Flourless Chocolate Cake with Meringue

Tested & Perfected Recipes

A rich, slab of flourless chocolate cake topped with a light meringue — this cake is as impressive as it is delicious.

A fudgy slab of flourless chocolate cake topped with a marshmallowy Swiss meringue — this Passover-friendly, gluten-free dessert is as impressive as it is easy to make. The cake portion  is a one-bowl, five-ingredient recipe that you mix with a whisk. While the cake bakes, you whip up the Swiss meringue topping — a type of meringue made by whisking sugar and egg whites in a bowl over a pot of simmering water before whipping them to stiff peaks. Once the base of the cake is baked, you swirl the meringue dramatically over top, then briefly bake the cake until the meringue peaks are lightly golden.

What you’ll need to make flourless chocolate cake with Meringue

flourless chocolate cake with meringue ingredients

Step-by-Step Instructions

Begin by melting the butter in the microwave.

melted butter

Immediately add the chopped chocolate.

chopped chocolate and melted butter

Stir until completely melted and smooth.

melted chocolate and butter mixture

Add the sugar and whisk to combine.

adding the sugar to the chocolate mixture

Whisk in the eggs one at a time.

whisking in the eggs

Then add the cocoa powder.

adding the sifted cocoa powder to the cake batter

Whisk until smooth and thickened.

finished chocolate cake batter

Transfer the batter to a buttered 9-inch springform pan.

cake base ready to bake

Bake for 30 minutes, or until set.

baked flourless chocolate cake base

While the cake is baking, make the meringue topping. Combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or any other large heatproof bowl) and whisk to combine. Set the bowl over a saucepan filled with 1/2-inch of simmering water, and whisk until the egg whites are very warm to the touch and the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes.

whisking egg whites and sugar over simmering water

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).

Whisk on medium speed (or high if using a hand mixer) until the meringue is cooled, glossy and holds medium-firm peaks, about 5 to 6 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.

whipped Swiss meringue

Spoon the meringue over the hot cake, leaving a 1-inch border around the perimeter. Then use a small spoon to create dramatic swirls.

swirling meringue over baked cake

Place the cake back in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the meringue is lightly browned.

lightly browned meringue

Let cool on a rack, then remove the sides of the springform pan and transfer to a serving platter.

cake cooling on rack

Make-ahead note: The 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).

You may also like

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Meringue

A rich, slab of flourless chocolate cake topped with a light meringue — this cake is as impressive as it is delicious.

Servings: 12
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 55 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

Ingredients

For The Cake

  • 1-1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted (see note)

For Meringue Topping

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Instructions

  1. Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Generously butter a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave until foamy (watch carefully so that it doesn't boil and splatter). Add the chopped chocolate and stir until completely melted and smooth. (If necessary, pop the bowl back into the microwave for 20 seconds to melt any remaining bits of chocolate.) Add the sugar and whisk until well combined. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Whisk in the cocoa powder, 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 30 minutes, or until the cake is set.
  3. 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 a hand mixer) until the meringue is cooled, glossy and stiff, 5 to 6 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.
  4. 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 may spread a little and you don't want it to touch the sides of the pan). Use a small spoon to swirl it into dramatic peaks.
  5. Place the cake back into the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until the meringue peaks are lightly browned. Let the cake cool on a rack for about 15 minutes, then run a sharp knife around the edges, if necessary, 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. (Removing 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.) To make neat slices through the meringue, wipe the knife clean between slices.
  6. Note: The chocolate cake base may be made up to 2 days ahead of time. Once cool, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Wait until a few hours before serving to add the meringue (it is not necessary to heat the cake before adding the meringue, but do let it come to room temperature).
  7. Note: The easiest way to sift the cocoa powder is to pass it through a fine mesh sieve when adding it to the cake batter.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (12 servings)
  • Serving size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 343
  • Fat: 18 g
  • Saturated fat: 11 g
  • Carbohydrates: 45 g
  • Sugar: 41 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 5 g
  • Sodium: 52 mg
  • Cholesterol: 108 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

See more recipes:

Reviews & Comments

  • Hi Jenn! We have made this fantastic cake several times using a version I printed from your site in Feb 2021. It looks like since that time, the directions have changed to indicate that it needs to be stored in the refrigerator. I was hoping to make it for an upcoming party, without the meringue topping (similar to the other flourless chocolate cake recipe on your site), but I know I won’t have refrigerator space to store it. Do you think it will keep at room temp for 2 days without the topping or do you now believe it is necessary to keep it in the refrigerator? Also wondering if you think it would be possible to make it ahead of time and freeze it? Thanks so much for this simple but drool-worthy recipe!

    • — Noreen on July 9, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Noreen, As long as it doesn’t have the meringue topping, I think it should be okay for 2 days at room temperature. (And glad you like it!)

      • — Jenn on July 12, 2021
      • Reply
  • Delicious…although my springform pan leaked while the cake was baking! Managed to salvage it but I was wondering if you have a recommendation for a good springform pan as clearly I need a new one! Thanks.
    PS I just pre-ordered your new cookbook. Congratulations! I am sure it will be a great success!

    • — Jane on April 22, 2021
    • Reply
    • Thanks so much for ordering the book!! Glad you were able to salvage the cake despite some leakage. I really like this pan. Hope that helps. 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 22, 2021
      • Reply
  • Made this cake for Passover 2021 and I have a fussy family. Everyone loved it and looked sooo good on presentation. Cake was fudge like in texture and will definitely make it again.

    • — Trudy on March 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi, for the same cake served with cream instead of meringue, you say to bake 32 to 35 mins. Thus, won’t an extra 12 to 15 mins baking here of the meringue overtake the cake itself? I’m not understanding the timing of the baking. I want the cake to remain moist and brownie chewy like.

    • — Samantha on March 25, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Samantha, I can see how you would think that, but the cake cools off a bit while you add the meringue, and the meringue topping absorbs a good amount of the heat when it goes back in the oven (it’s just 10 to 12 min), so it all works out. I assure you it will still be moist and fudgy. Please let me know how it turns out if you try it.

      • — Jenn on March 25, 2021
      • Reply
  • This is a great recipe! Delicious and easy. I think you could use 3 egg whites for the topping and spread further to the edges. Highly recommend for a dairy treat for Pesach or any time of the year.

    • — Sharon Fine on March 22, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made this for my son’s thirteenth birthday and it was outstanding! I was very pressed for time, and didn’t want to make a huge cake or a lot of dishes so this fit the bill. Instead of the meringue, I topped this somewhat gooey masterpiece with birthday cake flavored ice cream and candles!

    • — Heide Schaffner on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Our go-to cake for family dinners! Comes out perfectly every time and the topping gives it that extra touch.

    • — Stefanie on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made the flourless chocolate cake but the middle cracked and collapsed.
    Don’t know what I might have done wrong. Maybe over beating?

    • — Sharon on November 6, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Sharon, I don’t think you did anything wrong — it’s not unusual for it to collapse or crack -— and because it gets covered with cream, you don’t have to worry about the way it looks on top. 🙂

      • — Jenn on November 6, 2020
      • Reply
  • I only have a 10 inch springform pan. Should I make 1 1/2 of the recipe to accommodate the size of the pan?

    • — Tracy Calcutt on October 21, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Tracy, You can get away with keeping the recipe as is. It just may be done baking a little more quickly so keep a close eye on it. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 21, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I am making this cake without the meringue. Do I need to bake the cake for the additional 10-12 minutes after the initial 35 minute bake? I hope you see this pretty quickly! 🙂

    • — colleen on October 10, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Colleen, I’m afraid I’m weighing in too late to be helpful! If you haven’t already made this, you won’t need to add 10 to 12 minutes to the baking time.

      • — Jenn on October 14, 2020
      • Reply
  • Absolutely simple to make and every bit as delicious as it looks! I didn’t have any semi sweet chocolate so I smashed a couple of Swiss chocolate hazelnut bars I had in the freezer and used a little less sugar. The cocoa powder gave it plenty of classic bitterness. A lovely cross between a mousse and a brownie. I added a tiny bit of really good quality vanilla to the merengue. Absolutely a keeper recipe that I will make for holidays and dinner parties. But it’s easy enough for everyday.

    • — Jill Weinstein on September 19, 2020
    • Reply
  • hi< we can't use butter as we are serving it with a meat dish…can you use an alternative to butter for the cake? what would you suggest?

    • — marjorie slonim on April 4, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Marjorie, Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a great non-dairy substitute for the butter — I’m sorry!

      • — Jenn on April 5, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn
    Do you have the recipe whipping cream for cakes?

    • — Fanny on March 11, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Fanny, are you referring to a whipped cream topping? If so, you can find a basic recipe here. 🙂

      • — Jenn on March 12, 2020
      • Reply
  • Perfection. I made it with the ganache from your Flourless Almond Chocolate Cake recipe, and served with whipped cream or ice cream. I am considering making the almond cake tomorrow – I assume it has a bit lighter texture? Which recipe is your favorite?

    • — Natalie on February 21, 2020
    • Reply
    • Glad it turned out well, Natalie! They are equally good (the other has a nutty flavor) but this one is SO much easier. I’d probably stick with this one.

      • — Jenn on February 21, 2020
      • Reply
      • Hi Jenn, first let me say that I have used many of your recipes and we have loved every single one of them.
        I’m going to make this cake but would like to spice it up a bit. I bought the most interesting sugar the other day. Fine sugar with Mexican chocolate and a little bit of chipotle added. Not sure how much to use, I was thinking maybe a tsp or two. Your thoughts?

        • — Bonnie Anderson on July 1, 2020
        • Reply
        • So glad you like the recipes! Sounds like an interesting sugar — I think 2 teaspoons would be a good way to start. I’d love to hear how it turns out. 🙂

          • — Jenn on July 1, 2020
          • Reply
  • Hi! I have made the cake and it looks delicious! Do you think I could blowtorch instead of oven bake the top? Thank you!

    • — Amelia on February 15, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Amelia, I think I’d probably still bake the meringue topping but you could pull it out of the oven 2 to 3 minutes early and then blow torch it to give it more color. Hope that helps and that you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 18, 2020
      • Reply
    • Hi Jenn! Making your onion braised brisket for tomorrow’s Seder… Would love to make this for dessert. Any suggestions as what I could substitute for cream of tartar? Thanks so much!

      • — Ally on April 7, 2020
      • Reply
      • Yes, you can use an equal amount of lemon juice or white vinegar. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

        • — Jenn on April 7, 2020
        • Reply
        • Can you use a blender to whip the meringue?

          • — Liv on May 3, 2020
          • Reply
          • Unfortunately, a blender won’t work here — sorry!

            • — Jenn on May 4, 2020
      • Hi Jenn, I just wanted to thank you again for sharing all the wonderful recipes. As a recent update, I tried this cake recipe for my husband’s birthday (as he is a bit of a chocolate lover) and the first thing he said after taking a bite was, “oh my!” 🙂 Needless to say, the cake really helped make his birthday special!
        Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

        • — Noriko on April 19, 2020
        • Reply
        • You’re welcome — so glad he enjoyed it! 🙂

          • — Jenn on April 20, 2020
          • Reply
  • I am wondering if I can add lemon extract to the meringue? Also, how do you store the leftovers? Thank you!

    • — andrea on February 12, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Andrea, I’m not sure that lemon and chocolate would go very well together. And if you have leftovers, I’d store it covered at room temperature.

      • — Jenn on February 15, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I am thinking about making this for Valentine’s day. If I bake the cake the day before and then make the meringue topping the morning I’d like to serve it, will the meringue be okay by dinner time? I haven’t made this but am wondering if the meringue topping is like a seven minute frosting. The sugar in the seven minute frosting gets very grainy-like quickly and would prefer the meringue stay soft and smooth. Please let me know when you get a chance. Thanks!

    • — Barb on February 1, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Barb, you can make the chocolate portion of the cake ahead and add the meringue the day off but I’d try not to let the meringue sit on the cake for more than several hours. It shouldn’t get grainy but just won’t be at its best if you let it sit for too long. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on February 2, 2020
      • Reply
      • Hi. The recipe looks delicious!
        If I make the cake the day before, should I remove it from the pan and put it back in the pan when I’m doing the topping or just leave it in the pan overnight? Thank you!

        • — Anita on March 30, 2020
        • Reply
        • Hi Anita, You can leave it in the pan, but I think I’d unfasten the spring on the pan just to “unstick” it from the sides and then reseal it until you’re ready to add the meringue. Hope you enjoy!

          • — Jenn on March 31, 2020
          • Reply
          • I made the cake and it was fabulous and easy to do. Thank you!

            • — Anita on April 8, 2020
    • Would 6 hours be too long?

      • — Barb on February 12, 2020
      • Reply
      • I think 6 hours would be okay.

        • — Jenn on February 14, 2020
        • Reply
  • I love all your recipes! 🙂 I only have salted butter… could that work?

    • — Jen on December 28, 2019
    • Reply
    • Sure, Jen. While it varies by brand, most salted butter has approximately 1/4 tsp. salt per stick, so you can use the salted butter and reduce the salt in the recipe as needed. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on December 30, 2019
      • Reply
  • This is an awesome cake. Everyone loves it; even my super picky doesn’t eat dessert gluten free husband. I never bother with the topping; if I put in a little more effort I’d dust the top with confectioner’s sugar. If we have company I buy good ice cream to accompany. Bakes up fine in a 9 inch pie pan. Tolerant of the crappy oven here in our rental. Almost one bowl, need a second for the eggs. Everything else mixes up in a 2 cup pyrex measure. Add vanilla, cinnamon, what you like …

    • — Not A Baker on December 25, 2019
    • Reply
  • Jenn-do you think the topping for your pavlova would work on the flourless chocolate cake?

    • — Patti M. on December 9, 2019
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on December 10, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I am not serving this cake until tomorrow. Should I refrigerate it?
    Thanks,
    Erin

    • — Erin casey on October 1, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Erin, You don’t need to refrigerate it; I’d leave it out at room temp. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 1, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! This cake looks wonderful, and I am planning on making it for tomorrow.

    Could I substitute something for the cream of tartar? And would it be okay to add the meringue in the morning, when I will be serving it in the afternoon?

    The host is making pavlova (one of the guests has celiac disease), and I am unsure if I should include the Swiss meringue topping or if it will be too similar to the other cake. Do you think it has a different enough texture/taste?

    • Hi Elise, I don’t think it will be too similar to pavlova, but since you can’t use the cream of tartar, I’d suggest topping the cake with lightly sweetened whipped cream instead of meringue. It will be just as good and that solves both concerns. 🙂

      • Thank you for the response, Jenn! I settled on a sprinkle of powdered sugar on top and some strawberries for decoration, since there was plenty of whipped cream with the pavlova. I think I would like to serve it with vanilla ice cream next time (my favourite with intense chocolate desserts), but it was certainly delicious enough without anything extra. I’m excited to try the Swizz meringue another time I want to impress, it looks stunning!

  • This was a delicious ending to our Passover Seder. It was very easy to make and the heated meringue was beautiful a delicious. This is a great recipe to use year round!

  • I have a recipe for a Fallen Flourless Chocolate Cake which is made in 3 steps, in 3 different bowls, plus the springform pan, etc.—very light and chocolatey but time consuming to make so I keep it for special occasions. This recipe made the perfect GF cake, was so simple to put together and has a great chocolate taste and crumb (I used my best chocolate). This will be my go-to GF chocolate cake from now on. I always serve these types of cakes with lightly sweetened whipped cream and sprinkles if there are kids around.

Add a Review or Question

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.