Flourless chocolate cake is the sort of dessert that should be on standby for everyone who likes to bake. By this, I mean that you should have all the ingredients you need to make this cake on hand at all times. I recommend this because this flourless chocolate cake is delicious, delivers a lot of rich chocolate flavor and happens to be extremely easy to make. On top of that, the cake can be served both warm or chilled (and is excellent both ways), so you can prepare it at the last minute before serving or well in advance. You really can’t ask for more that than in one recipe.
I’ve been making variations on this chocolate cake recipe, which originally came from an issue of Gourmet magazine, for several years now. It has just five ingredients, and the combination of dark chocolate and cocoa powder in the cake gives it a very intense chocolate flavor without requiring a huge amount of chocolate. The cake bakes quickly and can be turned out of the baking pan right onto a serving platter. It is not heavy (so you can eat it in bigger slices!), but it is fudgy and satisfying. It is excellent while it is warm, and at room temperature, and freezes very well if you want to save some for later. The cake itself is relatively thin, so if you a bigger cake, simply bake two layers and stack them up with some chocolate ganache or fresh fruit in between.
Use good quality chocolate for this recipe (I usually use Guittard). Semisweet, bittersweet and dark chocolate will all work very well, so taste the chocolate you are going to use and make sure you like the flavor because that will be the base of the cake. I use dutch process cocoa powder in this recipe because natural cocoa powder typically has a little more bitterness to it and I like the cake to taste as smooth as possible. That said, you can use either dutch process or natural cocoa powder in this recipe and will still get excellent results. I always add vanilla to my cake, but a splash of almond extract, peppermint extract or citrus oil can put a whole new twist on this cake, too.
Classic Flourless Chocolate Cake
(originally from Gourmet magazine, Nov. ’97)
4-oz dark or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder (pref. dutch process)
Preheat oven to 375F. Line an 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper and lightly grease.
In a small, microwave-safe bowl, melt together chocolate and butter, stirring with a fork until very smooth.
Pour warm chocolate mixture into a medium mixing bowl with sugar. Whisk to combine. Beat in eggs one at a time, waiting until each has been fully incorporated to add the next, then mix in vanilla extract. Sift cocoa powder into the bowl and whisk until well-combined.
Pour into prepared cake pan.
Bake for 25 minutes.
Allow cake to cool in pan for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the cake and invert onto a serving platter. Dust with cocoa powder, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers in an airtight container.