There’s something so elegant about the simplicity of this flourless chocolate cake recipe. Sometimes called a chocolate torte, it’s a Valentine's Day staple for good reason—not to mention an ideal choice for gluten-free diners. With just five ingredients it doesn’t get much simpler, especially because this fudgy single-layer dark chocolate cake comes together in less than 45 minutes.
Because the recipe is so simple, the rich chocolate flavor will directly reflect the quality of ingredients you use, so be sure to use the very best bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder you can get your hands on. You’ll melt the chocolate with butter in a double boiler—you can use a bowl set over a pan of simmering water if you don’t have one—and stir it until smooth before mixing in the sugar, eggs, and cocoa powder.
This cake is elegant served on its own, but you can always take it a step further by adding a fluffy dollop of whipped cream, a handful of seasonal berries, a drizzle of melted chocolate ganache, or a scoop of Coconut Lime Sorbet or your favorite ice cream. Even better? This cake remains moist and delicious for up to a full week if kept in an airtight container—just be sure to let it cool completely first.


Makes one 8-inch cake

  • ½ cup (4 oz.) fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)
  • 1 stick (113 g) unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup (149g) sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus additional for sprinkling
  • Accompaniment: Coconut Lime Sorbet (optional)

Step 1

Preheat oven to 375°F and butter an 8-inch round baking pan. Line bottom with a round of parchment paper and butter paper.

Step 2

Chop chocolate into small pieces. In a double boiler or metal mixing bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth. Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs and whisk well. Sift ½ cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in middle of oven 25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes and invert onto a serving plate.

Step 3

Dust cake with additional cocoa powder and serve with sorbet if desired. (Cake keeps, after being cooled completely, in an airtight container, 1 week.)

This recipe was originally published in the November 1997 issue of ‘Gourmet’ and first appeared online April 16, 2017.