At a Glance

Prep
15 mins. to 20 mins.
Bake
45 mins. to 50 mins.
Total
5 hrs to 14 hrs 10 mins.
Yield
1 cake, 16 to 20 servings
Our thanks to Alejandro Ramon from Zingerman's Bakehouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for sharing with us the recipe for this deep-dark, dense, moist, supremely chocolate-y cake. Not only is it flourless — it's gluten-free, making it perfect for any audience.
Volume Ounces Grams

  • One pound (2 2/3 cups chopped) Belcolade bittersweet discs or Guittard bittersweet chocolate Onyx wafers (50-80% cocoa)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter or margarine
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt*
  • 7 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup liqueur, flavor of your choice; optional
  • *Omit the salt if you use salted butter or margarine.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Boil a kettle of water; you'll need it for a water bath. Spray or butter a 9" round cake pan. Place a parchment circle on the bottom of the pan, and grease the parchment.
  2. Chop the chocolate and dice the butter or margarine into 1/4" pieces, and place them in a mixing bowl.
  3. Pour the water into a saucepan, add the sugar and salt, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to be sure the sugar dissolves.
  4. Remove the sugar water from the heat, and pour it over the chocolate and butter. Stir until the mixture is completely melted, smooth, and shiny. Let it cool for 10 minutes before adding the eggs, so they don't cook.
  5. Whisk the eggs with a fork until well blended. This doesn't mean beat the eggs; just be sure they're of a uniform consistency. If you're adding liqueur, stir it in once the eggs are blended.
  6. Add the eggs to the chocolate mixture and blend well. Again, no beating is required. This cake is meant to be moist and dense, so you don't really want to introduce a lot of air bubbles. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
  7. Place the cake pan in a large, deep baking pan that's already set on the oven rack. Slowly pour the boiling water into the deep pan, to bring it halfway up the side of the cake pan.
  8. Carefully slide the rack back into the oven, trying not to splash water into the cake (although it won't ruin the cake if you splash in a drop or two of water).
  9. Bake the cake for 45 to 50 minutes, and remove it from the oven. The center should feel set when you touch it, and the edges will just barely be starting to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  10. Carefully remove the cake from the hot water. Allow it to cool at room temperature for 1 hour, then cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
  11. Once the cake is thoroughly chilled, remove it from the pan. Run a knife or offset spatula around the edge of the pan. Set the pan over a low flame or burner on the stove for 30 seconds. Lift the pan with oven mitts and place a cutting board covered with parchment paper over the top. Flip the cake over, so the parchment and cutting board are underneath.
  12. Tap the edge of the pan sharply on one side, turn it 180°, and tap the pan again. The cake should release. If it doesn't, tap it a few more times. When you feel the cake release, flip the cake and pan back to an upright position, using the parchment and cutting board to prevent the cake from falling out.
  13. Place a serving plate on top of the cake pan, and carefully flip everything over. Lift up the pan — the cake should remain on the plate. Peel off the parchment. Refrigerate the cake, uncovered, for 15 minutes, to allow the top to firm before cutting.
  14. To finish and serve, cut the cake into at least 16 pieces — it's very rich. To prevent sticking, use a sharp knife, dipped in hot water and wiped off after each slice.
  15. Dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder. Serve with fresh raspberries, if desired.
  16. This cake will keep well in the refrigerator for up to four days; for longer storage, wrap well and freeze. To serve, simply defrost overnight in the refrigerator.
  17. Yield: 1 cake, 16 to 20 servings.

Tips from our bakers

  • This cake makes a wonderful Passover dessert. While our chocolates are kosher, they're not pareve or kosher for Passover. And if you have severe nut allergies, it's important to note that they're not produced in a nut-free facility.
  • We love Belcolade or Guittard bittersweet chocolate in this recipe, but use chocolate of whatever degree of bitterness you prefer. You can also substitute up to 20% unsweetened chocolate, if you prefer a darker, less sweet cake.
  • If you're making this cake dairy-free for Passover, use margarine instead of butter. But beware — many margarines contain salt; so if you use salted margarine, omit the salt in the recipe.