A Cake for Chocoholics and Celiacs

January 29, 2011

Sitting down to write this post has got me thinking about food trends.  You know the kind of thing I’m talking about – stuff that your grandparents (and in some cases even your parents) have never heard of (and certainly didn’t find in their Betty Crocker or Better Homes and Gardens Cookbooks growing up) but are all the rage in trendy restaurants and specialty grocery stores.  Stuff like chorizo, chipotle seasoning, pomegranates, and bacon in desserts.  Sure, they’ve always been around, but were never hot items like they are now (the way jell-o molds, fondue, and various meat and seafood mousses were in the 70’s).  Of course, all this boils down to is my observation that food trends change almost as often  as clothing, music, and hair trends.  Plus it serves as an elegant segue into the topic of this post, and one of the top trending foods of our day:  the flourless chocolate cake.

This recipe in particular is one that I hadn’t even heard of until a couple years ago, and even after I had, didn’t have any particular interest in trying.  I imagined it would be a very dense (which it is), cheesecakey-tasting (which it’s not) concoction that would stick to the roof of your mouth and leave you feeling less-than-satisfied.  Think again.

Chopped butter and chocolate, ready for melting!

It’s a deliciously rich, dense, melt-in-your-mouth experience that satisfies even the most ferocious of chocolate cravings.  Plus, it’s topped with crème fraîche – a close relative of sour cream and my ultimate dairy vice – how could I resist?  I couldn’t.  So, I finally broke down and made it after it turned up in the November issue of Real Simple (and I was bored one Friday night) Original Recipe Here.  I made it 100% per the recipe the first time, but on subsequent trials altered the recipe slightly (see below).  It’s relatively simple to prep, doesn’t require too many ingredients, and only needs one piece of specialist equipment – a springform pan (generally not too pricey or difficult to come by).

Oh, and I haven’t even told you the best part about this cake!  Though, for those of you among us who know someone with Celiac Disease or have it yourself, you already know…it’s gluten-free!  This is certainly a good go-to dessert to have in your repertoire for entertaining occasions when, say, your gluten-intolerant aunt and your mom’s gluten-intolerant friend are coming to the same Tupperware party you’ve been asked to prepare food for (to give a random example, off the top of my head).

Melting the chocolate and butter.

The Recipe:


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the pan
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s Special Dark), plus more for the pan
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

“Crème Fraîche”

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Heat oven to 350° F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and dust with cocoa powder.

In a medium saucepan, heat the butter with ¼ cup of the heavy cream over medium-low heat until the butter is melted. Add the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth; remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, and cocoa powder; whisk in the chocolate mixture.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until puffed and set, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 1 hour. Run a knife around the edge of the cake before unmolding.

The eggs and sugar anxiously await the chocolate.

Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream with the sour cream and confectioners’ sugar until soft peaks form. Serve cake with crème fraîche.  Accept graciously the compliments of your guests, you deserve them!

The Finished Product: Yes, it's in its nature to look a little deflated and pathetic. No worries!




  1. Why am I never around when you make these things?!

    • Hmm…good question. I should start sending out facebook PSAs whenever I make something delicious, hehe. But seriously, if there’s ever anything you want to try, let me know and I’ll whip it up for you.

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