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Jan 17, 2007 01:08 AM

What Makes a Good Flourless Chocolate Cake?

Flourless chocolate cake seems to either taste either two ways -

1) Dry, almost to the point of crumbling. Tastes okay, but nothing exciting
2) Moist, rich, smooth - like fudge or a very thick cheesecake.

I've never made flourless chocolate cake, but I would love to understand what makes a cake like #1 or a cake like #2. I'd love to make and eat #2.


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  1. It needs to be like the Zuni Cafe (San Francisco) Gateau Victoire.

    Honestly, if no one had told me, I would't have thought it was flourless. It was a little more dense than the average chocolate cake, but certainly nowhere near as dense as cheesecake/fudge.

    The benefit to having no flour, in this case, was that the chocolate was less diluted.

    We shared this and a bunch of desserts, and several among us commented that they had finally been converted into flourless chocolate cake fans.


    5 Replies
    1. re: Pei

      Yes, this is the only flourless choc cake I've really ever liked! As others have said, great ingredients are key. Zuni's is also baked gently in a water bath. I have the recipe somewhere and will post it when I find it...

      1. re: Carb Lover

        Did you post it? I'd love to have that recipe!

        1. re: Carb Lover

          dear Carb Lover,

          Did you ever find the recipe for Zuni's choc flourless cake? Please pass it on if you did. thanks.

          I found it online:

        2. re: Pei

          What ingredients does this one use? I've had quite a few, including the Cooks Illustrated one. While the first bite is good, it's almost too much for a whole slice. I haven't had one where I wanted more than a couple of bites (not that that's a bad thing).

          1. re: Pei

            The Zuni cake is by far the best flourless chocolate cake I've ever eaten. The texture is very nice (not dense/fudgy, more bubbly). Found a recipe for it in Julia Child and Company and tried it, but wasn't overly happy with my rendition. Will try this one again for next chocolate occasion! Thanks v much.

          2. It's in the chocolate,butter and cream.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Quine

              Precisely. Ingredients, first: Belgian Callebaut bittersweet chocolate, coffee, lots of eggs and heavy cream. After that, flawless technique: chocolate melting, beating of eggs, water-bath baking, timing.

            2. Gotham Bar and Grill's warm choclate cake is amazing
              high quality bittersweet chocoate, high quality unsweetened chocolate, brewed coffee, eggs, sugar, heavy cream.

              It is amazing! You make it, bake it, wrap it and refrigerate it overnight and then cut it while chilled. Then you re-wrap it and refrigerate or freeze it. Then, you put it back in the oven, still wrapped in plastic, on a very low setting. It stays there for between 30 minutes and 3 hours and then is rady to serve.

              It is moist and fudgy and delicious!

              3 Replies
              1. re: roxhills

                Would you happen to have the recipe for the Gotham Bar and Grill flourless chocolate cake. I know that it is in one of Alfred Portale's cookbooks, but I haven't had a chance to purchase the book. I adore his cake and so do my teenagers

                1. re: LA1PP

                  my 3 little ones are home this week on break. I'll try to post it when I have some spare time.

                  1. re: LA1PP

                    I just found this online. There is another step that involves chilling it and re-heating it. You may want to see if you can find it at the library...

                2. As Quine said, you absolutely must use high quality ingredients: organic everything, except the chocolate. I've been very disappointed in what passes for organic chocolate; most of it is inedible IMO. If you are near a Williams Sonoma, go buy the most expensive, highest cocoa percentage, dark chocolate they carry (Scharfenberger and Valrhona are two of the best), and if your recipe calls for cocoa powder, do not use the Dutch version; the alkali ruins the chocolate flavor.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: SDgirl

                    OMG how did we ever survive without "organic" ingredients?
                    I can attest to the fact that, circa 1945, we were able to prepare some very good recipes and "organic" wasn't even a part of the cook's vocabulary.

                    1. re: todao

                      The chemical fertilizer industry took off after WWII I believe, ingredients were fairly organic in and of themselves at the time, no?

                  2. In the Cake Bible, the Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte.

                    The secret to any of these is in the chocolate. Don't skimp and buy Hershey's Special Dark. Go high end. Because many of these recipes have very few ingredients, it is important that they be good.