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Flourless Chocolate Cake with Tangy Vanilla Cream (Gluten Free)

September 16, 2013

flourless chocolate cake

If you’re going to come back to a cooking blog after more than six weeks away, come back with cake, I say. I’ve been away finishing the manuscript on my book (no, not a cookbook… ha!). I’m glad to have a little more leisure time to dedicate to the blogs.

When our dinner hosts the other night asked me to bring dessert, I was thrilled. Not only does making a dessert for a party provide an opportunity to do something special, but I know I can make something gluten-free for Elias to enjoy as well. I had a cake in mind I wanted to try but at the last minute realized it called for an eight inch pan. No can do. I am sort of a minimalist when It comes to baking: If I don’t have the proper pan, I don’t make the recipe. The internet is full of recipes to try, and I’m not the type to run right out for a pan just to make one recipe. So, it was back to square one. I knew I wanted some sort of chocolate gluten-free cake. My old standby is fantastic and easy to make, but I’ve made it a lot recently, and I was up for something new. I passed by a lot of gluten free chocolate cakes for being too high maintenance and taking time I simply didn’t have on Saturday. Many involved whipping up egg whites separately from the yolks, delicate folding in, blah blah blah. It’s the truth: sometimes you’re interested in whipping up eggwhites and gently folding them into a batter, and sometimes you’re not. Gotta roll with it. I digress.

This cake not only uses whole eggs, it uses one bowl for the cake and one bowl for the cream. Not only that, but the cake part requires only a whisk, not a mixer.

Before I get to the recipe, a few little helpful pointers in case you’re thinking about making this cake:

  • Don’t expect it to taste cakey. There’s no flour (of any kind) in it. It tastes dense and fudgy, kind of like an undercooked brownie. Very intense chocolate flavor. If that’s not sounding tasty, move right along.
  • Because of the aforementioned super duper fudgy and intense chocolate flavor, just a very small sliver will be satisfying, thus, I’d say this cake easily serves 8, and possibly 12 people.
  • The recipe called for a tangy whipped cream to go alongside it. When I was making the cream, I realized how much it resembled this cream. In retrospect, I wish I had made that cream instead of the cream that goes with it. Not only is that cream a little more interesting with the orange zest, but it also doesn’t require a mixer, and I could have made the whole darn dessert with no mixer. Give it a try and let me know how it goes. That’s the cream I’ll be making if I make this cake again.
  • Also, re: the cream — the addition of the sour cream makes it less stable and less fluffy. This caused me all kinds of worry when transporting it. (It was fine, but as I said, next time, I’ll do the other one.)
  • I made the mistake of trying to transfer this cake from the springform pan base to a serving platter. It ended up cracking and breaking and I had to smoosh it together on the plate. I wouldn’t say this cake can’t be transferred, but it should be transferred with a lot more care and grace than I displayed.

Okay! Without further ado… here it goes!

For the cake:

  • 2 sticks (1 C) butter, cut into pieces plus more for the pan
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for the pan
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-2 T confectioner’s sugar (for dusting)

For the vanilla cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (or creme fraiche if you’re fancy)
  • 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla

Make the cake: 

1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9 inch springform pan and dust with the cocoa powder. (I buttered only and did not dust with cocoa powder. It was fine.)

2. Melt butter, cream (1/4 cup of cream) over medium low heat until the butter is melted. Stir in the chocolate and keep stirring until chocolate is just melted. Be careful not to scorch or burn the chocolate. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool a bit.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, and cocoa powder. Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture.

4. Transfer the batter to the pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until the batter is puffed and set and cracked on top.

5. Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 1 hour before removing

6. Transfer to a plate (carefully!) and dust with the sugar.


1. Beat the heavy cream with the sour cream and sour cream until soft peaks form. (It helps to have the bowl of the mixer and the beater very cold). Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and continue to beat for 10 seconds more.

2. Serve the cake with the fresh cream and berries, if desired.

SONY DSCRecipe adapted from: Real Simple 

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