Flourless Chocolate Cloud Cake

This flourless chocolate cloud cake is a wickedly elegant dessert that’s deceptively easy to make. Just four ingredients–chocolate, eggs, butter, and sugar–are whipped together for a crunchy-on-the-outside, airy-on-the-inside cake. Top it with whipped cream and you’ll feel like you’re on Cloud Nine.

A flourless chocolate cloud cake on a glass cake stand on a white tablecloth

This flourless chocolate cloud cake is crammed so full to brimming with chocolate and butter and air, there’s no room left for flour–although there’s ample space for graceful swoops of softly whipped cream piled on top. Because there are only four ingredients in the cake, you’re gonna wanna use the best quality chocolate you can get your hands as its flavor shouts out loud and clear in the resulting cake. Trust us. It’ll be well worth each cent. Originally published January 21, 2002.Renee Schettler Rossi

Flourless Chocolate Cloud Cake

  • Quick Glance
  • 40 M
  • 1 H, 15 M
  • Makes one 8-inch single-layer cake, serves 8 to 12
5/5 - 4 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Classic Home Desserts cookbook

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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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Recipe Testers Reviews

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

  1. 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. 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. 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.

  4. This is one of my three go-to cakes – and I’m making it today for my birthday! Thanks for sharing it here – I packed all my cookbooks for an upcoming move (gasp!) and really, really miss R. Sax’s book.

  5. I love this cake. Made it for the family seder for the first time and it was such a hit, we immediately started planning the next occasion for the cake. The extra benefit is that it’s gluten free, but nothing about this cake is a compromise for anyone who can eat gluten. I’m making it again today for my father in law who raved about it, but typically avoids anything “modified” to be GF. :)

    1. Beth, I love that you love everything about this cake. And thank you for bringing up the GF issue. I, like your father in law, don’t care for things that are trying to be something that they aren’t so I tend to avoid any GF recipes. But this just works naturally as-is. And I, too, love it for that. Looking forward to hearing about the next recipe you try from the site. And for what it’s worth, many of our GF recipes just happen to be GF without you needing to jump through any hoops or over any hurdles. Again, thank you! https://leitesculinaria.com/category/recipes/dietary-considerations/gluten-free

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