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best flourless chocolate cake recipe?

Hi Chowhound cooks,

I want to make a flourless chocolate cake for my friend and in researching recipes, I find that the ingredient amounts swing wildly from recipe to recipe....I can't get a grip on the best recipe.

For example, martha stewart's recipe calls for only 6 tablespoons of butter and 6 eggs....and Tyler florence's recipe calls for 1 stick of butter and 9 eggs...and another recipe I found called for 1 cup of butter (2 sticks) and 8 eggs.

I know baking is a science, but when I see recipes like these that seem to be all over the place, I can grasp which one would be best to go with.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. Well, what do you consider "best"? Do you like a fluffier cake or something that is more like a torte?

    Since I'm massively lazy, my favorite recipe is one that takes me about 20 minutes to make, including oven time. I consider that the best recipe ever. :) It's more like a dense torte than a flour-based cake.

    12 Replies
    1. re: cimui

      The dense torte sounds perfect! Look forward to seeing your recipe, and thanks for sharing!

      1. re: Lynndsey Rigberg

        Here you go. Apologies for not attributing the original Internet source off of which this recipe is based, since I can't seem to find it. This has been in my recipe files for about six years now and sees frequent use.

        Quick and Easy Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe

        - 12 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli 60% cacao bittersweet to good effect, I think; it's very intensely chocolately and not overly sweet)
        - 1/2 C. butter
        - 1/4 C. sugar
        - 1/4 C. strong freshly brewed coffee
        - 2 T. liqueur (Kahlua, Chambord, brandy... I've even used bourbon)
        - 3 eggs
        - cocoa powder for dusting

        Heat oven to 425°F. Butter 8-inch springform pan. The cake has a tendency to stick to the sides and bottoms of the pan, so a dusting of cocoa powder can be helpful.

        In medium glass bowl, combine chocolate, butter, 1/4 cup sugar, coffee and liqueur.

        Microwave on high 1-2 minutes until chocolate and butter are melted and smooth when stirred. (For my microwave, I check after the first minute and stir at the 1 minute, 1.5 minute and 2 minute markers.)

        Whisk in eggs until smooth and VERY well blended. (Whisk until past the point where you think it's well blended, since a stray albumen 'fiber' really ruins the texture.)

        Turn mixture into prepared pan. Bake 13-15 minutes.

        Cake will not completely set in middle. Sides should pull away slightly from pan. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold.

        I use a slightly warm butter knife to separate the cake from the sides of the pan before releasing if the cake hasn't pulled away from the sides of the pan enough. Dust with additional cocoa powder or powdered sugar if you like that aesthetic. (It's a good way to distract from cracks if you have any.)

        Makes 10 servings.

        1. re: cimui

          I haven't tried the above recipe, but wanted to comment that Alice Medrich (and other chocolate experts) tend to advise not to bake with chocolate chips (unless you are making, say, chocolate chip cookies), since they contain stabilizers that help them keep their shape. This detracts from the quality of the chocolate when melted, supposedly, so it would be better to use a high quality bar and cut it into chunks. If anyone can make this argument more scientific, have at it. I'm playing a bit fast and loose with the facts, I fear.

          1. re: bella_sarda

            I've used both in baking (chips were recommended by Julia Child at some point as well), as long as you aren't using low quality waxy chips they both work. Maybe not as exquisite results as high quality chocolate, but actually preferred by one of my friends who doesn't like supercharged intense chocolate.

            1. re: buttertart

              Well, now you are probably talking about changing two variables at the same time, since i suspect the cacao content of the "supercharged, intense chocolate" was likely higher than that of the chips. If you want less-intense chocolate, just use a lower cacao content, chips or not.

              1. re: bella_sarda

                I use every kind of good chocolate with variable percentages I can lay my hands on in my baking - from Bernachon to Trader Joe's store brands - and have used regular chocolate chips in flourless chocolate cake with success as well. If that's all that's to hand for whatever reason, they work. And as noted some people (benighted though they may be) prefer the "regular" chocolate taste of chocolate chips in such preparations.

            2. re: bella_sarda

              Thanks for that tip, bella! I frankly haven't noticed a difference, but then again I'm far from being a chocolate expert and haven't done a side-by-side comparison. I'll remember this for next time I have to make a chocolate dessert for capital "C" Company.

              1. re: cimui

                Here is the direct quote from Alice Medrich (from her excellent book "Pure Dessert"):
                Chocolate chips....are formulated with less cocoa butter than bar chocolate so that they hold their shape when baked. They are usually less smooth on the palate and relatively sweet compared with a fine bar of chocolate...I never use chocolate chips in place of bar chocolate for melting and mixing into batters, mousses, ice creams, or other desserts because they are much sweeter than I like and because they are formulated to hold their shape, so they do not melt well."

                So it wasn't stabilizers per se, but the lower cocoa butter content that impedes melting. Medrich says that she basically always prefers chopped chocolate to chips, even when making choc chip cookies, based on sweetness and mouthfeel, but that's personal preference.

                I personally recommend Scharffen Berger chocolate for baking. They have recipes targeted to their different bars, based on their cacao levels. I think that the 60% bar comes with a recipe for "Chocolate Orbit Cake", which was originally by David Lebovitz. I haven't made the cake but it looks very simple and if it's Lebovitz it's got to be good.

                1. re: bella_sarda

                  I do prefer good bar chocolate for baking, and agree that chips are generally sweeter, but I don't understand the comment about chips not melting well. I make only one regular recipe (other than toll house cookies) that uses them, a Passover dessert where you bake a layer of matzos in a sugar sauce to caramelize, then take it out of the oven, spread chips on top while it's still hot, and a few minutes later take a spatula and spread the chocolate evenly. They always melt easily and completely and are not grainy at all.

                  1. re: BobB

                    My experience as well, no problems with melting or with post-melting texture.

                  2. re: bella_sarda

                    I once made 2 flourless chocolate cakes (Rose Levy Beranbaum's Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte). http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/rec...
                    For one, I used Nestle's semi-sweet chips and the other used a broken up 70% cocoa Scharffen Berger bar. In a blind side-by-side taste test, nearly everyone at work (~25 workers at a gourmet deli) preferred the Nestle's to the Scharffen Berger. I suspect because the SB cake was both more bitter and less sweet.

              2. re: cimui

                I flew home from California on the red eye -- then went to work -- then had to come home to get ready to go to a seder. I had very little cooking time but wanted to bring a chocolate dessert. I usually do a flourless chocolate cake that has to cook for 1.25 -- but didn't have the time this time around. I tried this recipe and I wanted to report back that everyone really liked it. It was rich, dense and fudgy and so easy to make.

          2. I've not made it myself, as I don't eat sweets, but David Lebovitz's Chocolate Idiot Cake sounds like a really good one, and quick and simple to make. It contains 1- ounces chocolate, 7 ounces butter, 5 eggs and one cup of sugar. You can access it at his website:

            www.davidlebovitz.com

            5 Replies
            1. re: janniecooks

              David's cake is really good, and super easy. It's my go-to recipe.

              1. re: janniecooks

                Uh, that should read 10 ounces of chocolate, not one ounce.

                1. re: janniecooks

                  I made this last night, and really don't care for it. I used bittersweet Scharffen Berger, added a bit of coffee granules to kick up the coffee flavor because the batter tasted so bland. It was kind of an inferior version of a favorite recipe:

                  Boule de Neige:

                  10 oz semi sweet chocolate, chopped
                  1 cup sugar
                  2 ½ sticks butter
                  ¾ Cup strong coffee

                  Melt the above in a saucepan over hot not boiling water, then whisk in 4 beaten eggs.

                  Line mold with foil, pour in batter. Place mold in pan with 1 inch of water. Bake at 350 F for 1 ¼ hours (it will look loose). Refrigerate overnight. Unmold before serving, and cover with fresh whipped cream.

                  1. re: janniecooks

                    Figured it was a typo its 9z of chocolate. Made for thanks giving very very good thanks. Did stick to the bottom the pan but did not care...

                    dc

                    1. re: don515

                      I've never had it stick to the foil lining the pan, since it's almost all butter. But to avoid that in the future, you could dip it into warm water briefly before unmolding. Blemishes aren't so much of an issue, since you cover a multitude of sins with the whipped cream. :-) Glad you liked it.

                      My original recipe calls for 10 oz of chopped chocolate, I just checked it.

                  2. The Ottolenghi flourless chocolate cake is a winner in the denser division (although a bit fussy to make), and Dorie Greenspan's amaretti chocolate torte aka 15-minute miracle is excellent and since made entirely in the food processor, a snap to make.

                    1. My go-to recipe for my most chocoholic friend's birthday each year is Lora Brody's Bête Noir, from her book Growing Up on the Chocolate Diet.

                      It's flourless, really easy (uses a food processor) and so rich that a one-inch slice is plenty. I gild the lily by topping it with a dark chocolate ganache.

                      http://books.google.com/books?id=OyNj...