Moist, and rich, with an incredible chocolate flavor, my Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake is a decadent treat that is gluten-free and simple to make. A combination of cocoa powder, melted dark chocolate, and instant Espresso makes the cake a must for dark chocolate lovers.
I’ve been using this recipe as a sheet tray cake for years. Baking this flourless chocolate cake recipe in a sheet form, allows me to cut the thin, moist layers into rounds and layer them with buttercream. Baking this recipe in a springform pan is a new thing for me. The cake is a combination of whipped egg whites and whipped yolks, folded together with the instant espresso, melted chocolate, and cocoa powder.
When the chocolate espresso cake is baked, the batter soufflés up which creates a delicate crisp crust on top that collapses and cracks when removed from the oven. The slightly crunchy cracked surface and moist, dense interior of the cake is an excellent contrast. The cake itself having the texture of the most incredible brownie ever!
I’ve made this batter by hand, and it is a workout unless you have forearms like Popeye, I strongly recommend using an electric mixer. With an electric mixer, this recipe is very simple, a stand mixer is best, but an electric hand mixer will do the job.
Always start with the egg whites first, I only have one mixing bowl for the stand mixer so I always follow a certain order. The egg whites need to be free from and contamination from broken yolks or butter, otherwise they will never whip properly into a meringue.
Ingredients in Flourless Chocolate Cake
- Egg Whites: Combine with half of the sugar and the salt. The egg whites are the first thing you should whip, they are the most sensitive to contamination, any egg yolk will prevent the egg whites from whipping properly. With only one mixing bowl, the whites are the logical choice.
- Egg Yolks: Combine with half the sugar and the vanilla extract, then whip to a very pale yellow. It is not necessary to clean the meringue completely from the bowl, yolks are not sensitive and will whip just fine with a little egg white mixed in.
- Chocolate, Instant Espresso, and Cocoa Powder: 62% dark chocolate combined with cocoa powder and instant espresso is what gives this flourless chocolate espresso cake that intense chocolaty flavor. The espresso is very subtle as it highlights the chocolate and makes it even more chocolaty.
- Butter: I always use unsalted butter for baking so I can control how much salt is in the recipe. Salt is needed, but I want to know how much is in the cake.
Dark Chocolate, Cocoa Powder and Instant Espresso
I use 62% dark chocolate in this recipe. The combination of the cocoa powder, instant espresso powder, and dark chocolate is ideal with this percentage. Any higher than 62% might be too bitter, but I’m sure with a side of ice cream or whipped cream, any percentage will be just fine.
I love Ina Garten and we watch her show ‘The Barefoot Contessa’ all the time. I learned the trick about adding espresso powder to chocolate recipes from her, it seems anytime she makes a chocolate dessert, it has espresso powder in it. And I have to agree with her, you don’t notice the coffee flavor is there, but that little bit of espresso adds something magical to chocolate. Making chocolate seem all the more chocolaty.
If you’re opposed to coffee or caffeine, the instant espresso powder can easily be omitted.
Here is my recipe for Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake
Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake
- Springform Cake Pan
- 6 Egg Whites
- 6 Egg Yolks
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar Divided
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Cup Chocolate 62%
- 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter Plus extra for the pan
- 1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
- 1 Tablespoon Instant Espresso
- Preheat oven to 325F, use soft butter to completely coat the inside of the springform pan
- Combine chocolate, butter, and instant espresso in a bowl. Place over a double boiler or microwave for 30 seconds, stir to combine until melted
- Separate eggs. Place the egg whites and salt in the mixing bowl and whisk until foamy, gradually add half of the sugar to the whites until a meringue with medium peaks form.
- Remove whites from the mixing bowl and add the yolks and vanilla. Whisk at high speed, gradually adding the remaining sugar, whisk until they are very pale yellow
- Sift the cocoa powder directly into the yolks, add the melted chocolate and gently fold the mixture together until almost completely combined
- Add half of the meringue to the yolks and gently fold until 75% combined, add the remaining meringue and gently fold together taking care not to deflate the mixture too much. Pour the batter into the springform pan, place the springform pan and place on a sheet tray then place it in the oven.
- Bake for 30 minutes, then rotate the pan and continue to bake until the center is set and the top begins to crack and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean approximately 15-20 minutes
- Let cool completely, run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the springform pan, then remove.