Recipes: Desserts

Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake

Romeo and Juliet. John and Yoko. Coffee and Cocoa. Few couples are as important to history than coffee and cocoa beans. This gluten-free, classic dessert is rich and yet, clean on the tongue. The richness of the chocolate is complimented by the crispness of espresso beans. Top it with flaky salt and whipped cream and you are truly enjoying aphrodisia. I love to serve this at parties because it can be prepared in advance by up to two days. It really adds a grand finale that is easy to accomplish. 


all units: U.S. Imperial


  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1” pieces, at room temperature, plus more for baking pan
  • ¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided, plus more for pan
  • 10 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (61%–72% cacao), coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp ground espresso beans
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt


  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 8oz creme fraîche
  • Pinch of flaky sea salt
  • Candied Ginger (optional)

*a 9-inch spring-form pan and electric mixer or whisk

Preheat oven to 350º. 

Using some extra butter, coat the pan with butter and dust the interior with 2 tbsp of granulated sugar. In a double boiler (place a heat safe bowl in a pot with 1-2inches of water and bring to boil) melt the chocolate and butter, remove the bowl from the pot and set aside. 

Separate 4 of the eggs into two medium mixing bowls. Using the remaining 2 whole eggs and crack them into a medium bowl with the egg yolks, then add the cocoa powder, espresso, vanilla extract, and granulated sugar, whisk until smooth. Slowly stir the melted chocolate into the egg yolk mixture. 

Whip the egg whites until the mixture begins to foam and become white, with the mixer continually running, gradually add the sugar until fully incorporated and a stiff meringue begins to form. In two batches, fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Make sure that no white ribbons of egg whites can be seen. 

Pour the chocolate batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake at 350º for 35-40 mins. Cake should puff-up and rise, and the edges will pull away from the pan. Remove from the oven and allow to completely cool before serving, can be made 1-2 days in advance.

To make the topping: using a whisk or electric mixer, whip the chilled heavy cream and creme fraîche together with a pinch of salt. Serve with the whipped cream mounded on the center of the cake with julienned candied ginger (optional)

Serves 8-10