Nadia's Flourless Dark Chocolate Cake

Okay. This recipe is not completely healthy. But it’s one of the most delicious desserts I have tasted recently that is wheat free and actually easy to make. In fact, I bet you have almost all of these ingredients already in your house.

My friend Nadia totally understands my deep love of extra dark chocolate, so she made this cake one spring evening when she came for dinner. I fell in love. In fact, I took the extra cake and cut it into little pieces and then froze it, so I could eat the leftovers slowly over time whenever I needed a chocolate fix. (I highly recommend doing this with yours!)

Why dark chocolate?

Usually I recommend eating 85-90% extra dark chocolate because it is relatively low in sugar and high in anti-inflammatory compounds like flavonoids and good saturated fat. Did I say good saturated fat?! Why, yes! I did! The saturated fat that comes from animals is pro-inflammatory in the body, but the saturated fat from delicious extra dark chocolate comprises stearic acid, which squelches inflammation.

Additionally, a square of extra dark chocolate is a little sweet, but not too sweet. It satisfies the need for a little something in the middle of the afternoon, but then once you eat a piece or two you can be done with it and move on with your day, in contrast to other sugar hits that leave your body searching for more. The high percentage of saturated fat in extra dark chocolate turns on brain chemicals signaling satiety.

In fact, most people who follow a healthy diet tend to under-consume saturated fat, but we all need about 10% of our daily calories from saturated fat to support our cell membranes and other lipid-rich structures in the body.

So, ultimately, extra dark chocolate is a SUPER FOOD! Hooray!

Sometimes, however, I want real dessert. This one fits the bill. It’s not too sweet, and it tastes extra amazing with a little shot of espresso on the side. In fact, I find that drinking a little coffee with dessert (decaf for me if it’s after 12pm) helps me to get rid of that “I just want to keep eating more and more” feeling that can accompany dessert time.

I prefer to use dark chocolate chips in this recipe, rather than semi-sweet. Ghiradelli makes a great 60% chocolate chip that’s available at many standard grocery stores. But feel free to use darker chocolate if that’s appealing to you.

If you want to avoid butter, you can use Earth Balance spread or Miyoko’s vegan butter. But I think butter tastes better.

I scraped out a vanilla bean for this recipe, which added a depth of flavor that was truly remarkable. One vanilla bean is equivalent to about 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract, so add whatever amount makes you feel comfortable.

Give this cake a whirl. It’s easy to make, and it will rock your chocolate world . . . so much so, that if you drop it on the floor like I did while taking it out of the oven (I burned myself and then dropped the cake!) you’ll eat it off the floor just like my dad and I did.

Makes one 8” cake, serves approximately 8 adults

Ingredients

1 cup 60% Ghiradelli chocolate chips

½ cup butter/butter substitute (if salted, then omit salt below)

1/3 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean, scraped or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

¼ teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)

3 eggs

½ cup cocoa powder

Optional Toppings

Berries (strawberries, blackberries or raspberries)

Dark chocolate shavings

 

Directions

1.     Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8” round pan and line with parchment at the bottom.

2.     Melt butter and chocolate chips in a large glass bowl (try 60-90 seconds at 50% power to avoid burning), or melt over low heat in a double boiler on the stove top.

3.     Pour the butter-chocolate into a stand mixer bowl. Or keep in the glass bowl and use a hand mixer. Gently mix in sugar, vanilla and salt (if using).

4.     Beat in the eggs until batter is smooth.

5.     Add in cocoa powder and gently mix until combined.

6.     Pour into prepared pan and bake at 325 degrees for approximately 18-22 minutes. The cake is done when it starts to pull away from the edges of the pan and is a little firm to touch in the center.

7.     Cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then invert onto serving plate. The bottom becomes the top!

8.     Decorate with berries. Grate a small bar of dark chocolate shavings to increase your inner baker awesomeness.

 

Tips

1.     A note about salt: salt enhances the chocolate and sweet flavor of dessert, so often a little hint of salt will make EVERYTHING taste better. Nadia doesn’t like salt at all, but she loved it in this dessert!

2.     If you have a convection oven, use the regular baking mode and start checking the cake at 16 minutes so that you don’t overbake. (It makes me so sad to eat a dry cake!)