This flourless chocolate cake is baked with olive oil to create a really rich flavor and texture. It’s subtle, but pairs so well with the bittersweet chocolate in this cake. And because it’s flourless and sans butter, this cake is completely gluten free and dairy free. Not to mention how quick and easy it is to make! It’s ready to eat in under an hour, served warm with ice cream on top.
How does flourless chocolate cake hold together?
Since this cake contains zero flour, you might be wondering how it’s able to hold its shape and not melt everywhere.
Flourless chocolate cake gets is structure for two main ingredients: chocolate and eggs. The eggs help bind the entire cake together in two ways. One, the yolks add richness and help thicken the chocolate. Since the chocolate makes up a majority of the batter, the egg yolks help stabilize the cake.
Next are the egg whites. These are whipped into stiff peaks then folded into the batter. This not only helps hold the cake together, but also provides some lift to an otherwise super dense cake. In the end you’re left with a very stable cake that’s easy to slice and serve!
How to make this flourless chocolate cake recipe
The entire process takes about 20 minutes so this cake comes together super quick! To start off, separate the eggs. Add the yolks to a small bowl and the whites in a large bowl of a stand mixer or hand mixer.
To a heat safe bowl, add the chopped chocolate and olive oil. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water on the stove top. This will allow the chocolate to slowly melt and create a very smooth consistency.
Once the two are completely melted, remove the bowl from the pot and mix in espresso powder and vanilla extract. The espresso powder helps boost that chocolate flavor even more. You can’t taste it, but you can definitely tell when it cake doesn’t have it. Mixing it into the hot chocolate mixture helps it dissolve and blend seamlessly into the batter.
While the chocolate mixture cools, whip the egg whites that we separated earlier. With the whisk attachment of your stand mixer, whip on high speed for about 5 minutes. When the mixture starts to grow and thicken, slowly pour in 1/2 cup of granulated sugar. This helps stabilize the egg whites so they hold together really well.
Keep whipping until you reach stiff peaks. After the sugar is added, it stiffens pretty quickly.
Now you should have a bowl of melted chocolate, olive oil, vanilla, and espresso powder and then a bowl of whipped egg whites and sugar.
By the time the egg whites are done, the chocolate should be cooled enough to add the other 1/2 cup of sugar and the egg yolks. The chocolate must be cooled before adding these as we don’t have the sugar to dissolve or the eggs to scramble.
Mix in the egg yolks one at a time and you’ll notice the chocolate start to thicken quite a bit (first picture above). Once all the egg yolks are incorporated, take your rubber spatula and scoop two spoonfuls of the egg whites into the chocolate. Mix to combine. This is to help thin out the batter before adding the rest of the egg whites. If the batter is too heavy before then, it will deflate a lot of that air we’ve worked into the eggs.
Dump in the rest of the egg whites and gently fold to combine. As you’re folding, you’re going to think it will never come together. The batter will start to look a bit separated but just keep working at it. Soon it will transform into a smooth brownie batter consistency (first picture below).
Pour the batter into a 9″ springform pan and bake!
Tips for baking a single layer cake
I’ve found the best and easiest way to bake this cake is by using a springform pan. For easy release, spray the entire inside of the pan with non stick spray.
Remove the ring and place a sheet of parchment paper on the plate, sticking it to the nonstick spray. Firmly clamp the ring back onto the bottom plate to lock in the parchment paper. This makes it much easier to lift out the cake after it’s done baking.
The cake bakes at 350F for 20-25 minutes. When it’s ready, there should be very small cracks all around the edges and it should be evenly puffed in the center.
Remove the cake from the oven and leave it in the pan for about 15 minutes. As it cools, the cake will start to flatten and settle. And because of how sturdy this cake is, you can take the ring off and slice right into it while it’s still warm. It cuts like butter!
The importance of quality ingredients
I remember watching the Barefoot Contessa and rolling my eyes every thing she said to use “good quality” of any ingredient…but now I get it! Using quality ingredients completely transforms any dessert, especially this one.
Since this cake is so simple, there’s no hiding behind cheap chocolate. Try to use really good quality chocolate (Ghirardelli is a great option) and avoid using chocolate chips. Chocolate chips are often processed differently to prevent them from melting too quickly. For this cake, use baking squares to ensure a super smooth batter.
The same goes for olive oil. There are SO many options out there, but try to opt for a quality extra virgin olive oil. You’d be surprised by how much more flavor it has.
Can I use a different kind of chocolate?
Bittersweet chocolate is definitely best here. It creates a really deep and rich flavor that pairs so well with the olive oil. If you don’t have any on hand, semisweet is your next best option.
What can I use besides olive oil?
If you’re a little hesitant about baking with olive oil (trust me, it’s delicious), you can also use melted butter, melted coconut oil, or any milk flavored oil.
What to serve your cake with
The cake alone is like biting into a piece of dark chocolate. It’s rich but not too sweet. This basically leaves the cake as a blank slate for you to add your favorite sweet toppings!
I find that a dusting of powdered sugar completely transforms the flavor. The sweetness helps bring out the dark chocolate even more. But to take it a step further, I recommend serving up each slice with a nice scoop of ice cream. Any flavor would work here.
Another option, or addition to my last recommendation, would be to make some salted caramel to drizzle on top. I have my recipe here which is so easy to make. You could also add chocolate ganache or fresh berries on top.
How to store your cake
To be honest, this cake does not stick around long! Since it’s not too sweet, you’ll keep going back for more slices. But if you have any leftovers, it’s best to keep it in an air tight container in the fridge. It will keep there for up to 5 days.
When you want a slice, you can either eat it chilled or warm it up in the microwave for a couple seconds. It’s still delicious either way!
For more chocolate desserts, check out my:
- Gluten Free Chocolate Coconut Cake
- Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes
- Chocolate Strawberry Hi Hat Cupcakes
- Better than Boxed Chocolate Fudge Brownies
- Chocolate Cheesecake
Make sure to tag me @butternutbakery on Instagram and leave a review below if you make this Flourless Chocolate Cake. To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card, the buttons above or below this post, or on any of the photos above. Happy baking!Print
This flourless chocolate cake is baked with olive oil to create a rich and savory flavor. Top with ice cream, powdered sugar, or anything sweet to balance out the deep chocolate cake.
Flourless Chocolate Cake
- 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped*
- 1/2 cup (115g) extra virgin olive oil**
- 1 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar, divided
- 5 large eggs, separated
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 350F and coat a 9″ springform pan in nonstick spray. Place a sheet of parchment paper to cover the bottom plate and insert the ring to lock it in place.
- In a heat safe bowl, add the chopped chocolate and oil. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir until melted, then remove from the pot.
- Mix in the espresso powder and vanilla, then allow the chocolate to cool while yo whip the egg whites.
- Separate the eggs and add the whites to a large bowl, either using a hand or stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on high speed for about 5 minutes. When they start to lighten and thicken, slowly pour in 1/2 cup of sugar with the mixer still running. Continue to whip until you reach stiff peaks.
- Now to the bowl of chocolate, mix in the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and then the egg yolks one at a time. The mixture will begin to thicken and turn very fudgy.
- Use a rubber spatula and add two scoops of the whipped egg whites to the chocolate. Mix until it’s fully combined. This helps thin out the batter to make it easier to fold in the rest of the egg whites.
- Dump in the rest of the egg whites and gently fold to combine. You might think the batter is too separated and won’t come together, but just keep folding! By the end you should be left with a brownie batter consistency.
- Pour the batter into the pan and spread it even. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until it’s evenly puffed up.
- Allow the cake to cool for about 10 minutes. The cake will being to flatten out as it cools to create a deliciously rich and fudgy texture.
- Release the cake from the pan and top with a dusting of powdered sugar or ice cream…or both! It’s best served warm no need to wait for it to cool completely. Enjoy!
- *Try using really good quality chocolate here since it’s the star of the show, and avoid using chocolate chips. The most accessible chocolate is Ghirardelli bittersweet baking squares found in the baking aisle.
- **Also use a good quality olive oil for the best result. The flavor is very subtle, but it pairs really well with the dark chocolate. If you don’t have olive oil, melted butter (or brown butter), melted coconut oil, or any other mild oil will work.
- ***This recipe can also be made in a 9″ cake pan. Grease the pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. When it’s done, turn it out onto a cooling rack, then flip it right side up onto a serving dish.
Keywords: flourless chocolate cake, chocolate cake