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Slice of Flourless Chocolate Cake with Ganache Topping garnished with whipped cream and berries

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Ganache Topping

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At our house, a chocolate cake is always devoured in record time. This Flourless Chocolate Cake with Ganache Topping certainly hit the mark: rich, irresistible and uber chocolaty! There will be audible swooning!

Also known as an Earthquake Cake since it rises and sinks like a souffle and develops cracks that look like geologic faults and fissures.

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Ganache Topping on a white plate topped with fresh berries

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Ganache Topping

Hubby called one morning letting me know that the cath lab was having a pitch in, and they wanted a dessert from me instead of his traditional offering of soda or napkins.  He later reported that one of the employees gasped when they saw his name on the sign-up sheet. I imagine that his coworker was picturing a package of Oreos or a box of Ding Dongs as Bill’s contribution. Nope, he was lucky this time, and I sent him in with this sinfully rich Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe with Ganache Topping. He brought home an empty plate!

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Ganache Topping in a springform pan before releasing

What Is An Earthquake Cake?

Looking through my chocolate binder (I know you’re not surprised I have a chocolate binder!), I found a flourless chocolate cake I hadn’t made in years.  It was from a 1999 issue of Bon Appetit and had a rich ganache topping.  It is truly flourless. My mom referred to this as an earthquake cake back in the ’70s.

Because of the addition of whipped eggs whites, the cake rises to the top of the springform pan with a crackled top, then the middle collapses as it cools.  Thus, the earthquake moniker. When the cake cools to room temperature, it is smashed gently to even it out, flipped over so the flat bottom becomes the top, and then glazed. Note that sometimes the smushing process causes pieces to fall off the sides, so be careful and just tuck them back where they belong. The ganache will cover up most imperfections so don’t fret!

Instead of flour, the eggs provide the structure. When mixed with the melted chocolate and butter combo, the result is more fudgy than cakey. Folding in the whipped egg whites is reminiscent of making a souffle, so it’s no surprise that it rises in the oven, then cracks and falls. The photo below illustrates why some call it an earthquake cake!

Overhead view of a slice of Flourless Chocolate Cake with Ganache Topping on a white plate with a red handled fork

How to Make a Flourless Chocolate Cake

This flourless chocolate cake has an extra step when compared to the others I’ve shared. The eggs are separated and the whites are beaten to stiff peaks. If you’re new to whipping egg whites, there are a couple of pointers below that will help you be successful.

Prepare the Pan

You will need a 9-inch springform pan. This is the kind of pan used to make cheesecakes with a removable rim. The pan should be greased, then a 9-inch round of parchment paper is placed on the bottom of the pan and greased. I like using Baker’s Joy, a flour and oil non-stick baking spray. You can find it or a similar product where Pam and oils are located in the grocery store.

Separate the Eggs

  • I start by chopping all the chocolate needed for this cake. Keep the amount for the cake separate from the amount for the ganache.
  • Separate your eggs. I recommend using 3 different bowls. Crack the egg, separate the white into one bowl and the yolk into a second bowl. Repeat with the second egg, cracking the white into the third bowl and place the yolk into the bowl with the other yolk. If the second yolk is whole and no yolk contaminated the white, that second egg white can go into the bowl with the first egg white. The goal is not to let even a speck of egg yolk contaminate your egg whites. The fat from the yolk will inhibit the whites from whipping properly.
  • Note that eggs separate best when cold, but egg whites whip best when at room temperature.

Melt the Chocolate and Mix the Batter

  • Gently melt the chocolate with the butter, stopping and stirring at 30-second intervals, until melted and smooth. Cool to lukewarm.
  • Follow the mixing directions in the recipe. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the chocolate mixture.
  • Make sure to use scrupulously clean beaters and bowl to whip the egg whites. Any speck of grease will prevent them from whipping to firm peaks. Fold the egg whites into the chocolate batter in 3 additions. Folding is a gentle process of mixing that will minimize the deflation of the egg whites. Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top.

Bake and Glaze the Cake

  • Bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Remember, there will be cracks. Let cool on a wire rack. When cool, press down on the top of the cake to level, then run an offset spatula or a knife around the perimeter to loosen the cake from the pan. Remove the pan sides and invert the cake onto a cooling rack.
  • Make the glaze and follow instructions to finish the cake.
Slice of Flourless Chocolate Cake with Ganache Topping garnished with whipped cream and berries

Is This Cake Gluten-Free?

Yes, almost all flourless chocolate cakes are gluten-free.  This cake recipe has only 7 ingredients and none contain gluten. The exception would be if a flourless chocolate cake had any add-ins or toppings that contained gluten.

Tips on How to Serve 

Since I was sending this cake to work on a plastic plate, I surrounded it with a bevy of fresh raspberries. It took all my restraint not to remove a slice to photograph, but I resisted. The next time I made it, I piled a melange of berries right in the middle. That particular cake was sent with my oldest to a cookout. He was met with comments like, “Next time, tell your mom to up her game.”

I like serving each slice with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream, a few fresh berries, and even a sprig of mint. A drizzle of raspberry sauce before you plate the slice will take this dessert over the top, but even a plain slice will rock your world!

I assure you, this flourless chocolate cake with ganache topping is worth the effort, and Bill, when pressed for his critique, waxed poetic over his love for this earthquake cake. He also reassured me that he’d take care of cleaning the ganache bowl, which meant sampling quite a bit!

You might also enjoy this One Layer Mocha Cake, Flourless Chocolate Kahlua Cake or any of my other Cake Recipes! Plus this recipe for Gooey Chocolate Mug Cakes for Two from A Farmgirl’s Dabbles is perfect for those nights you want a mini dessert!

This post was originally shared in July 2011. Photos and text were updated in 2020.

More Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipes

Slice of Flourless Chocolate Cake with Ganache Topping garnished with whipped cream and berries

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Ganache Topping

Decadent and delicious Flourless Chocolate Cake with Ganache Topping

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Yield 12 servings

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • ¾ cup butter, cut into pieces
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 12 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Glaze:

  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • ½ cup dark corn syrup
  • 9 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Grease 9 inch springform pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper; grease top of parchment. Wrap outside of pan with foil (I did this but not sure why it is necessary!).
  2. Microwave butter and chocolate together until melted and smooth, stopping at 30 second intervals to stir. Cool to lukewarm, stirring often.
  3. Using electric mixer, beat egg yolks and 6 tablespoons sugar in large bowl until mixture is very thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Fold chocolate into yolk mixture, then stir in vanilla. Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 6 tablespoons sugar, beating until firm peaks form. Carefully fold whites into chocolate mixture in 3 additions. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  4. Bake cake until top is puffed and cracked and tester inserted into center comes out with some moist crumbs attached, about 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack...beware,cake will fall.
  5. Gently press down crusty top to make evenly thick cake. Using small knife, cut around pan sides to loosen cake. Remove pan sides. Invert cake onto cooling rack. Peel off parchment paper.
  6. Make glaze by melting chocolate with cream gently in microwave, stirring at frequent intervals till smooth. Add corn syrup and stir to combine.
  7. Place cake on rack set over baking sheet. Spread ½ cup glaze smoothly over top and sides of cake. Freeze for about 3 minutes to set glaze. Pour remaining glaze over cake; smooth sides and top. Place cake on platter. Chill until glaze is firm, about 1 hour. Serve at room temperature.

Notes

Adapted from Bon Appetit

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 397Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 104mgSodium: 65mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 3gSugar: 51gProtein: 6g

HOW MUCH DID YOU LOVE THIS RECIPE?

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62 comments on “Flourless Chocolate Cake with Ganache Topping”

  1. A beautiful presentation with my two favorite flavors raspberry and chocolate so decadent!

  2. Lizzy-with desserts like this, you now have developed a reputation with your husbands co workers! This looks nothing but delicious-thanks for sharing.

  3. Looks so decadent and I love the raspberry trim!

  4. This sounds amazing and looks beautiful with the berries surrounding the cake. Yummy!

  5. This looks really rich and delicious. I suppose your hubby’s name will now be regularly appearing on the list

  6. Bet there will be no more sodas or napkins on the list for Bill!

  7. Lizzy, this cake looks fantastic!! I am sure your husband’s coworker were happy to have this as dessert. I also like you mud pie recipe 🙂

    Thanks for sharing the recipes.

  8. I love a good flourless cake. The texture is so rich and fudgy.

  9. Bill is a treasure. I just love him! He is so much like Gene it is not even funny..okay it is..lol. This does sound really good. Love that your Mom called it Earthquake cake!

  10. Having a chocolate binder just makes sense. This cake must have epic chocolate density, being flourless and topped with ganache. I like.

  11. It looks so..cute 🙂 I like decoration, simple but raspberries with chocolate look great together 🙂

  12. I def need some help on my baking skills, so here is where I will be!

  13. Lizzy-what a coincidence about your flourless chocolate cake…I do remember from Bon Appetit about this decadent gorgeous cake!
    You should contact them to let them feauture your amazing cake…seriously!
    Love the way the ganache turned out, the cornstarch really gives it a shiny, and hard finish. Also the raspberry deoration…one thing for sure, it would have been so hard for me to give up my “prized posession” LOL…you are so generous and giving, my friend!!!
    xoxo
    btw: I did a little shout out to you on my latest post:D

  14. Mmmm…ganache..I’m drooling! This looks awesome.

  15. I’m sure your husband won brownie points for this one. If you ever want to part with that chocolate binder, I’d be more than willing to take it off your hands. This sounds so good right now.
    -Gina-

  16. I used to make this years ago and it was always a hit…wonder why I haven’t made it in so long. Oh yeah, because I always ate too much of it.

    Lisa~~
    Cook Lisa Cook

  17. This looks GREAT

  18. Lizzy, that is too funny – they were expecting oreos or something? Wow, look at that – and perfection with the rasps! It’s #99, you know 😉
    I LOVE your Mum’s description of earthquake cake!

  19. This looks luscious and tempting!

  20. I love every recipe you post and all the pictures are always mouthwatering!!!
    <><
    Concetta

  21. beautifully done this looks delicious Lizzy

  22. Oh my heavens!!! This looks delightful!

    I am left wondering why the husband of a fabulous baker usually brings napkins or soda?

  23. Looks decadent! I think this is the recipe I’ve been waiting for since your last post!

  24. I love this! Sounds delicious. However I am not sure I can add you too my google reader. “Skinny Chicken Can Bake” just is not fair. 😛

  25. This cake is magnificent. The berries on the side complete the picture of this picture perfect cake.

  26. Lizzy this looks divine!

  27. Looks like perfection, love the ganache topping

  28. Yum! I love flour-less cakes, and the ganache sounds heavenly!

  29. This looks so wonderful. I love the raspberries with the chocolate. They look perfect together. I wish I had a piece of this right now. Yum! PS… You’re hubby sounds a lot like mine. I’m always cooking for his “potlucks” at work because before me he also brought the chips, soda and napkins. : )

  30. Lizzy look absolutely amazing, I love the mix raspberries and chocolate! look perfect! gloria

  31. This looks so good, liz!! So, because there is no flour in the cake, it means there are also no calories, right??? hehe. Going on my to do list for sure!
    Patti

  32. Ha, I just sent a batch of homemade pretzels to my hubby’s potluck. People really do freak out when someone brings something homemade, so I bet their heads exploded when they saw this!!!

  33. Lizzy this sounds AMAZING!!! Wow!

  34. Lizzy, this cake is almost too BEAUTIFUL to cut into! WOW! Hey, I’m from the Midwest too……born and raised for 22 years in Iowa. Good solid upbringing that I’m very grateful for! Thanks for having such a great blog!

  35. I’m sure they were delighted to see this cake at the get together!

  36. Very pretty and the ganache is so perfect! It’s “flawless” too… sorry for terrible joke. =P

  37. IT really is flourless, no nut flour or anything. LOVE IT, and so will my mom next time she’s in town (Type 1 diabetes) sure sure the sugar, but if can cut some of the carbs it’s always better than a full load.

  38. I think you’ve earned yourself the title of the Official Office Baker 😉 Beautiful cake!

  39. Wow Lizzy, what a wonderful cake! In Italy we have a famous chocolate cake from Ferrara called Tenerina, almost flourless because the recipe calls two tablespoons of flour on 200 gr of dark chocolate

  40. Beautiful job Lizzy! Now, I have been playing with 100s of pieces of paper I print from the internet and tear out of magazines trying to figure out how to organize them. I chocolate binder now makes perfect sense. Thanks!

  41. It’s gorgeous. You know that your husband will never be allowed to bring soda or cups again, don’t you?

  42. Um… drool!! Anything with ganache is to-die-for in my book!

  43. Lizzy.. it’s great looking flourless cake…

  44. Yum! I always knew it was a special occasion when my parents would let me order a slice of flourless chocolate cake from a restaurant. I haven’t had a slice in years. I think it’s time!

  45. Picture perfect Lizzy. I love the look of this chocolate cake, it’s a classic;-)

  46. Lizzy, I am drooling over your fabulously pretty cake! I love how you decorated it with raspberries. And wow, you have showed some serious restraint there – this cake would have never made it out of my kitchen. 🙂

  47. You know it was you Lizzy that got me over the mental hump to make my first chocolate flourless cake with the David Lebowitz recipe. I never dreamed it could be so easy and good (and save me $30 at the store when needing one for an occasion). I’m sure this won’t do me wrong either. Love popping over to your blog whenever I need dessert inspiration. You have an unending supply of delicious inspiration! Thank you!

  48. Oh what a cake, I had a similar recipe but with ground walnuts too. Looks amazing and ganache anything is heavenly. Lucky co workers.

  49. This looks absolutely gorgeous, Lizzy! I am sure Bill’s name will show up on the dessert sign up sheet from now on. 🙂

  50. This looks Perfect!! I first had flourless chocolate cake on my honeymoon almost 10 years ago. I have been wanting it ever since. Definitely going to try this recipe!

  51. Oooo I love a good flourless chocolate cake. The rasberries are a nice touch! So pretty.

  52. Love this chocolate cake Lizzy!
    Please join me to bake & remember lives lost in 9/11. I am hosting a link up called *Remembrance Cakes* Would love to have you. We are baking cakes, muffins, cupcakes. Anything is great! You can also share posts you have all ready published like this one. Just add the badge to show your support.
    http://su.pr/2j5eSB

  53. Thanks for the awesome recipe-i prefer to use more natural sugars in baking so instead of white sugar i used maple syrup, 6 tablespoons. The maple flavor wasnt strong and the semi-sweet chocolate added the perfect amount of sweet. Instead of ganache i simmered fresh strawberries and made a glaze. Positively Orgasmic! Thankyou!

  54. Such a gorgeous delicious cake, it turned out perfect!!

  55. What a delicious cake! I made this for my daughters birthday and decorated with beautiful berries just like you did. Boy was it a hit! Thanks so much for the fabulous recipe!

  56. can I make this with a 10 inch springform pan?

    • Hi, Gail, Yes, it should work. Since the cake will be a bit thinner, it won’t need to be baked quite as long. Use the methods suggested to check it 5 minutes early or when you first start smelling the baked chocolate aroma. Hope you enjoy!

  57. So rich, chocolatey and absolutely heavenly! That ganache is really the bomb, Liz.

  58. Ha, poor Bill… This is a spectacular cake and I know everyone was thrilled to see it:@)

  59. Anything chocolate you make is awesome! I made your Bete Noir and it was truly out of this world, so I’m certain this would be right up there with it! Can’t wait to make this for my gluten free friends.

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