Flourless Chocolate Cake
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This gluten-free flourless chocolate cake is a crowd-pleaser for all occasions and ages.
Everyone needs a good flourless chocolate cake recipe. Not only is the it ideal for those following a gluten-free diet, but it’s also perfect for Passover since it contains neither flour nor leavening. Though the cake looks fancy topped with pillowy whipped cream and chocolate curls, it’s actually quick and easy to make. With one bowl and an electric hand mixer, you can whip up the batter in 15 minutes. As the cake bakes, the edges and top develop a crisp, cracked crust while the center remains fudgy and brownie-like.
If you’d prefer to top the cake with meringue instead of whipped cream, see this similar flourless chocolate cake with a marshmallowy meringue topping. To see how to make those beautiful chocolate curls, click here.
What You’ll Need To Make Flourless Chocolate Cake
Step 1: Make the Cake
In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave until hot and foamy (careful not to boil it, or it will splatter all over your microwave).
Add the chocolate and espresso powder.
Whisk until the chocolate is 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 granulated sugar to the melted chocolate mixture.
Using an electric mixer, beat on low speed until well combined, about 30 seconds. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on low speed between each addition for about 20 seconds.
After all of the eggs are incorporated, quickly beat in the vanilla.
Add the sifted cocoa powder.
Mix on low speed until evenly incorporated.
Pour the batter into a greased springform pan.
Bake for 32 to 35 minutes, or until the cake is puffed and set (it will likely crack a bit on top; that’s normal and part of the charm of the cake). It’s a little tricky to test for doneness, but if you insert a toothpick or cake tester into the center of the cake through one of the cracks, you should get wet crumbs.
Let the cake cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then remove the ring on the springform pan and allow the cake to cool completely. It will deflate a bit in the center as it cools.
Step 2: Make the Topping
No more than 3 hours before serving, make the topping. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or beaters), whip the heavy cream until slightly thickened and then sprinkle the confectioners’ sugar over the cream.
Beat until soft, pillowy peaks form. Do not overbeat. (Alternatively, the whipped cream can be beaten by hand in a deep mixing bowl with a whisk.)
Dollop and swirl the whipped cream decoratively over the cake.
Sift a bit of cocoa powder over the cream and decorate with chocolate curls (if using).
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Flourless Chocolate Cake
This gluten-free flourless chocolate cake is a crowd-pleaser for all occasions and ages.
For the Cake
- 1½ sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder/instant espresso (optional, for a more intense chocolate flavor)
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted (see note)
For the Topping
- 1½ cups heavy whipping cream, cold
- 3 tablespoons Confectioners' sugar
- Cocoa powder and/or chocolate curls, for decorating
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave until hot and foamy (careful not to boil it, or it will splatter all over your microwave). Add the chocolate and espresso powder (if using), and whisk until the chocolate is 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 granulated sugar to the melted chocolate mixture. Using an electric mixer, beat on low speed until well combined, about 30 seconds. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on low speed between each addition for about 20 seconds. Quickly beat in the vanilla. Add the cocoa powder and mix on low speed until evenly incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 32 to 35 minutes, or until the cake is puffed and set (it will likely crack a bit on top; that's normal and part of the charm of the cake). It's a little tricky to test for doneness, but if you insert a toothpick or cake tester into the center of the cake through one of the cracks, you should get wet crumbs. Let the cake cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then remove the ring on the springform pan and allow the cake to cool completely.
- No more than 3 hours before serving, make the topping. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or beaters), whip the heavy cream until slightly thickened. Sprinkle the confectioners' sugar over the cream and beat until soft, pillowy peaks form. Do not overbeat.
- Dollop and swirl the whipped cream decoratively over the cake. Sift a bit of cocoa powder over the cream and decorate with chocolate curls (if using).
- 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.
- Make-Ahead Instructions: The base of the cake can be made up to one day ahead of time and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator. Allow the cake to come to room temperature before topping with whipped cream and serving. Leftover cake can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (bring to room temperature before serving).
- Per serving (12 servings)
- Serving size: 1 slice
- Calories: 401
- Fat: 29 g
- Saturated fat: 18 g
- Carbohydrates: 35 g
- Sugar: 31 g
- Fiber: 2 g
- Protein: 5 g
- Sodium: 45 mg
- Cholesterol: 149 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.
Hi! I’m really excited to try this recipe?
How long should I cook it if I have an 8 inch pan?
Hi Trudie, I’d start checking for doneness at 35 minutes. Hope you enjoy!
I love your recipes! To accommodate a guest who is diabetic, could I sub the chocolate with a sugar free version and replace the sugar with allulose? Thanks.
Hi Tina, so glad you like the recipes! You could certainly give it a try; I wish I could help but I’m honestly not sure how the cake will turn out with both of those alternatives. If you do try it, I’d love to hear what you think!
Hi I made this last night for our passover dinner later this week. Mine came out very flat (I know you said it would sink a bit so maybe this is how it should be) and I know because it’s flourless it’s not going to rise much but hoping I didn’t mess anything up! I did put the springform pan on a sheet pan in the oven to avoid any possible dripping. Would that affect the baking? It smells delicious and I am sure it will taste great too! Thanks for all of your amazing recipes – I have been using them for so many years.
Hi Michelle, I’m sure it’s fine (and the baking sheet wouldn’t have had an impact). Enjoy!
Can the flourless chocolate cake be frozen after it is baked and cooled? Thank you.
If I multiply the ingredients by 1.25% can I use a 10 inch springform pan and cook it about 25% longer? Not sure how it would work with flourless cake batter.
Hi Janet, That should work. Please LMK how it turns out!
Can I use semi-sweet chocolate chips for this?
Hi Ann, I’d recommend sticking with the solid chocolate here – chocolate chips are made with stabilizers to help them retain their shape when heated, so they’re not the best option for this. Sorry!
This was so delicious! Is the cake ok to be kept out at room temperature in a closed container if it doesn’t have the topping on?
Yep (and glad you liked it)!
Hi Jenn – longtime fan here. Question – instead of using plain whipped cream here, what do you think about using the marscapone whipped cream from your chocolate pavlova recipe? Just curious. Thanks!
Hi Chithra, It should work very well. Enjoy! 🙂
I did add a few ounces of marscapone cheese to the whipped cream and I do think it came out well. Thanks!
Glad it came out nicely — thanks for reporting back!
This was delicious. When I make it again, and I will make it again :), I think I will try the oven at 340. My pan is darker metal, and I felt like the edges got a little too brown before the inside was ready. No one complained, though!
I made this for my birthday treat and it was awesome. We used whipped cream and garnished with fresh raspberries. Absolutely delicious! Thanks for another winner, Jenn!
This was the first time I’ve ever made flourless chocolate cake and it was luscious. Now I feel confident doing it for a crowd.
Since tonight it was just me and my husband (who loved it!) I’d like to freeze the remainder and pull it out when we want a treat. Do you have suggestions for freezing? And how far in advance should I take it out of the freezer?
Thanks for yet another fabulous recipe!
Hi Barbara, so glad you enjoyed the cake! While the base of the cake will freeze nicely, I’m afraid the meringue portion will not freeze well. If it’s going to go to waste, then you’ve got nothing to lose by giving it a try but not sure how the meringue will be once thawed. And when you’re ready to eat it, I’d switch it from the freezer to the fridge about 24 hours ahead of time. Just let it come to room temperature before eating. Hope that helps!
This tasted amazing and was super easy to make! I omitted the espresso so it wouldn’t leave me too wired if I had a slice in the evening. I also didn’t make the topping (it sounds delicious but I thought I’d save a few calories).
I made this for my son’s 18 birthday and he loved it. Everyone enjoyed the cake. I served with fresh strawberries on the side.
What size pan?? Thank you!
Hi CC, You’ll need a 9-inch springform pan. Hope you enjoy!
The recipe calls for Dutch processed cocoa powder – is this required or can I use cocoa powder?
It will work in this particular recipe but it won’t taste quite as good. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!
I made this for Mother’s Day for my dinner guests. It was the menu item my guests raved most about. My brother, who does not usually eat sweets, could not pass it up and he loved it. It is hands down the best chocolate cake I have ever made! I have added it to my recipe box ❤️. Thanks for sharing this winner Jenn!
Would it be possible to use brewed espresso rather than instant? Thanks so much- I LOVE all your recipes!
Hi Amelia, I don’t think it will make a difference in the flavor of the cake if you do that, so I’d just omit the espresso powder – it will still be delicious!
Love your blog, Jenn! It’s my go to when looking for a new recipe!
Could this recipe be converted to make mini cakes like in a muffin tin? If so, what would you suggest?
Hi Amanda, so glad you like the recipes! I haven’t tried it but do think you could bake this batter in a muffin tin. The bake time will depend on how much you fill the wells up. I’d start checking them at 15 to 20 minutes (but they may take longer). Please LMK how they turn out if you make them this way!
I tried it! While they tasted fantastic, I couldn’t get them out of the tins without destroying their appearance. Maybe if I used liners, but I think I’ll stick with the original recipe and just serve slices! Great recipe as is!
Good to know and sorry they were hard to get out of the pan – thanks for the follow-up (I’m sure other readers will appreciate that as well)!
This is just one more of your recipes I made. People thought it was beautiful and delicious.
Can you use parchment paper in a 9inch if you don’t have springform pan?
Hi Nicole, are you referring to a 9-inch round or square pan?
Do you have the recipe in metric units also? I’m in Australia and our measurements differ.
Hi Kim, I usually include them, but forgot to on this one — will do that today — stay tuned!
I’ve made a few different flourless chocolate cake recipes, and this is the best and easiest ever. As we were about to start baking we realized we only had natural cocoa, not Dutch-process, but it was still amazing and intensely chocolatey. Since we had a tiny group, we garnished slices individually with whipped cream and raspberries and refrigerated the leftovers. It was fantastic!
Jen, if I’d like to cut on sugar, can I add only half of the called amount?
How significantly will it impact the taste?
Hi Natalie, I wouldn’t cut the sugar by half; I’d use at least 3/4 – 1 cup. If you’d like to cut back on the sweetness, you could reduce the Confectioners’ sugar in the whipped cream. Hope that helps and that you enjoy!
Wow! This cake is fantastic. Very easy to make and it is addictive. I’ve made two in the last two weeks. Lol. You will love it. It has a flavor that will stay with you and make you want to make it often. Try it and I promise you won’t be dissapointed. Thanks so much.
This was the first thing I baked in my new oven! It was delicious. It got rave reviews from everyone for the presentation and the taste. It was quick to mix up. I love a recipe that produces WOW results with little effort:)
Can I use instant medium roast coffee if I dont have espresso? Thanks!!
This cake came out perfectly, Jenn! We like a slight mocha flavor, so I doubled the espresso powder. Thank you for the link to the chocolate curls. They made the cake look so professional!
I would like to make this flourless cake for my gluten free mother, whom also can not tolerate coffee. While the espresso is noted to be optional, I want to maintain the chocolate flavor. Any suggestions?
Hi Kathy, It will still taste very chocolatey without the espresso powder, but you could add some extra chocolate curls on top to boost the chocolate flavor.
Can I substitute Hersheys special dark cocoa which is Dutch process in this recipe? I’m having trouble finding the Dutch process cocoa.
Nice! If you enjoy brownies, this recipe won’t disappoint you.
Could this be made dairy free(vegan) as well? Thank you for all of your great recipes!
Unfortunately with the butter, the eggs and the whipped cream, I don’t think this would translate well to a vegan recipe. Sorry!
should the eggs be room temp? or does that not matter?
It doesn’t matter. Hope you enjoy!
This looks delicious. Do you think it can be made the day before serving without the topping? I’d add the topping upon serving. If so, would it be stored overnight in the refrigerator or at room temperature? HAPPY PASSOVER.
Hi Ilene, You can definitely make the cake a day ahead and store in the fridge; just bring to room temp before serving.
What is the size of the springform?
Hi Luanne, It’s a 9-inch pan.
Could you add some boozy prunes to this, or would they sink to the bottom?
Also, could the cake be frozen?
Hi Kate, I wouldn’t recommend it. If you’d like to include them, I’d serve them on the side. And, I think you could freeze it, but be gentle with it as the top is a bit delicate. Hope you enjoy!
What adjustments are needed to make this at high altitude?
Hi Kathy, I don’t have experience baking at high altitudes so, unfortunately, I don’t have any wisdom to share – I’m sorry! You may find these tips helpful though. Hope you enjoy if you make it!