A gorgeously ‘fallen’ Flourless Chocolate Torte made with just 4 ingredients. Naturally gluten free. The cake and cherry sauce are also optional dairy free.
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Originally posted 30th May 2013. Updated 14th July 2022
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4 ingredient, Fallen Flourless Chocolate Torte – Naturally gluten free
Simple desserts don’t come much better than Flourless Chocolate Torte. Rich, dark and utterly delicious, it also has the added bonus of being naturally gluten free and completely safe for people with Coeliac Disease (Celiac). Not quite cake and not quite brownie, it’s a dense and fudgy delight… And it’s divine paired with gently whipped cream and the fruitiness of cherries or berries. Perfect for the most sophisticated of dinner parties or just because…
This particular Flourless Chocolate Torte is of the ‘fallen’ (or sunken) variety… Meaning that the centre sinks as it cools and the surface cracks. That’s how it’s meant to be… But it also makes it the perfect ‘bowl’ for filling with cream, fruit, ganache or anything else you wish to use. I’ve filled my fallen torte with fresh, cool, vanilla Mascarpone cream. And offset the richness with a homemade drizzled cherry sauce at the plate.
And as if that wasn’t enough to persuade you to make it… Flourless Chocolate Torte is also a dessert of preferred maturity. Give it a day or two unfilled and wrapped and it will become even more fudgy and delightful. And that makes it the ideal, make-ahead pudding to entertain.
What’s the difference between a Chocolate Torte and a Chocolate Cake?
To the naked eye, this dessert may look like a chocolate cake. But being someone with a keen attention to detail (and a pedant as well), I am fairly clear that the recipe is for a genuine chocolate torte. So, what the devil is the difference?
Fundamentally, it comes down to ingredients. While a traditionally-made cake uses a basic combination of butter, sugar, eggs and flour in the recipe, a torte generally contains little or no flour (although may use some ground nuts in the mix instead). This shift in ingredients means that the Flourless Chocolate Torte will be much more dense and fudgy than a chocolate cake… And thus richer, more sumptuous and exceptionally decadent. A little goes a longer way.
What’s in my 4 ingredient Flourless Chocolate Torte?
The Chocolate Torte recipe shared here contains just 4 ingredients…
- DARK chocolate
- Caster Sugar
In addition, there is the option to add a hint of vanilla. While not entirely necessary, I throw vanilla at pretty much everything.
The best ingredients for the best Flourless Chocolate Torte
Because this Gluten Free Chocolate Torte is so simple in its list of ingredients, it is worth using the best and freshest available to you when making it. The butter should be good quality with nothing extra added (don’t use ‘spreadables’ with softening agents). While eggs are best fresh and free range and caster sugar, preferably golden for the extra caramel notes it brings.
A special note about chocolate…
Flourless Chocolate Torte contains a lot of chocolate in ratio to other ingredients. And for that reason, it’s really worth using a good quality, reliably-meltable brand. Good chocolate will make this cake shine bright.
I would also strongly advise using DARK chocolate. Milk chocolate is not only more liable to seizing when melted (resulting in frustration and waste), but will also make the torte over-sweet. A Chocolate Torte is meant to be deep and dark and very adult. Too much sugar and the chocolate will be drowned out by ‘sickly sweet’.
I use this Callebaut Select Dark 811, which is perfect for the job (although not certified dairy free). And yes… I buy it in 2.5 kg bags (although they do come smaller). Not only does it work out more or less the same price as a good bar alternative (cost to weight and for better quality), but it is reliable, versatile and a big bag lasts me literally months.
Can I make this Torte recipe dairy free as well as gluten free?
While my Flourless Chocolate Torte is naturally gluten free, some of you may also be wondering whether it can be made dairy free as well. The answer is yes! The torte itself will only require two simple subs…
- Switch the dairy butter for a good dairy free BLOCK alternative (such as Stork or Flora baking block
- Use certified, meltable, dairy free dark chocolate (with no ‘may contain’ warnings)
Do I need any special equipment to make this dessert?
Most of what you need to make a Flourless Chocolate Torte is likely to be in your kitchen, especially if you are already a keen baker. However… Here’s a list of the key bits of kit you’ll need…
- A good pair of Kitchen Scales.
- 9-inch round, DEEP non-stick spring-form Cake Tin. Or an equivalent 8-inch tin (The cake may take a little longer to bake in this one, as it will be deeper).
- Good quality Baking Paper.
- Mixing Bowls.
- A robust, high-powered Electric Hand Whisk, or Stand Mixer.
- Pyrex Bowl for melting the chocolate.
- Spatula or Mixing Spoon… I love my flexible spoon-spatula for baking.
- Oven and hob.
- Stick or Stand Blender for puréeing the cherry sauce.
Tips for making this Flourless Chocolate Torte recipe
Making chocolate torte is very easy, providing you adhere to a few basic rules of the recipe. The main tips that are really worth taking note of are as follows…
- Make sure you use a spring form cake tin to bake the torte. This is a cake that is lifted rather than turned out. And it needs to be released from the tin upright and easily.
- Base-line the tin with good quality baking paper. There is also the option to spray the tin with cake release spray to help remove it after baking. However, I have found that chilling the torte before carefully sliding a knife around the outside edge works fine.
- Melt the chocolate with the butter slowly. Too much heat and the chocolate will seize into an unwieldy lump.
- Make sure the eggs are at room temperature before you start baking. They will blend and whip more easily.
- Keep whisking the eggs until they have become thick and have increased to about 5 times their original volume. Getting as much air as possible into the mixture is important.
- Gently fold the melted chocolate into the egg mixture to maintain as much air as possible… But don’t stop folding until ALL the chocolate has been evenly blended. It has a habit of hugging the bottom of the mixing bowl and needs to be folded from the base.
- Do not over-bake. An over-baked torte will be dry and hard. To test when it is ready, stick a skewer (or toothpick) into the cake… It should come out with plenty of sticky, slightly wet crumbs attached (NOT ‘clean’ and not a wet, smooth batter).
How to remove a Flourless Chocolate Torte from the baking tin
The Flourless Chocolate Torte (much like a brownie) can sometimes stick to the sides of the tin and be a devil to get out (especially when just baked). Here are my top tips for making it as straightforward as possible…
- Once the torte is cool, place in the fridge and chill well. This causes the sponge to firm up (and shrink fractionally), making it more robust to handle without damage. The torte will return to perfect fudginess when brought back to room temperature.
- Before removing, run a flat knife around the outer edge of the cake, inside the tin.
- Gently and slowly release the spring-form clips, making sure there are no remaining ‘stuck’ points. If there are, re-close and run the knife again before continuing to open.
- Carefully transfer the torte to a serving plate with the help of a wide, flat spatula (such as a flat, fish slice).
- While you have the option to leave the base baking paper in place, I personally think it looks unsightly and makes cutting messier, even if it is initially hidden under the sponge. Remove the paper while the torte is cold and firm!
How to serve a Sunken Chocolate Torte… Mascarpone Cream, Cherry Sauce and other variations
There are many ways to serve a Flourless Chocolate Torte… whether ‘decorated’ or not. These are some of my favourites…
- Fill the sunken dip of the sponge with Mascarpone Cream (or plain, softly whipped cream) as in the shared recipe. And embellish with a sprinkle of grated chocolate and/or freeze-dried fruit powder.
- Dust the whole surface with plain cocoa powder. The powder will settle around the cracks and crevices and create drama and an almost velvet-like ‘carpet’.
- Top with a light sprinkling of icing sugar for contrasting colour.
- Make a fruit sauce to pair with the dark chocolate. Cherry Sauce (shared in the recipe below) tends to be more seasonal (although frozen cherries can be found all year). However, drizzling Raspberry or Berry Coulis is equally perfect.
- Drizzle with an easy tangy lemon sauce. I think the marriage of dark chocolate with lemon is seriously underrated and it is definitely one to try.
- Serve with berries and cherries on the side.
- Sit each slice of torte in a pool of Crème Anglaise (or custard)… Shop-bought is fine.
- Top with a scoop of tangy Rhubarb Ice Cream or any other flavour you prefer.
However you accompany your torte on the plate, it is important to allow the sponge to warm towards room temperature for the best texture and fudginess (if it has been stored in the fridge… See below). With this in mind, remove from the fridge about half an hour before serving (if already topped with cream). Or.. store the torte at room temperature and add pre-whipped cream just before serving. If serving with ice cream or custard as a side, simply keep the cake at room temperature.
How to store your Flourless Chocolate Torte
As mentioned above, this Flourless Chocolate Torte matures well over a day or so. Gently wrap in clingfilm, or baking paper and foil and leave at room temperature for 24 hours for best fudginess.
If storing ‘naked’ (before being topped with cream or other perishables), then chocolate torte will keep well at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.
However, if it has been topped ahead of time with cream, etc, it will need to be stored in the fridge. In this case, remember to remove it an hour ahead of serving for best texture.
Flourless Chocolate Torte can be frozen and kept for up to 2 months, providing it is well wrapped and protected from ‘knocks’ that might damage it. Defrost completely to room temperature before serving.
Have you made my naturally gluten free, Flourless Chocolate Torte?
The recipe for my naturally gluten free, Flourless Chocolate Torte is shared below with my love. Enjoy! If you make it, I’d love to hear from you. Did you love it too? What did you pair it with? Did you serve it for a special occasion?
I’d also love it if you could rate the recipe too… ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
And just in case you haven’t found it yet… Did you know we have a huge Gluten Free Recipe Index that is shared for FREE? All you need to do is click the link and enjoy. When any of my recipes make a difference for the gluten free community, then I’m a happy woman!
Flourless Chocolate Torte (‘fallen/sunken’) with Mascarpone Cream and Cherry Sauce
- 8 or 9 inch/23 cm round spring-form cake tin (min 2 inch deep)
- oven + hob
- small saucepan or microwave and glass bowl
Flourless Chocolate Cake
- 150 g unsalted butter cubed (dairy free as required)
- 300 g good quality dark chocolate chopped (dairy free as required)
- 5 large eggs At room temperature – lightly beaten – UK large size (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’
- 120 g golden caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract optional
- 300 g double cream (heavy cream)
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100 g Mascarpone
- 1 ½ tsp corn starch (or arrowroot)
- 45 g cold water
- 40 g caster sugar
- 100 g fresh sweet cherries fresh or frozen (de-stalked and pitted)
Additional Decoration (optional)
- fresh cherries
- grated chocolate and/or freeze dried cherry/raspberry powder
Flourless Chocolate Torte
- Base-line a 9 inch (22 cm) non-stick, deep, spring-clip cake tin with baking paper. (8 inch works well too, for a slightly deeper torte)
- Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- Melt the chocolate with the butter in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of steaming (not boiling) water, stirring frequently, until liquid and combined. Do not allow to over-heat or the chocolate will seize. (Alternatively, place in a glass bowl in a microwave and set to medium-low for 30 second bursts, stirring between each, until the chocolate and butter are melted and combined)
- Once melted, remove immediately from the heat and set aside while preparing the other ingredients.
- Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla on full power until very thick and about 5 times the original volume. This will take at least 5 minutes.
- Pour the melted chocolate mixture into the whisked egg and gently fold the two together until completely combined. Be careful to ensure all the chocolate from the bottom of the bowl is fully amalgamated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until well risen and firm to the touch. Be careful not to overcook (a toothpick or cake skewer will come out with sticky crumbs attached). NOTE: It may take longer if using an 8 inch tin as the cake will be deeper. Allow an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
- Leave to cool COMPLETELY in the tin. It will be easier to remove if chilled. The cake will sink in the middle. This is normal.
- When ready to remove, carefully run a flat knife around the edge of the torte, and then unclip the tin. Transfer to a serving plate.
- NOTE: While fine to eat the day it is made, this torte becomes more fudgy and delicious if covered in cling film and left overnight/for 24 hours before decorating.
- Whisk the cream, icing sugar and vanilla to fully combine.
- Add the Mascarpone and continue to beat until the cream reaches a light spreading consistency.
- Cover and place in the fridge until ready to use.
- Mix together the corn starch and water in a medium saucepan.
- Add the sugar and prepared cherries and bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring.
- As the cherries soften, crush them with the back of the spoon (against the side of the pan) to release the juice.
- Continue to stir and allow to simmer for 1 to 2 minutes until the liquid becomes clear and slightly thickened.
- Remove from the heat and cool a little.
- Blend into a thick sauce using either a hand-held (stick blender) or standard blender.
- Strain and push the mixture through a clean sieve into a bowl and allow to cool completely.
- Store in the fridge until ready to use.
Putting it all together
- When ready to serve, either… Fill the dip of the cake with Mascarpone Cream and decorate with grated chocolate, freeze-dried cherry/raspberry powder and fresh cherries Or serve with the cream and cherries on the side.
- Drizzle over cherry sauce as the torte is cut.
- If the torte has been topped with cream, store in the fridge and remove 30 minutes before serving to ensure the best texture.If un-topped, the torte sponge will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.
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