Flourless Chocolate-Vanilla Marble Cake

This flourless chocolate-vanilla marble cake will serve your gluten-free and Passover needs perfectly as well as your dense, fudgy, cheesecake-y cravings.

A whole flourless chocolate vanilla marble cake on a plate with a knife resting on a blue napkin beside it.

This dense, luscious flourless chocolate and vanilla marble cake has a texture a little like fudge and a little like cheesecake. A small slice goes a long way. To slice this moist marble cake neatly, use a hot knife (run it under hot running water and dry it), and wipe the blade clean between slices.–Editors of Fine Cooking

What is the point of flourless cake?

Okay. Not to sound like we’re begrudging cake-that-isn’t-really-cake, but this is definitely not your run of the mill chocolate cake. It’s more like a fudgy, cheesecakey, dense dessert of chocolate and vanilla. But the whole point is that without flour, this cake is accessible to even more people. Obviously, it’s gluten-free but it’s also a lovely Passover dessert.

Flourless Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Cake

A whole flourless chocolate vanilla marble cake on a plate with a knife resting on a blue napkin beside it.
A flourless chocolate and vanilla marble cake that will serve your gluten-free and Passover needs perfectly as well as your dense, fudgy, cheesecake-y cravings.

Prep 25 minutes
Cook 40 minutes
Total 1 hour 5 minutes
16 servings
287 kcal
4.80 / 5 votes
Print RecipeBuy the Absolutely Chocolate: Irresistible Excuses to Indulge cookbook

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For the vanilla batter

  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the chocolate batter

  • 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
  • 10 tablespoons (5 oz) unsalted butter cut into 6 pieces, plus more for the pan
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum or espresso
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch table salt
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting


  • Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Lightly butter a 9-by-2-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment.
  • In a medium bowl with an electric mixer, beat the softened cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and continue beating until well blended and no lumps remain. Add the egg and vanilla and beat just until blended. 
  • In a medium bowl, melt the chocolate and butter in a large metal bowl over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave. Whisk until smooth and set aside to cool slightly. 
  • Using a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the eggs, sugar, rum or espresso, vanilla, and salt on medium-high until the mixture is pale and thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. With the mixer on low, gradually pour in the chocolate mixture and continue beating until well blended.
  • To combine and bake the marble cake, spread about half of the chocolate batter in the bottom of the pan. Alternately add large scoopfuls of each of the remaining batters to the cake pan. Using a knife or the tip of a rubber spatula, gently swirl the 2 batters together so they’re mixed but not completely blended. Rap the pan against the countertop several times to settle the batters.
  • Bake the marble cake until a pick inserted about 2 inches from the edge comes out gooey but not liquid, 40 to 42 minutes; don’t over-bake. The top will be puffed and slightly cracked, especially around the edges. It will sink down as it cools. 
  • Let the cake cool on a rack until just slightly warm, about 1 1/2 hours. Loosen it from the pan by holding the pan almost perpendicular to the counter; tap the pan on the counter while rotating it clockwise. Invert the cake onto a large flat plate or board, then remove the pan and carefully peel off the parchment.

    TESTER TIP: To make the cake ahead of time, you can wrap the cooled and unmolded cake in plastic and refrigerate until firm and well chilled. Then slide the cake off the plate and wrap it again in plastic. Freeze for up to a month. To serve, unwrap the cake and set it on a flat plate that’s been sprinkled with a little more cocoa powder. Cover with plastic wrap and thaw in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for an hour or two.

  • Sift some cocoa powder over the cake (this will make it easier to remove the slices when serving). Invert the cake again onto a similar plate so that the top side is up and let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours or overnight, or freeze. 
Print RecipeBuy the Absolutely Chocolate: Irresistible Excuses to Indulge cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 287kcal (14%)Carbohydrates: 23g (8%)Protein: 4g (8%)Fat: 20g (31%)Saturated Fat: 12g (75%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 83mg (28%)Sodium: 66mg (3%)Potassium: 141mg (4%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 20g (22%)Vitamin A: 498IU (10%)Calcium: 34mg (3%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

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Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This flourless chocolate-vanilla marble cake is a wonderful dessert. It’s sublimely rich and chocolate-y, smooth and creamy, dense and slightly fudge-y, yet despite this, it had us all going back for seconds. The cream cheese is the perfect foil to all this chocolate and lightens up the dense brownie-like texture.

I used espresso and a splash of Kahlua to bring out the coffee flavour a bit more, and it really enhanced the depth of chocolate nicely. It tasted even better the next day, so next time I would make this again the night before, rather than the morning of, to serve it at it’s best. No chocolate lover will be disappointed with this dessert.

Easy enough to make. Actually, my teen made it all by herself, and the end result is exactly as promised: it “has a texture a little like fudge and a little like cheesecake.” This will be a repeat, and the fact that one can freeze it is also very convenient.

It’s just as easy to make two (as she did) and you can keep it in the freezer for last minute guests that show up. What I also loved about it is that even though it was very rich, it was not overly sweet. A slice DOES go a long way, but if you have a sweet tooth, it is easy to go for the second slice.

Once again, I need to thank my son for the discovery of another marvelous Leite’s recipe. While I was planning our Thanksgiving menu, he announced he refused to eat our traditional pecan pie for dessert. So the night before Thanksgiving, I whipped this up especially for him. We followed the recipe precisely, and the result was an incredibly dense, rich, delicious, fudgy cake. In fact, it was so amazing no one, I repeat no one, ate the pecan pie on Thanksgiving!

Originally published November 03, 2009


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. 5 stars
    I first saved this recipe when I was hugely pregnant in late 2009 and finally got around to making it in the summer of 2013. I was a little busy, ya know? I’ve since made this chocolate wonder numerous times for all sorts of folks who have crossed my path.

    I’ve settled into some preferences and slight adjustments that work great for me. I use a springform pan, greased and lined with parchment, because of that time I dropped the cake while flipping it out (we took the un-floor half to the potluck anyway and hoped people would just think others had gotten to it quickly). I later use the parchment to slide the little guy onto the cake plate. I use espresso powder and water, or sometimes leftover strong coffee and never ever the rum (Captain Morgan still haunts me…). For swirling, I use a chopstick for great whirls that don’t get too blended despite my inclination to overdo it a little. I don’t bother with the inverting and cocoa powdering because I forgot one time and nothing terrible happened. I’m more worried about dropping the thing (see above) than I am about having to lick the parchment circle for the last morsel. I’m classy that way.

    I love this recipe. It makes a delicious dessert to suit many palates, gives gluten-free-needing people an option at gatherings, looks fancy, and keeps well. It has traveled from San Diego to Lake Havasu, to potlucks and baby showers, and in rush hour to work. Only a clean plate ever comes home.

    A flourless chocolate-vanilla swirl marble cake--on a white cake stand

  2. 5 stars
    This comment is insanely late being posted, but I’m old and senile, and a procrastinator on top of it all. SO! While I was planning our Thanksgiving menu, my seven-year-old son announced his obstinate refusal to eat our traditional dessert of pecan pie. This isn’t any pecan pie – it’s my mama’s famous pecan pie. It’s the best pecan pie I’ve ever tasted. It’s amazing. Apparently my son was dropped on his head when he was a baby. I digress. I’m a girl who likes a challenge, so we poked around the site until my son found something suitable for his chocolate-loving palate. The result was an incredibly dense, rich, delicious fudgy cake. In fact, it was so amazing that no one, I repeat NO ONE, ate the pecan pie! Our company positively fawned over my son, lauding him with compliments on his dessert selection. There’s just no living with him now.

    1. Better late than never, Kristen! (Typed one procrastinator to another…) And I love your story. Your mama may not love it (although I’m quite certain she, too, graciously fawned over your son’s selection), but we’re thrilled to hear it! Looking forward to hearing what his majesty deems as the next appropriate recipe selection…!

    1. Hi MaryLou, it should be fine in a springform pan. I would follow the instructions in the recipe for preparing the pan. Please let us know how it turns out.

    1. Hi Pat, our testers loved the texture of the final product. Any reason why you would want to use a water bath? We didn’t test it this way so I’m not sure how this might affect the cake.

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