Chocolate Cloud Cake

This flourless cake is crammed with chocolate (use only the best) and rich with butter and will fall slightly as it cools. The center is filled with softly whipped cream and sprinkled with cocoa powder — intensity, then relief, in each bite.–Richard Sax

LC A Moment of Silence, Please Note

We’d like to quiet our voices and our minds for a moment in memory of chef, cookbook author, teacher, and all-around generous soul, Richard Sax. Though he left us nearly 20 years ago, we still feel the loss.

Chocolate Cloud Cake Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 40 M
  • 1 H, 15 M
  • Makes one 8-inch single-layer cake, serves 8 to 12

Ingredients

  • For the cake
  • 8 ounces best-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces, softened
  • 6 large eggs, 2 whole, 4 separated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cognac or Grand Marnier (optional)
  • Grated zest of 1 orange, preferably organic (optional)
  • For the finishing touches
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder, for sprinkling

Directions

  • Make the cake
  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with a round of wax paper. (Do not butter the pan or the paper, that’s a definite no-no.)
  • 2. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over but not touching gently simmering water. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the butter until it’s melted. Set aside.
  • 3. In another bowl, whisk the 2 whole eggs and the 4 egg yolks with 1/2 cup of the sugar just until blended. Slowly whisk in the warm chocolate mixture. Whisk in the cognac or Grand Marnier and the orange zest, if using. In another bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the 4 egg whites until foamy. Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat until the whites form soft peaks that hold their shape but aren’t quite stiff. Gently, gently fold about 1/4 of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then gently fold in the remaining whites. Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top.
  • 4. Bake the cake until the top is puffed and cracked and the center is no longer wobbly, 35 to 40 minutes. Be careful not to overbake the cake.
  • 5. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack. The center of the cake will sink as it cools, forming a sort of crater.
  • Put the finishing touches on the cake
  • 6. When ready to serve, whip the cream with the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until not quite stiff. Using a spatula, carefully fill the sunken center of the cake with the whipped cream, pushing the billowy cream gently all the way to the edges of the cake in decorative swoops and swirls. Sprinkle the top lightly with cocoa powder. Run the tip of a knife around the edge of the cake, carefully remove the side of the pan, and serve.
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Ellen Fuss

Jan 21, 2002

This cake has been my family’s go-to flourless cake for Passover for several years. There are plenty of flourless cakes out there, but this one is easy to prepare and always gets rave reviews. This recipe has never failed and the removal from the springform pan has always been flawless. The whipped cream topping is a great accompaniment to the chocolate and makes for a terrific presentation, although truthfully, the cake does keep better without the cream on top, so whenever I think we may have leftovers I serve the cream alongside the cake. Otherwise I mound the cream in the middle of the crater and it looks just like this photo. I’ve made this cake with several types of chocolate and suggest that you experiment with semisweet and bittersweet–my family prefers semisweet. I have never added the cognac or Grand Marnier, nor have I put in grated orange zest, as we prefer the pure chocolate flavor. Add it to your recipes for Passover as well as for anytime a celebration calls for a chocolate cake. I have also frozen the cake prior to putting the whipped cream topping on it and there has not been a very significant change in texture. I usually wrap it well right in the springform pan after it has completely cooled.


Comments
Comments
  1. Tsu Lin says:

    I made this more than TWICE, once for my daughter’s birthday celebration in her playgroup and it was so well received! A great recipe for a cake that you can be proud of when you bring it along to any parties.. Choc is rich but the cream complemented it perfectly! Makes you want to scoop for more. And the parents at the playgroup kept praising it for weeks afterwards. :)

  2. Beth Price, LC Director of Recipe Testing says:

    Hi Tsu Lin,

    So glad that you liked it–much better than a store bought birthday cake! I hope all the children enjoyed it as much as the parents.

  3. Jennifer Grange says:

    I worked for the Cookbook Store in Toronto for more than three decades. Because it was a favourite with those of us who worked at the store, I am making the chocolate cloud cake for our farewell potluck. I have made it many times for both work and family events. Even if you forget the butter, which I did the first time I made it, it is still scrumptious. Although I only met him once, about six months before he died, Richard Sax’s graciousness and sense of humour made his visit one of our most treasured author events.

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