And bake for 35-40 minutes, or until set.
Meanwhile, make the Swiss meringue topping. A Swiss meringue is simply a cooked meringue that is silkier and denser than your typical French meringue, which is not cooked. Begin by combining the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or any other large heatproof bowl).
Whisk to combine.
Then set the bowl over a sauce pan filled with 1/2-inch of simmering water, and whisk until the egg whites are hot and the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the pan and attach it to the stand mixer. (Alternatively, a hand mixer can be used.) Fit the mixer with a very clean whisk attachment (or beaters if using a hand mixer) and whisk on medium speed (or high if using hand mixer) until the meringue is cooled, glossy and holds medium-firm peaks, about 5 minutes.
You’ll know it’s ready when you lift the whisk out of the bowl and the meringue holds firm peaks that curl over.
Spoon the meringue over the hot cake, leaving a 1-inch border around the perimeter. Then use a small spoon to create dramatic swirls.
Place the cake back in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the meringue is lightly browned.
Let cool on a rack, then remove the sides of the springform pan and transfer to a serving platter.
Make-ahead note: The flourless chocolate cake base may be made up to 2 days ahead of time, but wait until the day of serving to add the meringue (it is not necessary to heat the cake before adding the meringue topping).
Flourless Chocolate Cake with Meringue Topping
For The Cake
- 1-1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (best quality -- I use Ghirardelli)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
For Meringue Topping
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup sugar
- Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Generously butter a 9-inch springform pan.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave until foamy. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until completely melted and smooth. (If necessary, it's fine to pop the bowl back into the microwave for 20 seconds.) Add the sugar and whisk until well combined. Whisk in the eggs. Whisk in the cocoa powder in three separate additions, using a folding motion at first so it doesn't fly out of the bowl. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 min, or until the cake is set.
- While the cake bakes, make the meringue topping. Bring 1/2-inch of water to a boil in a small sauce pan, then lower the heat so that the water just simmers. Combine the egg whites, cream of tartar and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer (or any large heatproof bowl). Set the bowl over the pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Whisk gently for about 3 minutes, until the egg whites are hot to the touch and the sugar is dissolved. Remove the bowl from the pan and attach it to the stand mixer. (Alternatively, a hand mixer can be used.) Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment (or beaters if using a hand mixer) and whisk on medium speed (or high if using hand mixer) until the meringue is cooled, glossy and stiff, about 5 minutes. You'll know it's ready when you lift the whisk out of the bowl and the meringue holds a firm peak that curls over. Set aside until the cake is done.
- When the cake comes out of the oven, give the meringue a quick whisk, then pile it onto the the hot cake, leaving a 1-inch border around the perimeter (it will spread and you don't want it to touch the sides of the pan). Use a small spoon to swirl it into dramatic peaks.
- Place the cake back into the oven for 10-12 minutes, until the peaks are lightly browned. Let the cake cool on a rack, then run a sharp knife around the edges to loosen any meringue that may have stuck to the sides. Carefully remove the sides of the springform pan. Transfer the cake to a platter and serve at room temperature. (To remove the base of the springform pan is optional: to do so, simply slide a large spatula underneath the cake and lift it off -- it is pretty sturdy.)
- Notes: The flourless chocolate cake base may be made up to 2 days ahead of time, but wait until the day of serving to add the meringue (it is not necessary to heat the cake before adding the meringue). To make neat slices through the meringue, use a clean, buttered knife. Wipe the knife clean between slices and lightly grease with more butter each time.
- Per serving (12 servings)
- Serving size: 1 slice
- Calories: 331
- Fat: 19g
- Saturated fat: 11g
- Carbohydrates: 42g
- Sugar: 37g
- Fiber: 3g
- Protein: 6g
- Sodium: 52mg
- Cholesterol: 108mg
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