Over the summer, I spent some time up in Canada visiting my family, an annual tradition of relaxing beach days, big, boisterous family affairs, and long hikes through the forests and along the coastlines. This year, we also had the fortune to visit just in time for my stepfather’s sixty-first birthday—an occasion that, obviously, needs a cake of some sort, and that I, of course, volunteered/was ordained to oversee.
My stepfather, Johnny, loves chocolate, so it was a given that our dessert would be centered around that. And since this year we decided to celebrate with a picnic at the beach, I needed something we could transport and easily keep chilled.
I opted for this incredibly simple flourless chocolate cake, which uses only five ingredients and is served with freshly whipped cream and a scatter of raspberries. It’s effortless to prepare and takes less than half an hour to cook. For logistical purposes, I was even able to serve it directly from the glass pie dish I baked it in, and yet it was still special.
I love this cake for so many reasons. I already mentioned a few: it’s simple to prepare, quick to throw together, and contains only a handful of ingredients. Then there’s the deep, rich, chocolate flavor. And it’s also easy to drastically reduce the sweetener content, making it the ideal indulgence for those seeking a reduced glycemic load. Though the sweetener adds the density and chewiness I look for in a flourless cake, and reducing it by too much creates more of a crumbly texture, I’ve had luck bringing it down by as much as 50 percent while still leaving everyone raving and not knowing any different. Like all my baking recipes, I try to keep the tastes of my diners in mind and adjust accordingly.
This cake can be served warm, if you like, or chilled. I prefer it cold, especially when I reduce the sugar by a lot, as the chocolate and butter have time to solidify, giving me that dense, almost pate-like texture I love. Serve alone for a quick chocolate treat or add fresh whipped cream for a light, refreshing complement. A fruit puree or coulis is another lovely addition. For added indulgence, you could top with chocolate ganache or an icing of your choice.
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Makes 1 (8-inch) cake in springform pan or pie dish, as seen
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20–30 minutes
4 oz. unsweetened dark chocolate
½ cup butter
¼ cup cocoa powder
¾ cup coconut palm sugar or other sweetener of your choosing
Whipped cream and fresh fruit, to serve (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease an 8-inch springform pan or pie dish. Dust with cocoa powder or line with parchment paper. Set aside
- Melt butter and chocolate over a double boiler. Add sugar and heat through to dissolve. Remove from heat. Whisk in cocoa powder and eggs. Pour into prepared pan.
- Bake until puffed but center is still a bit jiggly (I liken the texture to cheesecake), about 15–20 minutes in a pie dish or 20–25 minutes in a cake pan (it’s better to slightly underbake than overbake).
- Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 15 minutes or so if using a springform pan, then remove outer ring and continue cooling. Or, if using a pie dish, allow to cool completely cool in the dish.
Image from Briana Goodall.