I’m taking liberties by calling this a French Chocolate Cake, since the only thing French about it is that it came to me by way of a French woman who attended a party I hosted several years ago. She arrived with her cake, a bowl of softly whipped cream, and three young children. I haven’t seen her since, but I have thought about that cake at least a dozen times.

The cake was the essence of simplicity: no frosting, or glaze, no layers, or filling, just a dense, dark, not-too-sweet chocolate cake, one so good that it haunted me until I managed to track down the recipe.

It arrived in my inbox written in grams, not cups, (how very French), with no details about the type of chocolate or butter (unsweetened? unsalted?), size or shape of pan, and only this regarding the flour measurement, “one soup spoon of flour”.  I tinkered and tested through a couple trials (I know, it’s a very taxing job) and voilà (as the French would say) a cake just as I remembered it. 

Make this cake for Valentine’s Day, your next dinner party, or another special occasion. It’s that kind of cake. A thin slice will do, straight up or adorned with whipped cream, and if you have some on hand, fresh strawberries or raspberries.

Almost Flourless French Chocolate Cake

Yield: Makes 10 servings

Almost Flourless French Chocolate Cake

A rich, dense, dark chocolate cake that is served in thin slices, either unadorned or with softly whipped cream. It is excellent the day it's made, and arguably even better when chilled and eaten the next day.

Ingredients

  • Butter and flour for the coating the baking pan
  • 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used 70 percent)
  • 14 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or favorite gluten-free flour)
  • Confectioners' sugar to decorate the top
  • Softly whipped cream and/or fresh berries (optional for serving)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan with butter and dust lightly with flour. Line the bottom with parchment paper.
  3. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and put in the top of a double boiler with the butter over medium-high heat. Melt the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally. Add the sugar and stir well. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until frothy and blended. Add to the chocolate and butter and whisk until thick and smooth. Add the flour and whisk again.
  5. Pour into prepared cake pan and bake until the top is set and no longer appears wet, about 40 minutes. Resist the urge to open the oven during cooking.
  6. Remove from oven and cool completely.
  7. Run a knife around the edge of the cake, set a plate over the pan, and invert the cake onto the plate. Then, set another plate on top of the cake and flip the cake onto the plate. Its top should be upright.
  8. Sprinkle the lightly with confectioners' sugar.
  9. Serve in thin slices. If desired, top with whipped cream and/or berries.
  10. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Much gratitude to Charlotte Stadnick for sharing the recipe from which this is adapted.

flourless chocolate cake