The ultimate chocolate cake recipe

Chocolate cake

Blanche Clark with Himanshu Sharda

Posted January 27, 2022


Perfect for International Chocolate Cake Day or any other day, this flourless chocolate and coffee cake is easy to make and delicious.

Our obsession with chocolate knows no bounds. Along with bars and blocks for every day and handmade specialty chocolates for presents, there are celebrations such as International Chocolate Cake Day on 27 January and World Chocolate Day on 7 July.

Like Halloween, International Chocolate Cake Day is an American tradition, created to celebrate the first known recipe published for chocolate cake in 1847. 

But bakers no doubt started experimenting as soon as Dutch chemist Coenraad van Houten patented a hydraulic press in 1828 that removed most of the cocoa butter from processed cacao to create chocolate powder.

These days there are millions of chocolate cake recipes available on the internet (about 2,570,000,000 at last count), from fudge cakes and sponge cakes to mud cakes and mug cakes. Some use compound chocolate, some use cocoa powder and some use a combination of both.

RACV Executive Chef Himanshu Sharda, who oversees the kitchens at Healesville Country Club & Resort, likes to use high-quality couverture chocolate, which contains a higher percentage of cocoa butter – about 32-39 per cent – than regular eating chocolate. You can buy couverture chocolate at specialty chocolate shops or online suppliers.

Sharda is also a fan of the flourless chocolate cake, a style of cake that gets its lift and structure from egg whites rather than flour and ends up with an irresistible fudgy texture. The addition of coffee simply enhances the rich, chocolatey flavour.

“I am sharing this amazing chocolate cake recipe, which is perfect as a dessert or a perfect afternoon tea treat,” he says. 

“The cake is quite light and moist, and I love having it with some whipped cream and summer berries.”

Flourless cakes are also ideal for those who are gluten free.

 

Flourless chocolate cake

It is normal for a flourless chocolate cake to sink a little as it cools. The result is a delicious fudgy texture. Photo: Getty


Top tips for the perfect chocolate cake

Whisk, then wait

Separate your eggs when they are cold, and then let them come up to room temperature. Why? It’s easier to separate yolks and whites when the eggs are cold, but the whites will whip up to their greatest volume at room temperature.

Melt the chocolate with care

Always use indirect heat to melt chocolate. You can use a double boiler or a heat-safe bowl on top of a pot of water. Make sure no water or steam meets the chocolate when it’s melting. The top saucepan or bowl must fit snugly and not touch the simmering water underneath.

 


Delicious chocolate cake recipe 

Serves

8-10 

Time to make

90 minutes

Difficulty

Easy

Ingredients

  • 45g unsalted butter
  • 170g couverture dark chocolate
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup caster sugar (½ cup for whites and ½ cup for yolks)
  • 45g instant ground coffee
  • 1tbsp vanilla bean extract
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to about 200°C. Adjust your oven if necessary, but the temperature needs to be moderately hot to hot. 

  2. Brush a round cake tin (18-20cm) with softened butter. Line the base and sides of the tin with non-stick baking paper.
  3. Melt the butter and chocolate in a heat-safe bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until smooth and glossy.

  4. Separate the egg whites and egg yolks. Beat six egg yolks and half a cup of sugar in a mixer for few minutes, then add coffee, salt and vanilla extract. Continue to whip the mixture for a few more minutes. 

  5. In another bowl whisk the six egg whites and remaining sugar until nice and stiff foam. Fold the chocolate mixture and the egg mixture together.

  6. Pour the mixture into a cake tin and bake for 45 minutes. Once cooked, put the cake on a wire rack and let it cool. The cake will lose a little bit of volume, which is completely fine for a flourless cake.

  7. Dust with icing sugar and serve with berries and whipped cream.

  8. Enjoy with a cup of tea.

Cake with cream and berries

Serve your chocolate cake with cream and berries. Photo: Getty