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Sharing a simple Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake for your mid-week chocolate fix. Don’t let the flourless detail scare you away, this chocolate cake is insanely delicious. Made using dark chocolate and olive oil for richness, sweetened simply with only a touch of sugar, made airy with whipped egg whites, and studded with chocolate chunks. Top with honey whipped ricotta for a sweet creamy balance to the rich, fudgy, molten-like cake. Trust me, this is SO GOOD, and extra chocolatey. Bonus? This cake is even gluten-free!

side angled photo of Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake with 3 pieces of cake stacked on top of each other to expose the chocolate

The true gift of Valentine’s Day? Chocolate…all the chocolate. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love some pretty flowers, jewelry, or a restock of my favorite skincare products. But to me, nothing beats a warm chocolate cake. I mean, right? Baking up something sweet for someone you love is a true way to really show them how much you care.

Enter this cake. It’s great for Valentine’s Day (do you celebrate?), but equally great for any other day you’re craving a little chocolate. This is that go-to, super easy, insanely rich, but not too sweet, chocolate cake. It melts in your mouth and is truly “roll your eyes'” back delicious. And the crazy thing? This cake is completely flourless making it naturally gluten-free.

Promise it’s not too good to be true.

Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake batter before baking

The back story…

This cake took me some time to get right, but the extra effort was worth it. The keys to success? Good chocolate, good extra virgin olive oil, a decent amount of eggs, and apparently no flour.

For the chocolate, I usually use an organic chocolate bar from Whole Foods that’s 85% dark chocolate. If you want a sweeter cake, try using a 70% dark chocolate bar.

As for the olive oil, I love using Brightland olive oil, especially when baking. It adds the perfect, subtle fruit flavor and creates a cake that is extra moist. If that’s not easily available, any extra virgin olive oil will work well. Alternately, you can use melted butter in place of the oil, but we love this cake best when baked with olive oil. Shocking, I know, but it works.

Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake batter before baking

To make this flourless chocolate cake…

You need only a few simple, pantry staple ingredients. High-quality chocolate, extra virgin olive oil, eggs, sugar, espresso powder, vanilla, and cocoa powder. Just seven ingredients.

You’ll want to melt together the chocolate and olive oil. I normally just do this in the microwave, but you can easily melt over low heat on the stove. I like to melt the chocolate and oil together in a large mixing bowl that will fit the remaining ingredients. The fewer dishes the better.

Once melted, simply whisk in the egg yolks, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, a pinch of salt, and the vanilla.

Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake just after baking, sitting on parchment paper

Next, take those eggs whites and whip them until stiff peaks form. This step is key to a lighter cake with a slightly crinkly top. It takes no effort at all and creates a truly luscious flourless cake. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture.

The real secret of this cake is the final ingredient, a handful of semi-sweet or milk chocolate chunks. Stir these into the cake batter, then bake, and in less then thirty minutes your kitchen will have hints of espresso and rich chocolate in the air.

The smell alone is better than any bakery…but the cake itself? Every bite is truly to die for.

overhead photo of Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake with 1 slice cut

That’s not all…there’s whipped ricotta too.

This cake is rich. It’s not light and fluffy like a layer cake, but much more thick and fudgy instead. To balance the richness out, I knew I needed some kind of creamy topping. You can, of course, simply top with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream, but why not try something a little more special?

Whipped ricotta…with honey and vanilla too. It’s creamy, lightly sweetened, and heavy on the vanilla…and tastes heavenly. The perfect compliment to this fudgy chocolate cake.

Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake with 3 pieces of cake stacked on top of each other

This cake can be served slightly warm or at room temperature. If you’d like to prepare the cake a few days ahead of time, it stores really well. Just be sure to keep it covered and in a cool place. There’s also no need to refrigerate this cake. Making it the perfect make-ahead dessert for everything from Valentine’s Day, to Easter, to Mother’s Day, and any other occasion in between.

Like maybe some mid-week Tuesday night baking? Hey, it’s mid-February, we have plenty of snow falling here in Colorado, and that’s the perfect excuse to bake up this delicious cake.

Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake with spoon going into cake to take a bite out of cake

Looking for other Valentine’s Day inspired desserts? Try these sweet lemon rose shortbread cookies. They’re an oldie, but one of my favorite cookies.

If you make this Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Flourless Chocolate Espresso Olive Oil Cake with Honey Whipped Ricotta.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories Per Serving: 522 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

WHIPPED RICOTTA

Instructions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch spring-form pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. 
    2. In a medium bowl, melt the dark chocolate and olive oil in the microwave until melted and smooth. Let cool 5 minutes. Whisk in the 5 egg yolks, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, salt, and vanilla until combined.
    3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the egg whites on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Fold half of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mix until just combined, fold in the remaining egg whites. Gently stir in the chocolate chunks. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, spreading it in an even layer. Bake 25-30 minutes, until the center is no longer jiggly. Remove from the oven and let sit 10 minutes.
    4. To make the honey whipped ricotta. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the ricotta, honey, and vanilla. Pulse until smooth and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Taste, adding more honey if needed to sweeten. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
    5. Serve the cake warm or at room temp, dusted with cocoa powder and dolloped with honey whipped ricotta. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Notes

Whipped Egg Whites: if you prefer, you can skip whipping the eggs all together and just use 5 whole eggs. Your cake will not have a crinkly top, but will still be delicious. 
Olive Oil Substitute: you can use an equal amount of melted butter in place of the olive oil. 
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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this for some friends and it was such a hit. Everyone adored it.
    To make this gluten free:
    I use cup4cup flour. Add 1.5 tsp xantham gum and .5 tsp milk powder to the dry mix.
    Mine was almost overcooked after baking for 25 minutes, but my oven runs a bit hot. Next time will back for 20 minutes.

    Also you can make this a few hours ahead, keep at room temp, then toss in the over to warm up for 5 minutes before serving.

  2. 5 stars
    This was the first flourless cake I’ve ever attempted and OH MAN am I glad I did! The texture was light and fudgy and the whipped ricotta added the Feels I didnt even know I needed. Didnt have espresso powder so added instant coffee mixed in with a few drops of hot water … tasted FAB. Will definitely be making this again.

  3. Hi there! Planning on trying this recipe out this weekend—so excited!! Two quick questions though: 1) if I’m using a spring form pan and greasing it, is it okay to forego the parchment paper? 2) If I’m wanting to make this in advance (earlier in the day) and then just pop it in the oven around dessert time, could I just stick the whole pan in the fridge and then go straight to the oven, or what would be best? (Or would that not work at all?) Thanks in advance for your help!!

    1. Hey Monique,
      Sure you can skip the parchment:) Yes, I would keep in the fridge until you are ready to bake. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hey Susanna,
      Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try, I am so glad it was enjoyed! Have a great week:) xTieghan

    1. Hey Lisa,
      Yes, that is fine to use. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  4. I made this today with excellent results. It is the perfect dessert for Valentine’s Day. The only comment I would offer is that the ricotta topping can be done as equally in a bowl with a whisk rather than with a food processor. I hate having to wash a machine and its parts rather than just a bowl and whisk.

    1. Hey Rebecca,
      You could add a raspberry sauce at the end to serve with the cake. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  5. This looks amazing! I don’t have espresso powder but have an espresso machine – could you substitute actual espresso?

    1. Hey Sarah,
      Yes, I think that will work well here! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hey Nancy,
      You could serve this at room temp or pop your slices into the microwave:) I hope you love the recipe! xTieghan

  6. Hi Tieghan,
    I just discovered your website and your recipes look amazing! I would like try this cake for Christmas Eve. Can I use a shot of espresso if I don’t have the powder? Thank you.

    1. Hey Sam,
      Yes, that would work well. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! Happy Holidays! xTieghan

  7. Hey this looks great and I’m about to try it but I’m not sure if the ricotta cream will be good on top.Doesn’t it have a heavy taste on the cake?or the cheese taste goes away with the honey? thanks xx

    1. Hey Deniz,
      I love it but you can always just used whipped cream. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! Happy Holidays! xTieghan

  8. 5 stars
    Made this as a delicious and delectable dark chocolate espresso dessert! It was a hit! Came out perfect! I know you said to store it room temperature but I stuck it in the fridge and it added to its flavor in my opinion! The ricotta honey vanilla frosting was fantastic too! Thank you!

  9. Well this looks fantastic and like I may be able to adapt it for my nefarious purposes… how strong is the coffee flavour from the espresso? I’m in search of a flourless cake recipe that tastes like a good cup of espresso. I think this recipe that uses incredibly dark chocolate could do that, if I stayed at the 85% range and increase the espresso powder. Could I use the same very dark chocolate instead of milk for the chunks, do you think? Could I also add espresso to the ricotta?

    1. Hi Trista! Yes, you can use dark chocolate chunks and I think adding espresso to the ricotta sounds great! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you!! xTieghan