Bête Noire {Flourless Chocolate Cake – To Die For}

This recipe was originally given to me by my mother-in-law sometime back in the early 80s. She is one of those cooks who is naturally gifted at spotting and making truly wonderful desserts, like this one. I used to make it for my husband for his birthday or for Valentine’s Day. In fact, I ‘ve had the heart mould I use exclusively for this cake for as long as I’ve had the recipe. Anyway, I hadn’t made it since moving to Florida  from the UK (no idea why) and decided that as it’s Valentine’s this week, I’d bake it for our amazing bridge group. Of course, the cake was a total success. I can’t take all the credit for it though, it really is an amazing cake! I’ve been looking at the original photocopy of the recipe my mother-in-law gave me I can’t figure out where it originated from. All it says is Summer 1985 page 73. So I started doing a little digging. It appears it was first created or launched to fame by Lora Brody (whom I knew nothing about). How come I’d never heard wonderful cook before?? She has a number of recipe books published that I think I must investigate further. Which brings me to the point of why I love food blogging so much … it’s all about passing on great recipes that continue to live and evolve and enjoyed years and years later. Please read the notes at the end as they relate to cooking times, temperature and trouble shooting.

BETE NOIRE {Flourless Chocolate Cake - To Die For}

Ingredients for the Cake:
1 ⅓ cups of sugar
1/2 cup water
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, broken into small pieces (I use Ghirardelli)
4 ounces milk chocolate, broken into small pieces (I use Green & Blacks chocolate bars) – Please read notes on chocolate
½ lb of unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut roughly into 1″ chunks
5 extra large eggs, at room temperature (or 6 smaller eggs)

Ingredients for Chocolate Ganache Glaze:
1 cup of heavy cream
10 oz of semi-sweet chocolate or (good quality milk chocolate)

Instructions for the Cake:

Pre-heat oven to 335°F

You will need a nine-inch cake pan lined with parchment (I use a cute heart shaped tin for this cake) and a larger baking tin that will hold water and the cake tin to bake it in a “bain marie” – I use the lid of a roasting tin for this (it’s shallow and wide enough)

In a heavy 1½ quart pan, combine the water with 1 cup of sugar

Bring mixture to a rapid boil and cook for 2 minutes

Remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the chopped chocolate

Stir until the chocolate is completely melted

The mixture may ”sieze” but don’t worry, it will blend when the butter is added

Immediately start adding the butter a few chunks at a time, stirring until each chunk is incorporated before adding the rest

The mixture will thicken and turn glossy – this can take about 10 minutes

Place the eggs and remaining ⅓ cup of sugar in the bowl (you can use a hand whisk or electric mixer)

Beat until the sugar has dissolved but don’t let the eggs get fluffy

Pour the chocolate butter mixture into the egg mixture and fold in by hand (with a whisk or spoon) until combined – Do not over-mix

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan

Place in the oven and bake 60 minutes on a lower shelf (one below the middle)

After 40 minutes, place a sheet of foil losely over your cake to stop it from getting too crusty and contineu to bake for another 20 minutes

Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for about 15 minutes

Then turn it out onto the rack to cool further, ready for glazing


Instructions for the Ganache and Glazing the Cake:

In a small pan over medium-high heat, scold the cream

Remove from the heat and immediately add the chocolate

Stir gently until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth

Cool slightly before using (about 5 minutes)

Place the cake on a wire rack that is positioned over parchment paper to catch the extra glaze and will drop off the cake

Pour the glaze over the cake, smoothing the top and sides with a dull knife or cake spatula

Cool in fridge and serve

The original recipe calls for 8 oz of unsweetened chocolate and 4 oz of semi-sweet chocolate for the cake and semi-sweet for the ganache. I prefer to use a combination of semi sweet and milk chocolate for the cake but if you like your chocolate dark, use the darker unsweetened and semi-sweet chocolate.
The original recipe also says bake for 30 to 35 minutes and no longer than 35 minutes And also at a higher temperature. 60 minutes at a lower temperature works best for my oven so the crust does not get too crispy and the inside is evenly baked.
It’s important to let the cake cool in the pan (but out of the water bath) before you turn it out. Otherwise it can lose its shape if you turn it out too soon.
You can make it a day in advance and keep refrigerated but bring it out of the fridge for about 20 minutes before serving.

© 2014-2015 Caroline’s Family Kitchen and CarolinesFamilyKitchen.com


  1. Leave a Reply

    Regina Siewert

    Thank you Caroline! The cake was divine. You definitively achieved perfection on this one.

    • Leave a Reply


      Thank you Regina for sharing the sinfulness with us!

    • Leave a Reply


      Thank you Helena! By all means do! And let me now if you come up with the carb free version! Lol

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