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Pure Chocolate Flourless Cake

October 3, 2018

Pure Chocolate Flourless Cake is excerpted from Rose’s Baking Basics © 2018 by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Photography © 2018 by Matthew Septimus. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

If you like your chocolate uninterrupted by flour or nuts, this cake is for you. It is based on one of the most beloved chocolate cakes in The Cake Bible, the chocolate oblivion truffle torte, so called because its dense, creamy texture is similar to a chocolate truffle. This new version, which is not baked in a water bath, is more reminiscent of a baked chocolate mousse. The egg whites are beaten separately into a meringue with extra sugar, which creates a lighter, moist interior and crackly crisp exterior

The cake will be a little over 1-and-1/2 inches high at the sides and will have a half-inch depression. Like the Flourless Chocolate Almond Cake (page 174 of Rose’s Baking Basics), it is also deliciously enhanced by a topping of softly whipped, lightly sweetened cream.

Pure Chocolate Flourless Cake

Serves: 8
Oven temperature: 350°F/175°C
Baking time: 30 to 40 minutes
Baking equipment: One 8 by 2-and-3/4-inch or higher springform pan (see Baking Pearls, page 178 of Rose’s Baking Basics), encircled with cake strips (see page xv of Rose’s Baking Basics), bottom coated with shortening, topped with a parchment round, then coated with baking spray with flour


  • 113 grams or 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 to 5 large eggs, separated:
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 227 grams or 8 ounces dark chocolate, 60% to 62% cacao, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 100 grams or 1/2 cup sugar, preferably superfine


Preheat the oven
•    Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Set the oven at 350ºF/175ºC.

Mise en place
•    About 1 hour ahead, set the butter and eggs on the counter at room temperature (65º to 75ºF/19º to 24ºC).
•    Thirty minutes ahead, weigh or measure the egg yolks into a medium bowl and the whites into the bowl of a stand mixer.
•    Add the vanilla to the egg yolks, whisk them together, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.

Make the batter
1.    In a large bowl set over hot, not simmering, water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water), melt the chocolate and butter, stirring often with a silicone spatula. Remove the bowl from the heat source.
2.    In the bowl of the stand mixer, fitted with the whisk beater, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-low speed until foamy. Gradually raise the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form when the beater is raised. Gradually beat in the sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised slowly.
3.    Detach the whisk and use it to fold one-quarter of the meringue into the egg yolk mixture to lighten it.
4.    Scrape the egg yolk mixture into the chocolate mixture and gently fold it in until almost fully incorporated.
5.    Gently fold in the remaining meringue in two parts. Finish folding with a large silicone spatula.
6.    Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly with an offset spatula. It will fill the pan by about half.

Bake the cake
7.    Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the cake is set but still looks moist inside any cracks that form on the surface. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 180ºF/82ºC.

Cool the cake
8.    Set the pan on a wire rack and allow it to cool completely. As it cools it will form a half-inch depression.

Unmold the cake
9.    Run a small metal spatula between the sides of the cake and the pan, pressing firmly against the pan. Release the sides of the springform pan but leave the cake on the pan bottom because it is too fragile to invert.
10.    If desired, shortly before serving, dust lightly with cocoa or powdered sugar, or fill the center with softly whipped, lightly sweetened cream (page 329).

Store airtight: Room temperature, 3 days; refrigerated, 5 days.

Baking Pearls:
•    The ratio of white to yolk in an egg can vary to such a degree that you may need 4 or 5 eggs for this recipe. It is therefore advisable to weigh or measure the separated yolks and add or reduce if needed.
•    If making this cake for Passover, omit the cream of tartar but take care to beat the egg whites only until almost stiff peaks form to keep them from breaking down. (The peaks should curve slightly when you lift the beater.) Also, use only nonstick cooking spray (without flour).
•    If your springform pan is higher than 2-and-3/4 inches, the surface of the cake will not crack until the cake is cooling.

Make this recipe your own: This cake has the most appealing shape baked in an 8-inch springform. If using a 9-inch springform, multiply all the ingredients by 1.25.