Chocolate…. If there was any ingredient that gets my attention quickly, it has to be chocolate! Rich and decadent, chocolate has the power to transform any sweet into something familiar, even luxurious. With that in mind, I wanted to tweak one of my favorite old recipes – one that works for Easter and Passover; a classic flourless chocolate cake. With it’s crunchy, almost brownie-like outside, and moist inner crumb, this gluten-free flourless chocolate cake is divine! Perfect for a decadent dessert, or a lovely option for grain-free friends, this easy cake is complimented by the chocolate-boosting flavor of espresso! This is a restaurant-quality dessert that is sure to become a regular on your table! This How To Make An Espresso-Flavored Flourless Chocolate Cake with a luscious, velvety texture that is perfect for any occasion!
What Ingredients Do I Need To Make a Flourless Chocolate Cake?
To bake up this flourless chocolate cake, you need just a few simple key ingredients. The main component is rich dark chocolate. 60% Cacao is ideal! Choosing the highest quality chocolate (like Ghirardelli or Valrhona) really makes a huge difference in this recipe; don’t skimp out on the good stuff! I also prefer to use salted butter, instead of traditional unsalted, which brings more richness to the cake batter.
You will also need sugar and eggs– but be sure that these ingredients are at room temperature before beginning the recipe. I’ve added vanilla sugar, but this is optional, and you can substitute 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract instead. Finally, let’s not forget the instant espresso coffee powder! Espresso powder is a wonderful way to boost the incredible flavor in this flourless cake recipe without overpowering the other supporting ingredients.
- 60% cacao bittersweet baking chocolate
- Salted butter
- Large eggs, separated into yolks & whites
- Espresso powder
- Vanilla sugar or pure vanilla extract
- Edible flowers such as violets, pansies, and chamomile flowers
- Raspberry coulis & whipped cream for topping
What is Bittersweet Chocolate?
Bittersweet chocolate is a type of dark chocolate that has about 60-70% cocoa solids, while most other types of baking chocolate bars have significantly less cocoa solids, and more added sugar. As the amount of cocoa solids, also called cocoa “liquor” increases, the chocolate flavors become more intense and concentrated on the palate. The texture and flavor can be compared to the very popular semisweet chocolate that you can find at any grocery store, and many home bakers will use both types of chocolate interchangeably. Whether in bar or morsel form, Bittersweet chocolate is the most popular type of dark chocolate, and can be used to make many different desserts, including cakes, cookies, and candy truffles!
Tools and Equipment
This gluten free chocolate cake looks super fancy, but it requires only a few basic kitchen tools that you probably already have in your pantry! You will need a 9 inch springform cake pan, a stand mixer or hand held mixer (for beating the egg whites), 2 large mixing bowls, a whisk, a spatula, and a large piece of parchment paper to line the pan. Using a springform pan is crucial for baking this cake! Because we are omitting the flour from this brownie-esque cake, the structure of the pastry is much more delicate. A spring pan allows us to bake the flourless chocolate espresso cake as normal, but the convenient snap off pan edge lets us transfer the finished cake from pan to stand with minimal cracking.
Does Flourless Chocolate Cake Have Gluten?
The simple answer to this question is no! Made without flour or leavening, we are instead relying on the folded beaten stiff egg whites to create the “lift” in this recipe. As the cake bakes, it will rise significantly in the oven as the egg whites cook. Once cooked and cooled, the structure will fall a bit, and create the gorgeous cracks, and dense, chocolatey interior. Chocolate flourless cakes are a beautiful grain free alternative to traditional chocolate cake recipes!
Toppings For This Cake
There are so many different options to top your chocolate espresso cake! You could opt for a classic icing, or try something a little more adventurous, like a homemade raspberry coulis, or vanilla whipped cream. You could even sift a mixture of cocoa powder and espresso powder over the top for a simple garnish. This will give the cake an extra layer of flavor! Topped with a cloud of whipped cream and edible fresh flowers… it will look even more tempting to your amazed dinner guests!
Coffee Desserts Balance Sweetness and Richness
Chocolate and espresso are a match made in heaven! A lot of chocolate desserts can be incredibly rich, and almost overwhelmingly sweet. But, when you pair a chocolate flourless cake recipe with espresso powder, the flavors become heightened, and the lightly floral hints of the coffee cut through the decadent cocoa notes. Not only does it have an amazing flavor profile, but it’s also ridiculously easy to make. If you’re looking for something that will impress your guests, but not drive you crazy in the kitchen, this is definitely the recipe for you!
What is Espresso powder?
Baking and cooking with espresso powder is a great way to add zippy coffee flavors to your desserts! Found in the coffee aisle, espresso powder is made from finely ground coffee beans that have been fully brewed into espresso, freeze-dried, and then ground into a fine powder. This is a great ingredient for adding coffee flavor to any baking recipe, without out adding extra liquid that could throw off your ratios.
The amount of espresso powder you use will depend on how strong you want the flavor to be. I’ve added 2 tablespoons to my recipe, but if you prefer a ‘sweeter’, rather than more ‘chocolatey’ flavor, you can halve the amount and it won’t affect the chemistry. Cooking with espresso powder is easy- just add it to your recipe as you would any other spice!
Does Flourless Chocolate Cake Need To Be Refrigerated?
This recipe for flourless chocolate cake does not require any refrigeration! The cold air from the fridge can ruin the cake’s texture after a few hours in the chiller! Storing at room temperature lets the cake flavors have a bit of time to meld and mellow. The good thing is that this cake freezes really well, if you do it quickly! Wrap in several layers of tight plastic wrap, and freeze completely. Thaw for a few hours at room temperature before serving, and you have a marvelous dessert at your fingertips!
Why this Recipe Works so Well!
This recipe for gluten free chocolate cake with espresso is flourless and doesn’t require chemical leaveners like baking soda or baking powder. This is due to the whipped egg whites, which provide structure to the cake, so there’s no need for additional leaveners.
This chocolate and coffee cake can serve 8-10 people very easily. Super rich on the inside, and crispy on the outside, this chocolate cake has an amazing texture that will keep you going back for more!
If you are trying to stay dairy-free or find yourself needing a parve cake, you can also make this recipe with non dairy fats. Organic coconut oil is a great substitute for the salted butter, and you can’t detect any added coconut flavor from the oil! This recipe is also a great way to use up leftover egg whites from making lemon curd – just add a few yolks and you’re good to go.
This gluten free chocolate cake is an easy and impressive dessert that is perfect for any occasion! An excellent chocolate dessert for Mother’s Day or even Valentine’s Day too!
Tips for Making the Perfect Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
If you follow these points, you’ll be well on your way towards making the perfect gluten-free chocolate cake!
When it comes to gluten free chocolate cake, there are a few things you can do to ensure that your cake turns out great every time;
- Be sure that you use the right ingredients. Use the best quality ingredients that you can!
- Measure your ingredients very carefully. Baking is science, and making slight adjustments to the measurements of your ingredients can result in a cake that is either too dry, or too gooey. A handy digital kitchen scale or precise measuring, with a measuring cup and spoons, will ensure that your recipe turns out perfectly!
- Do not over blend the egg whites! Over mixing the egg whites in the batter can cause the cake to become dense and hard. Your goal is simply to incorporate the majority of the beaten egg whites, to keep your cake light and crisp on the outside, but moist on the inside.
Why You’ll Love This Flourless Chocolate Cake
This flourless chocolate cake is everything a dessert should be: dense and chocolatey, with a moist, fudge-like texture, more ‘brownie’ than molten lava cake. Plus, the garnish options on top of the cake are endless! The best part is that it can be made in under an hour! So whether you’re an experienced baker or just starting out, this recipe is easy to follow, and definitely a great option if you are in a dessert pinch. Made with just 6 easy to find ingredients, this is a stunner of an espresso cake!
Variations of gluten free chocolate cake
There are so many variations you can try for this flourless chocolate cake!
- Swap out the vanilla extract for almond extract to give the flourless chocolate espresso cake a richer bakery style flavor.
- Play even more with extract flavors! Try coconut extract, or even a drop or two of peppermint, to give your cake an extra kick!
- Try substituting coconut oil or margarine for the butter, to make this cake dairy free.
- Top with a dark chocolate ganache, instead of a berry sauce.
More Chocolate Desserts To Enjoy
If you’re looking for something a little more decadent, why not try these delicious Lemon White Chocolate Truffles? They’ll satisfy your sweet tooth with their creamy lemon centers, and crisp dark chocolate coating!
If chocolate cookies are more your style, then check out my Double Dark Chocolate Cookie recipe. It’s rich and chocolaty, and it’s sure to please everyone at your table! Plus, they make for amazing ice cream cookie sandwiches!
This Blueberry Curd Tart with Chocolate Cookie Crust is great alternative to traditional blueberry pie- it’s made with fresh or frozen blueberries, a ground chocolate cookie crust, and topped with fresh berries & flowers.
Rich Homemade White Hot Chocolate with Peppermint Whipped Cream, is the perfect winter treat!
Pressed for time? This no bake Chocolate Trifle with Raspberries and Champagne Cream is the perfect quick & elegant dessert, and you never need to turn on your oven!
Dark Chocolate Espresso Flourless Cake with Edible Flowers
- 1 Springform Pan
- 1 mixer
- 8 ounces 60% cacao bittersweet baking chocolate I prefer Ghirardelli
- 6 tablespoons + more to grease the pan salted butter Cold & Cubed
- 6 large eggs Separated into Yolks & Whites
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons espresso powder
- 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
- Preheat your oven to 275F and place a rack in the middle position
- Prepare your springform pan; Cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the inner section of the pan and insert. Grease the edges and parchment paper with butter. Reserve.
- Separate your eggs into two separate bowls; one containing the yolks and the other the egg whites. Reserve.
- Roughly chop the bittersweet baking chocolate and add to a large microwave safe bowl, along with the remaining cubed salted butter.
- Melt the butter & chocolate together in 30 second intervals on high heat, in the microwave. Stirring with a fork between each heating. Melt until smooth (about 4 intervals). Let cool slightly.
- Next, you will whisk in the egg yolks into the melted chocolate mixture, until combined. Now, add the espresso powder to the chocolate and mix until incorporated. Reserve.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or using a hand held mixer and a large bowl) we will beat the egg whites on high, until soft peaks are formed. The egg whites should be white, but still airy and "floppy", when they reach the soft peak stage.
- Lower the mixer speed and gradually add the vanilla sugar + regular sugar to the egg whites. Return to high speed and beat until stiff peaks are formed. You want to beat until glossy & white. Test the stiffness by dip a spatula into the egg whites; you should be able to pull out the spatula with a dollop of egg white that stands straight and doesn't sag.
- Take 1/4 of the egg whites and whisk to incorporate into the chocolate/egg yolk mixture.
- Using a rubber spatula, add the remaining beaten egg whites to the bowl and carefully fold into the batter. You want most of the egg whites to mix into the chocolate, but not mix so vigorously that the airiness of the egg whites dissolves.
- Next, gently scrape the chocolate batter into the prepared spring form pan. Lightly smooth the top and even out the layer.
- Bake for 45 minutes. The cake will rise significantly, but then fall quite a bit after you remove from the oven. Don't panic! This is exactly what makes this fudge cake so special.
- Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
- Remove from the springform pan and transfer (carefully!) to a cake plate or cake stand, using two sturdy spatulas. The parchment paper should help create a stronger base.
- Serve with a raspberry coulis and vanilla whipped cream, or your favorite ice cream or gelato.