Chocolate Decadence


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:


    cakes, 10 inches in diameter

Appears in

This sumptuous chocolate and cream combination is the ultimate chocolate-lover’s dream cake—actually much closer to a baked chocolate truffle than to a cake. Some versions are known by the straight-to-the-point name of Flourless Chocolate Cake. Chocolate Decadence is a very easy cake to make—basically, it’s a brownie without the flour and nuts—and it’s quite practical, as it can be stored unfinished in the refrigerator for weeks, or in the freezer for many months, ready to complete quickly as needed. I always have some in the refrigerator to ice and use as a backup if we run out of any of the desserts on the menu. When the guests are offered Chocolate Decadence as an alternative to their first choice, they seldom decline.

The richness of this cake contrasts beautifully with a fresh fruit sauce. Raspberry sauce is traditional and the color looks great next to the dark chocolate, but don’t miss trying either Bitter Orange Sauce or Bijou Coulis (a tangy combination of cranberry and raspberry).

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  • Melted unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces (340 g) sweet dark chocolate
  • 14 ounces (400 g) unsweetened chocolate
  • cups (300 ml) water
  • 12 ounces (340 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 pound 2 ounces (510 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 12 eggs
  • 6 ounces (170 g) sugar
  • 3 cups (720 ml) heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) granulated sugar
  • Milk chocolate shavings
  • Raspberry Sauce
  • Sour Cream Mixture for Piping
  • Raspberries
  • Mint leaves


  1. Brush melted butter over the insides of 2 cake pans, 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter. Place rounds of baking paper in the bottoms and butter the papers. Set the pans aside. (See Chef’s Tip.)
  2. Cut the dark chocolate and unsweetened chocolate into small pieces.
  3. Bring the water and 12 ounces (340 g) sugar to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate; stir until the chocolate is melted and completely incorporated. Add the butter, in chunks, and stir until melted. Set aside at room temperature.
  4. Whip the eggs with the 6 ounces (170 g) sugar at high speed for about 3 minutes. The mixture should be light and fluffy. Do not whip to maximum volume as you would a sponge cake; incorporating too much air will make the finished cakes crumbly and difficult to work with. Very gently, fold the melted chocolate into the egg mixture. The chocolate may be warm, but it must not be hot.
  5. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Place the pans in a water bath.
  6. Bake immediately at 350°F (175°C) for approximately 40 minutes or until the top feels firm. Refrigerate the cakes for at least 2 hours or, preferably, overnight. The chocolate must be completely set before you unmold or finish the cakes.
  7. Unmold the cakes by briefly warming the outside bottom of the pans (moving them over a gas or electric burner just until the cake moves freely inside the pan), and invert them onto 10-inch (25-cm) cardboard circles (see Note). Peel the circles of baking paper off the tops of the cakes.
  8. Whip the cream with the 2 tablespoons (30 g) sugar to just under stiff peaks. Place the whipped cream in a pastry bag with a No. 4 (8-mm) plain tip. Mark the top of the cakes into quarters to easily locate the exact center. Starting at this point, pipe a spiral of whipped cream, with each circle touching the last one, over the entire top of each cake. Cut the cakes into the desired number of servings, using a thin knife dipped in hot water. Sprinkle the chocolate shavings lightly over the top.
  9. Presentation: Place a cake slice off-center on a prepared dessert plate. Pour a round pool of raspberry sauce in front of the slice. Decorate the sauce with sour cream mixture for piping. Place 3 raspberries with a mint leaf next to each on the left side of the plate.