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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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This sublime French flourless chocolate cake, also known as La Bete Noire or Black Beast, is dark, decadent and out of this world delicious. I’ve been baking this Best Chocolate Cake Recipe for nearly a decade and it’s never failed to get rave reviews and recipe requests. When you need the ultimate chocolate dessert guaranteed to impress, THIS is it!!!

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!

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 bete noire incorporates a simple sugar syrup as a sweetener.  Sugar and water is simmered until the sugar dissolves; it’s as easy as that!
  • PRO-Tip: If you’re careful, it’s super easy to use 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. Plus, it’s OK to stop when there are just a few teeny pieces of unmelted chocolate in the bowl. Let the residual heat finish the melting process instead of risking overcooking and ruining 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. PRO-Tip: Make sure to wrap the exterior of the pan well with foil to prevent any water from seeping in from the water bath into the springform pan.
  • 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 Best Chocolate Cake Recipe:

More Amazing Chocolate Desserts:

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

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


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.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 342Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 87mgSodium: 37mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 3gSugar: 36gProtein: 5g


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83 comments on “La Bete Noire AKA The Black Beast”

  1. What a beautiful dessert and how thoughtful of you to remember her love of chocolate. I bet she was absolutely thrilled with this. Delicious, Pinned and definitely one to make. Thank you so much for sharing. Sammie

  2. OH my…. this is a chocolate madness! I’m totally mind blown!I must give your cake a try! It looks delicious!

  3. Looks divine ! This recipe has very few ingredients and its easy too…. there is no excuse not to make this 😉 Hope to try it soon !

  4. Oh my! I must make this! It looks soooo good!

  5. Nom-nom… Wish I had some:@)

  6. I have never heard of a cake prepared like this. I love trying new methods and this one certainly seems to result in a glorious cake.

  7. Oh my goodness Liz! This needs to find a way to get into my mouth immediately! haha

  8. I couldn’t wait to see this one when I saw your title in the forum, Liz. The Black Beast! What a gorgeous, decadent, rich cake!

  9. I like this woman’s life goals!And gorgeous cake, like the hot simple syrup concept of it. Looks decadent.

  10. This is one crazy insane chocolate cake, Liz! My total weakness in life above all else is chocolate and I could eat or lick or inhale my computer screen for this baby! I’ll let you know if the one that I make ever lives up to yours.

  11. Mniam mniam mniam! This piece of cake looks absolutely amazing and it wish I could have one or two :-).

  12. I have such a chocolate hankering, looks amazing! Nettie

  13. A chocolate taste tester for the President! I never thought that could be a job! Hhmm. I’m all in with chocolate, especially flourless chocolate. So delicious.

  14. I am drooling right now! I was totally intrigued when I saw the recipe title and now I’m going to make this–it looks amazing!

  15. The cake looks magnificent! Flourless chocolate cake is the best!

  16. OMG where has this cake been all my life?!?! I can certainly see why you’ve posted it 3 times… I’m drooling over my keyboard it looks soooo delicious!

  17. Pinning! And do I dare save this recipe? Oh, my , goodness the Black Beast looks divinely decadent! Ps Maybe the bride will turn out to be the president of the attorneys for a chocolate company!

  18. This is like chocolate heaven on a plate!

  19. Liz, that looks absolutely amazing. So fudgy and rich… it’s a chocolate lovers dream! I can see why it’s got ‘beast’ in its name.

  20. Wow – that cake looks positively fudgy! A perfect dish for a chocoholic.

  21. This is one beautiful cake.Love that layer of shiny panache. Can’t wait to try. Love that it is flavorless.

  22. An absolutely stunning dessert, Liz

  23. I love flourless cakes. This looks absolutely delicious!!

  24. I am so ready to take on the beast!! Now that looks like a perfect end to any meal1 🙂

  25. Dear Lizzy, I have only had this cake once before and what a decadent treat it is! I love flourless chocolate cake…it’s such a rich indulgence for me. This looks beautiful dear. xo, Catherine

  26. My teeth are tingling as I read this beautiful post, but somehow I still licked my lips as I read the recipe over. Such simple ingredients, it’s hard to believe that in combination such a classy and elegant dessert is the result. It’s beautifully presented as usual, and the combination of raspberries and chocolate is always a winner in my books.

  27. I absolutely understand your obsession with this heavenly chocolate treat, I go crazy for this too and I am not much of a sweet tooth otherwise.

  28. Wow – this is a dessert for special occasions. How did you ever get a photo? it would be gone in my house.

  29. Not only does this look decadently delicious, it has the best dessert name ever! As soon as I saw it on the menu I couldn’t wait to find out what it was.

  30. What a wonderful cake! Light, yet extremely luscious. Loved the clicks.

  31. Oh my goodness. This looks absolutely luscious. It is surely a cake that any chocolate lover would swoon over!

  32. This looks amazing, Liz! Chocolate is one of the things I’ve been craving off and on during pregnancy, but now it’s definitely on again 😉

  33. Hi Liz, this certainly looks decadent, love the name!

  34. Liz, you know I wake up daily with a serious chocolate craving–this may be the cure I am looking for!

  35. What an absolutely stunning dessert, Liz! I so need to treat myself to this!

  36. I think I could give this a try! Looks so good!

  37. I love dark chocolate flour less chocolate cake and this looks delicious!

  38. This kicked death by chocolate’s butt!! It’s like zombie chocolate!!! Never dies.

  39. I love the name of this, and I love the look! it’s a must-bake!

  40. I always find an excuse to celebrate with chocolate! Yum!

  41. ME! ME ME MEEE I’M A CHOCOHOLIC! Obsessed with this flourless chocolate cake–pinning!

  42. this looks fabulous!

  43. Liz, you are a genius! I will certainly be making this!

  44. I am so making this for Valentine’s day! I could, literally, eat my computer screen. Seriously! xx

  45. I love anything with rasberries.. going on the list of must makes!

  46. This cake looks so indulgent and rich- perfect for a special occasion!!

  47. I have had a MAJOR sweet tooth lately and this no doubt would satisfy that craving. Running to the store to restock so I can make this right now!

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

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

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

  51. A favorite dessert of ours!

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

  53. 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!

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

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

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

  57. This would be so hard to resist!!

  58. 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.

  59. 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

  60. 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

  61. 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! 🙂

  62. 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!

  63. 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!

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

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

  66. 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!

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

  68. 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!

  69. This cake looks out of this world delicious! I am a notorious chocoholic!

  70. Liz,
    This cake is truly to die for! I love Bon Appetit’s dessert recipes and know that if you’ve been making this for over 10 years with rave reviews, it is certainly a chocolate winner! The apple dessert that I served Kelly and you when you visited me in St. Louis was from Bon Appetit! So now I need some chocolate, and after I print this recipe and pin it, then I’m off to look for some chocolate stash tucked away!
    Roz xo

  71. I can see why this is called the Black Beast!! YUM!! What a perfect Valentine’s Day dessert!

  72. This is so delicious and a masterpiece everyone raves about this and its so easy using your tips!

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