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Overhead shot of a slice of La Bete Noire on a white plate

La Bete Noire AKA The Black Beast

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I’ve been baking The Black Beast for nearly a decade. This sublime French flourless chocolate cake, also known as La Bete Noire, is dark, decadent and out of this world delicious.

A rich, decadent slice of La Bete Noire


The Black Beast AKA La Bete Noire

This recipe for the Black Beast is making an unprecedented third appearance on this blog. It’s my absolute favorite flourless chocolate cake recipe. And my go-to dessert recipe for special company!

Unlike the others (and, yes, I’ve shared a lot of flourless chocolate cakes), this one starts with a hot simple syrup which is incorporated into the melted butter and sugar before the eggs are added. La Bete Noire is truly exquisite, smooth, creamy and perfect for any chocoholic.

Decadent Chocolate Desserts are the ultimate way to end a dinner party, celebrate Valentine’s Day or any special holiday! Serve a wedge of this la bete noire with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream, chocolate shavings, berries or all three. Bookmark or pin THIS rich and dreamy flourless chocolate cake for your next, impossible to ignore, chocolate craving!

La Bete Noire or the Black Beast on a white cake stand.

A Special Occasion Flourless Chocolate Cake

I served this at a bridal shower I helped host last month. A chocolate dessert was a must!

The bride to be wasn’t shy about sharing her life goals when she was in elementary school. Her dreams were to be a chocolate taste tester or the president of the United States. Turns out she’s neither, yet, but a talented, gracious young woman establishing her career as an attorney.

With her affection for chocolate in mind, I turned to my absolute favorite flourless chocolate cake or la bete noire for our brunch grand finale. This sublime dessert is the perfect way to end a holiday dinner, celebrate an impending marriage or just usher in a new season! If you love chocolate, file this Black Beast recipe away for your next special occasion. I guarantee you’ll hear swooning.

Overhead shot of a slice of La Bete Noire on a white plate

Tips for Making La Bete Noire

The name, la bete noire, is French for “the black beast,” but in 1844 this phrase meant an insufferable person, adversary, devil or enemy, not a chocolate cake. Nowadays, you’ll see this phrase on dessert menus, referring to a rich, dense flourless chocolate cake. Beastly delicious, I’d say!

  • Different from most other flourless chocolate cakes, this one incorporates a simple sugar syrup as a sweetener.  Sugar and water is simmered until the sugar dissolves; it’s as easy as that!
  • I utilize the microwave to gently melt the chocolate mixtures. It’s safest to decrease the power to 50% or just use 30, then 15 second intervals, stopping and stirring to avoid overheating the chocolate.
  • La bete noire, like most of my cheesecakes, is baked in a water bath. This helps the cake to bake at an even temperature and the added humidity keeps the cake moist.
  • Cool the cake completely before adding the ganache, then refrigerate 2 hours or longer before serving. I love a dollop of whipped cream and berries, and using a vegetable peeler and a chocolate bar to make shavings never hurts, either! Bon appetit!

Used to Make This Recipe:

More Amazing Chocolate Desserts:


La Bete Noire pinterest collage
Le Bete Noire AKA The Black Beast | The BEST flourless chocolate cake--pure bliss




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The Black Beast | The BEST flourless chocolate cake--pure bliss

La Bete Noire AKA The Black Beast

A dense, luscious flourless chocolate cake adapted from Bon Appetit.

  • Author: Liz Berg
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 16 1x
  • Category: Dessert, Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: French, French-American


For cake:

  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) butter, diced
  • 18 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 eggs


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped


  • Sweetened whipped cream, shaved chocolate and/or fresh berries


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 10-inch springform pan. Line bottom of the pan with a parchment round; butter parchment. Wrap 3 layers of heavy-duty foil around the outside of the pan, bringing it up to the top of the rim. Combine 1 cup of water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Stir till sugar dissolves, then simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Gently melt the 9 tablespoons of butter and the 18 ounces of chocolate in the microwave. Whisk till smooth. Whisk sugar syrup into chocolate, and cool slightly. Add eggs to chocolate mixture and whisk till well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Place cake pan in a large roasting pan. Add enough hot water to roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cake pan.
  3. Bake cake until the center is just set about 50 minutes. Remove from water bath; transfer to rack. Cool completely in pan.

For ganache:

  1. Heat cream in microwave till hot. Remove and add chocolate. Whisk until smooth. Pour over top of cake while still in the pan. Gently shake pan to distribute ganache evenly over top of cake. Refrigerate cake in pan until ganache is set, about 2 hours.
  2. Carefully run a knife around pan sides to loosen cake; release sides. Serve wedges with sweetened whipped cream and fresh berries or shaved chocolate.
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79 comments on “La Bete Noire AKA The Black Beast”

  1. Wow, this is so perfect! I must make this ASAP! I am such a chocoholic, so it’s perfect for me.

  2. Heavenly for sure. Chocolate cakes like this never get old. So GOOD!

  3. A perfect party cake and it’s such a fun name.

  4. A favorite dessert of ours!

  5. My sweet tooth can hardly stand it either! Why are your layers always so perfect?

  6. What a decadent cake, it’s absolutely perfect for a bridal shower! I will get this into the rotation for the next dinner party for sure. Your slices are absolutely gorgeous!

  7. So perfect to combine chocolate and berries ! Beautiful !

  8. Love the history behind the name of this cake! And love the silky chocolate goodness even more!

  9. This would be a perfect dessert for Valentine’s, Liz! Perfect timing <3 !!

  10. This would be so hard to resist!!

  11. I made this recipe. To say that this cake is deliciously decadent is an understatement. It is definitely worth the effort, calories and cost. My guests raved about it. I was even asked for some to take away for later! Thanks Liz, awesome stuff.

  12. Your chocolate curls are gorgeous. What an appropriate dessert for Valentine’s Day. I don’t think this looks beastly at all – just gorgeous xx

  13. You know my partner loves the lava cake from Marthas and i have baked this for him today as his valentines gift and he loved it. Thank you , you are a life saver <3

  14. I wish I cold do the George Jetson and zoom on over for a quick slice of that Black Beast cake. Looks so deliciously tempting! 🙂

  15. I always thought a bête noir was a nightmare, but maybe it was just the particular nightmare that my French teacher was having. I’ll tell you about nightmares, though: I think I’ve entered a phase of my life where there is sometimes too much chocolate! And this looks so over the top to me that I’ll bet I could only eat half a slice! Now, that’s a nightmare! I want to eat the whole thing!

  16. Great recipe! Now I have to make it dairy free… Any advice on what to use instead of butter??? Thank you!

    • Oh, gosh, I always bake with butter, so don’t know of anything that would work as a perfect dairy free substitute. My best guess would be to try it with margarine. Another thought is coconut oil, but again, I’m not sure how it would work. If you end up experimenting, please report back!

  17. This is totally irresistible!! My kind of decadent dessert!

  18.  This is such an amazing dessert!  I love how decadent and rich it looks! 

  19. To be very honest, I love Chocolates a lot. This recipe made me make this today itself. My husband loved this yummy chocolate dish as well.
    Thanks for sharing <3

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed this dessert, Tisa! It’s my go to chocolate dessert recipe for company….and I hope you’ll make it again and again. Thanks for your kind words!

  20. Thank you, Liz, for this amazing recipe! It turned out great!

  21. HELP!! How can I make this sugar free? I’m not sure if I should use the regular stevia baking powder sugar, or the stevia liquid, or what? Every other time I’ve used that stevia powder stuff, it has a bad bitter after taste. Any help would be MOST APPRECIATED!! Thanks, Ladies!!

    • Oh, also, I’m going to use Lily’s Chocolate Chips – stevia sweetened.

    • Hi, Christy, I wish I could help with a personal experience, but I’ve never used any sugar substitutes in my baking. I have a keto blogger friend who uses Swerve granular in her cakes, so that would be my best guess. Good luck!

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