the moveable feasts

Flourless Chocolate Torte

with 26 comments

Flourless Chocolate Torte

I understand this post is a little untimely. I should be recounting the highlights of the past year and looking forward to the great expectations of the upcoming one–complete with a motivating list of my new year resolutions. But thing is, I’m sitting in my sister’s apartment in Seattle with the bleary, grey sky outside, and all I can think about is the fact that maybe somebody, somewhere down the line, invented this whole new-start-new-resolutions deal as a way to fill the void that occurs when the holidays are over. After all, what better way to end something than to motivate yourself to move forward beyond it.

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choppin ze chocoloatee

I really do like the past year though. Honest! And I’m sure I’ll like this upcoming year, too. I tend to like pretty much everything, after all. But thing is I really, really don’t like goals. Or rather, I like them, but they don’t seem to like me. I don’t think I’ve made a weighty one in my whole life. I know this is terrible and goes against everything I’ve learned in those motivating school talks that encourage ambition by reiterating that statistic that shows that people who make goals are 80% more successful than those that don’t (or some weird, arbitrary number).

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Besides, I’m much more the type of person that is in that perpetual state of finding it necessary to remind myself every few days or so to become healthier, or be a little more organized about school work, or become less flaky, or some such thing. And in lieu of saying that I’m going to introduce this flourless chocolate torte. (It seems as though I must be in one of those limbo days where I’m not telling myself to be healthier, ha ha! Lucky for me, unfortunate to all you new-year-do-gooders.) It’s not too healthy, obviously, but it is pretty awesome. It’s a recipe my mom’s been using for awhile and one that everyone always, always enjoys. The texture is rich and dense but somehow it still has that wonderful, creamy and light bite that good chocolate mousse tends to have.

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This cake follows the usual standard formula that most flourless chocolate cakes have–combining the egg yolks with chocolate and butter, and following that by adding in the whipped egg whites. On top of the fact that it’s a reliable, straightforward, and infinitely pleasing recipe, I chose to make this one in particular because it doesn’t contain any amount of flour, something my older sister is highly allergic to (in addition to all dairy and most starches!). This one was served for family friends my mom had over for dinner–I’ve always thought that flourless chocolate cakes are wonderful to share with friends or at any sort of dinner party. Everyone liked it, a lot, and one guest called me the Dessert Queen. Haha! Cute and corny, I’ll take it.


Anyway, I think it’s a pretty classic cake, that everyone should at least have some variation of. I realize it may not be the most popular type of thing to bake up this time of year, but you know. It’ll happen, you know it, whether or not losing weight or eating healthier is one of your resolutions or not. (By the way, if you do have a list of positive resolutions for this next year, I think it’s a very good thing, and please disregard this most uncanny cynical post. Happy New Year!)


Flourless Chocolate Torte
Adapted from the Nordstrom’s Entertaining at Home Cookbook
Serves 8

The original recipe calls for all semi-sweet chocolate but I like to use a combination of that and bittersweet. Feel free to use whatever ratio you’d like depending on how intense a chocolate flavor you want. I served mine with a raspberry coulis and fresh raspberries, which is completely optional.

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting inside of pan
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 lb (16 ounces) semi-sweet or bittersweet (or some combination) chocolate, chopped
5 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
raspberry coulis, optional (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Dust the sides with cocoa powder and tap out any excess.

In a double boiler or a glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt the butter and chopped chocolate, stirring occasionally, until all the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and set aside but don’t allow to cool completely.

In a large bowl wisk egg yolks and vanilla until well blended. Gradually wisk in the warm chocolate mixture until well blended.

In a different medium bowl with an electric or stand mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and continue to beat untill stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir one-fourth of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, and then fold in the remaining egg whites just until no white streaks remain. Carefully pour the batter into the prepared pan and tap against the counter to remove any bubbles.

Bake in oven until the edges are puffed and have somewhat pulled away from the pan sides and the center appears cooked through, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely in the pan. Once cooled, remove the sides of the pan and slide torte on a serving plate. Dust with powdered sugar, top with fresh raspberries and raspberry coulis, and serve.

For the raspberry coulis, simply process fresh raspberries in a food processor until smooth. Strain the mixture to remove seeds and taste for sweetness–you may want to add a tablespoon or two of sugar if the coulis is too tart.

Written by Amy

January 6, 2012 at 1:40 pm

26 Responses

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  1. I love flourless cakes, I think they have such a great texture and lightness. And I am so with you about goals. It seems so completely unrealistic that I’m going to wake up on the first of January and all of a sudden I’ll be able to make all those changes to my life that I never have before!


    January 6, 2012 at 2:53 pm

  2. Love that first shot of the torte, Amy. It looks so dense and fudgy. I’m not crazy about chocolate, but I will keep this in mind for the chocolate-lovers in my life.

    I’m not really one for resolutions either, but I always find excuses to brush things aside when school gets really busy, so I try to be a little better about certain things in the first few weeks of January. With fall papers behind me, I have a few weeks of quiet. I’m trying to squeeze in reading a short novel or two. I’ve been neglecting fiction for a while.


    January 6, 2012 at 6:21 pm

  3. Hush… no do’s or don’ts or shouldn’t haves:) This is your blog and if you want to post this lovely cake you darn well should! It’s stunning!! I don’t have a flourless cake recipe and am so glad to now have one!! I agree… baking a cake is perfect for the “blues” after Christmas I sometimes feel.

    Just A Smidgen

    January 6, 2012 at 10:08 pm

  4. This is just mouthwatering!


    January 7, 2012 at 2:03 am

  5. I think your blog is beautiful and I love your writing!

    Abbey Asaayi Davies

    January 7, 2012 at 2:04 am

  6. AMY! DROOL! I have never made a flourless cake, but I’m so intrigued. Do you think this would work well with dark chocolate? I’m especially loving the lack of sugar in this, with the exception of the chocolate itself and the powdered sugar. I’m keeping this one in my back pocket. I’m such a sucker for chocolate and raspberry. I agree-great writing. You definitely are the dessert queen, it’s official. Let’s get you a badge.


    January 7, 2012 at 3:32 am

    • Hahah, thanks Stephanie, your comment made me laugh. And yep, you could use dark chocolate! I’ve made it that way before–it’s pretty intense, but my boyfriend especially loved it. I can’t handle too much chocolate though, so I prefer a mix with semi-sweet. (Although thinking now in retrospect maybe I should make it with dark chocolate so I eat less of it!)


      January 7, 2012 at 1:50 pm

  7. Flourless chocolate cake is probably my favourite dessert in the world so you won me over just with the title of this post. And then I saw the pictures, which are gorgeous. And then I read about your resolutions, or lack of them, which I totally agree with. Perfect recipe, great sentiment and please can I have a slice now? :-)


    January 7, 2012 at 10:20 am

  8. the best thing about this cake is that it is extremely rich and full of flavour, it is so addictive since it is really delicious, looks beautiful!


    January 7, 2012 at 5:57 pm

  9. This looks so delicious! I just want to sink my teeth into a bite of that luscious chocolate cake. I’m a list maker, so the whole new years resolution is totally up my alley. But I agree that it’s difficult to stick to them. For example… one of my resolutions: to go to sleep earlier. Totally. Not. Happening. when there are so many delicious blogs to look at on the internet.


    January 7, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    • Haha! I feel you–every day I tell myself to go to bed earlier, and yet there I am past midnight catching up on food blogs! Oh well, it’s worth it. :)


      January 7, 2012 at 10:06 pm

  10. Oh my…this looks amazing! Perfect for one of my chocolate cravings…which are pretty constant. :)


    January 8, 2012 at 6:51 am

  11. I can’t wait to try! I don’t know why I am always amazed that with the same ingredients, slight variations can make a huge difference. I made another flourless chocolate cake at Christmas using a little Bailey’s soaked cranberries and it was a big hit.


    January 10, 2012 at 8:35 am

  12. Hello, beautiful.


    January 11, 2012 at 9:37 am

  13. This is your best post yet Am. Srsly.


    January 12, 2012 at 12:54 pm

  14. This torte did not disappoint, nor did it last very long – less than 24 hours between 6 people. A new staple for my get-togethers. It was good with and without the caramel sauce (which was also amazing).


    November 27, 2012 at 7:40 pm

  15. Looks yummy but I’m also sensitive to dairy–is there a good sans-butter substitute?


    December 11, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    • Hi Amy (nice name ;). I’ve never tried it myself, but it coconut oil is often recommended as a good substitute for butter since it has similar melting/solidifying points. You melt the fat together with the chocolate so hopefully there wouldn’t be too many textural differences from that. Let me know if you give it a try!


      December 11, 2012 at 7:50 pm

  16. Is the baking temperature really 250 degrees, or is that a typo? It seems really low but I just wanted to make sure.


    January 31, 2013 at 11:23 am

    • Hi Emily! Yes, it’s 250 degrees. It’s low, but it bakes for awhile and it turns out with a fantastic texture. Let me know how it goes if you make it!


      January 31, 2013 at 7:51 pm

  17. A few weeks ago the boyfriend and I went out to dinner and for dessert we had this absolutely fantastic chocolate tarte. The texture was to die for and I had to seriously watch myself so as not to moan enthusiastically right there in the restaurant.

    So back home I started looking for recipes that would hopefully produce a similar result. 50 cookbooks later = zip!
    After many hours of combing through the Internet I eventually found your blog, this recipe and I tried the tarte yesterday.
    Words cannot describe how awesome this is! Thanks to you we will die fat and happy :D


    March 10, 2013 at 9:35 am

    • Lisa! I loved your comment. Thanks for reporting back and letting me know you finally found your end-all chocolate torte. It’s definitely the one I keep coming back to even after trying other recipes. :)


      March 10, 2013 at 11:16 am

  18. !!! this is the best/most torturous form of procrastination!

    Abbey Davies (@abbeyasaayi)

    April 24, 2013 at 9:23 pm

  19. hi, what is “powdered sugar”? is it icing sugar or castor sugar? thanks.


    November 19, 2013 at 1:39 am

  20. I’m baking this right now and just wanted to chime in about the 250F baking temp.. I came back to double check that it wasn’t a typo-

    It’s taking at least 1hr 30 minutes here for my torte to look “done”, I’m in Portland, OR.

    This smells like heaven, I can’t wait to dig in!


    February 2, 2014 at 8:53 pm

  21. I made this today for a dinner party-it was delicious! I served it with fresh raspberries and vanilla bean ice cream. It was easy to make and a definite hit!

    Leigh Klock

    October 24, 2015 at 11:44 pm

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