How to Make a Flourless Chocolate Cake Better Than Any Restaurant’s

Learn how to make flourless chocolate cake at home. This cake is special occasion-ready but takes just five ingredients—really!

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Flourless chocolate cake is one of those special occasion desserts. You see it on the dessert menu at your favorite steakhouse or served up at elegant parties. While this cake may seem poised for these celebratory occasions, it’s actually not too complicated to make right at home.

With just five ingredients, you can make this dessert yourself. It’s a great finish to any meal. Friends and family will be impressed (especially if you top it off with some ice cream). Plus, if you’ve got gluten-free guests, you don’t need to sweat—this treat is naturally gluten-free.

With some tips from our Test Kitchen, we’ll show you how to make this decadent cake yourself.

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Our Favorite Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe

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Our Test Kitchen’s go-to flourless chocolate cake recipe comes to us from reader Kayla Albrecht of Illinois. She says that this recipe is for serious chocoholics, and we agree.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 5 eggs, cold
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Step 1: Prep the Eggs

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Start by separating the eggs. Use an egg separator, a spoon or just the shells. Just be very careful not to get a single drop of yolk in the whites.

Once all your eggs are separated, let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Now, you might be wondering, why not just let the eggs come to room temp and then separate? Well, it’s easiest to separate the yolks from the whites when the eggs are cold, but the whites will whip up to their greatest volume at room temperature.

Step 2: Get the Oven and Pan Ready

Next, get your pan and oven ready. Since this cake batter relies on egg whites for all its lift, it’s important to have these ready so you can get it into the oven as quickly as possible.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF and grease a nine-inch springform pan—yep, even if it’s nonstick. It’s best to take every precaution with a delicate cake like this.

Step 3: Melt the Chocolate

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Next, start to melt the chocolate. Our Test Kitchen recommends placing a heat-safe bowl over a pan of simmering water and stirring the chocolate and butter gently until smooth and glossy. When completely melted, remove from the heat and let the mixture cool slightly.

Editor’s tip: Be mindful not to let any water or steam come into contact with the chocolate. This will cause the chocolate to seize and then there’s no saving it.

A few words here on your chocolate. When it comes to chocolate, use your favorite brand of semisweet chocolate in this recipe. With so few ingredients, quality really does stand out, so don’t scrimp!

Step 4: Beat the Egg Yolks and Chocolate

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Next, grab your hand mixer (a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment works, too) and beat the egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored. When you pull your beaters out of the bowl, the yolks should be ribbon-like (this is known as ribbon stage).

Gradually add in the cooled chocolate mixture and beat to combine.

Step 5: Beat the Egg Whites Until Stiff Peaks Form

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This is the magic step. Whipped egg whites are what gives this recipe its body, that oomph that makes the cake light and airy (and not just a giant block of chocolate).

In a separate clean, large bowl, combine the egg whites with the cream of tartar and start beating on medium speed until they are foamy.

Gradually add the sugar a tablespoon at a time. Continue beating on high after each addition until the sugar is fully dissolved. This gradual addition allows the sugar to incorporate into the whites without becoming gritty.

Editor’s tip: Cream of tartar is an acid that stabilizes the egg whites, helping them stay fluffy and tall without deflating. You don’t strictly need it, but it’ll help you out.

Keep beating the egg whites until they reach the stiff peak stage. You’ll know they’re ready when you lift the beaters out of the bowl and the whites stand straight up—no drooping or dripping into the bowl. To be absolutely sure, tilt the bowl—stiff egg whites won’t budge. One final test: Dip your finger into the mix to make sure the mix is satiny and smooth, not gritty—all the sugar should have dissolved.

Step 6: Fold Very Carefully

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Time to combine the chocolate mix with the egg white mix—the last step before baking! Don’t rush this step, as you want to preserve as much of the aeration you’ve beaten into those egg whites as possible.

To maintain as much of this air as possible, you’ll want to fold the mixtures together. To do this, add about a quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate and fold gently. Use a rubber spatula and gently scrape from the bottom of the bowl and fold the mixture over the top. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat—adding the remainder of the egg whites. Fold until just combined—don’t keep working this batter.

Editor’s tip: Better to err on the side of slightly undermixing than on overmixing. Overmixing can make the cake too dense, as you deflate the egg whites too much. Small pieces of egg white visible in the mix are OK.

Step 7: Bake

Carefully transfer the batter to your greased, nine-inch springform pan. Bake the cake in a 350° oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Some moist crumbs clinging to the toothpick are fine.)

Editor’s tip: You might notice a flaky, crackly top layer—this is normal! It’s actually a very thin layer of meringue that rises to the top and sets as the cake bakes. You might notice this with brownies or other recipes where beaten whites are folded into a chocolate mixture. It’s going to be delicate and crispy on the top and moist and fudgy in the center (also known as perfect).

Step 8: Cool and Dust with Confectioners’ Sugar

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This may be the hardest part. Let the cake cool completely in the springform pan set on a wire rack. When cool to touch, loosen the sides of the cake from the pan with a knife before removing the pan’s rim. If you want a little extra fancy touch, dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar before serving. Cut your delicious, indulgent cake and enjoy! Hungry for more? Next, try this no-bake chocolate ripple cake.

Test Kitchen tip: For the cleanest slices, dip your knife in hot water, wipe it clean with a dish towel and slice. Repeat the process for every piece and you’ll have restaurant-quality slices!

If you can’t finish this cake in a day, just pop under a cake dome or store slices in airtight containers and eat within a few days. It’s just as good on day two or three!

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Lindsay D. Mattison
Lindsay is a professional chef, recipe developer, writer and developmental editor. After years of working in restaurant kitchens, she turned to writing to share her skills and experience with home cooks and food enthusiasts. She's passionate about using local, organic ingredients and teaching others how to incorporate seasonal food into their diet. Lindsay still cooks professionally for pop-up events, writes for several publications and is the co-author of two books about Ayurveda.
Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa is also dedicated to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.