This flourless chocolate loaf cake is rich and fudgy beyond words! A quick mixed berry coulis is the perfect accompaniment.
Greetings, friendly bakers! I’m still very much on a flourless desserts kick, and I’ve been testing and tweaking lots of new recipes like this swoon-worthy chocolate cake. It’s probably the most intensely chocolate dessert I’ve ever made or tasted!
Through my tasting and testing, I felt that chocolate cake this deeply profound needed a foil, which came in the form of a bag of mixed berries in my freezer. I’ve made berry coulis many times in my confectionery history, but I sort of forgot about it for a while. It’s so easy and bright tasting, I silently scolded myself for not making it more often. I’m convinced it is this cake’s soul mate, and should never be omitted from the recipe.
Always begin with really great chocolate. I used 3 bars of organic 65% semisweet chocolate. Whatever excellent chocolate you choose, chop it fine with a large chef’s knife because it is melted alongside lots of butter. This mixture may seem familiar, because it is how many wonderful brownie recipes begin.
I went the quick-and-easy route by melting the chocolate and butter together in the microwave, but you could also do this over a double boiler. However, I prefer and recommend using the microwave. It removes the risk of getting water from a double boiler’s steam in your chocolate, which will make it seize and become a chunky mess.
You’ll use lots of eggs, and they’ll need to be whipped with sugar for a good long while until they become voluminous and light in color, just like the picture above.
The chocolate and butter mixture is combined with the eggs, along with a couple of pantry staples, and then it’s poured into a parchment-lined loaf pan.
The cake will need to bake in a water bath so it doesn’t crack and retains its moist, fudgy texture. If you suspect your loaf pan is not leak-proof, wrap the bottom in a double thickness of aluminum foil before placing it in the water bath.
The cooled cake is topped with yet another layer of chocolate! A simple ganache speckled with chocolate pearls. If you’re making this for gluten-free dietary considerations, be sure to use gluten-free decors or pure chocolate sprinkles. The pearls I had on hand have a tiny toasted biscuit center () which is not a gluten-free product.
Chilled, this cake has a texture similar to fudge. Although it is delicious chilled, I recommend letting letting the cake come to room temperature before serving it. It’s softer and the flavors are more developed.
This is a cake you’ll want to share, because a little goes a long way. It is absolutely special occasion-worthy, and just the thing for the chocolate fanatic in your life!
Yields one 9×5-inch loaf
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons/173g) unsalted butter
12 oz. (3 bars, 4 oz. ea.) semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup (25g) dark cocoa powder
1/2 cup (53g) finely ground almonds (almond flour, or another nut flour)
1/8 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup (6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
Chocolate pearls or gluten-free chocolate sprinkles, for garnish
1 lb. frozen mixed berries, thawed (tested with blueberry, blackberry, and raspberry mix)
1/2 to 1 cup (100-200g) granulated sugar (to taste)
1 tablespoon Chambord or blackberry brandy *optional
For the cake: Preheat the oven to 320°F. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan with solid vegetable shortening (Crisco) and line with parchment paper so that it overhangs the two long sides of the pan.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the eggs and sugar together at high speed until thick and lightened in color, about 5-7 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter and chopped chocolate. Heat in the microwave at 100% power in 45 second intervals. Stir well with each heating, until the mixture is melted and can be stirred smooth.
Lower the mixer speed and gradually add the melted chocolate mixture a little at a time. Mix in the dark cocoa powder, ground almonds and salt. Scrape down the bowl to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated and pour into the prepared pan.
Place a large roasting pan on the center rack in the oven. Place the loaf pan in the pan and fill with hot water to about 1/3 up the loaf pan (hot tap water is fine, or boil a pot on the stove top). Bake for 30 minutes at 320°F. Increase temperature to 350°F and bake for about 20 minutes more, until the cake is set. The cake should have a slight dip in the center, this is normal. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan. Transfer to the refrigerator for faster cooling, if desired.
For the toppings: Combine the chocolate chips and cream in a large microwave-safe glass measure. Microwave at 100% power for 1 minute. Allow the hot mixture to stand for 1 minute. Whisk together until a glossy ganache forms; pour over the cooled cake in the pan. Immediately garnish with pearls or sprinkles. Let stand until set, or refrigerate to speed setting.
For the coulis: combine the thawed berries and ½ cup of sugar in a medium saucepan. Cook until the berries give off their juices, about 7 minutes. Add more sugar to taste (berry tartness will vary). Cook until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool. Place berries in a food processor or blender and pulse until pureed. Place a sieve over a large bowl and pour the berry puree through; press using the back of a spoon or rubbery spatula to force the liquid through the sieve. Discard the solids. Stir in the tablespoon of liquor if using. Transfer the coulis to a jar or cover the bowl and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Run a knife between the cake pan and the cake and remove from the pan using the overhanging parchment paper; peel away the paper and discard. Allow the cake to come to room temperature before serving.
To serve, pour berry coulis on dessert dishes and plate chocolate loaf slices on top. This cake is also excellent served with unsweet whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.