Flourless Dark Chocolate Espresso Cake [Low Carb] [Paleo]

Gluten Free Dairy Free Healthy Chocolate Cake

This absolutely divine chocolate cake is a birthday gift for Mom and David. Happy birthday guys!! This recipe comes from my somewhat-recent obsession with low carb chocolate desserts and from Karina's Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe. Thank you Goddess! I am really excited to try this ... if there is any left after the birthday folks devour their share :) Karina, I hope you are doing better. I know you can't have this recipe with the eggs and probably not even the vegan butter (?) :(

Since I was always one of those kids who failed the basic "read and follow directions" quizzes, I decided to alter Karina's basic recipe to be lower carb. I omitted the organic cane sugar entirely and substituted Stevia, unsweetened pineapple juice, a tad of organic brown sugar for texture, and cinnamon instead. I'll tell you that the batter is fantastic, so I think it will be sweet enough.* I also decided to lump in extra espresso grinds as I blended the batter since fresh espresso grinds can't possibly make it worse. Can't possibly, no way jose.

*This cake is absolutely delicious - it has a rich, fudge-like consistency and deep dark chocolate taste. I will definitely be making this again - possibly for our wedding.

Chocolate Espresso Heaven by the Slice
1 12 oz bag Sunspire unsweetened dark chocolate chips (or your favorite dark chocolate bar)*
1/4 c. hot fresh espresso **
~1 T. fresh espresso grinds (optional, but man its good)
1 T. organic vanilla***
1 T. cinnamon
4 heaping T of unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1/4 c. (powdered) Stevia
1 T. organic brown sugar
1/4 c. unsweetened pineapple juice
6 free range organic eggs, room temperature
2 sticks Earth Balance Vegan light butter, room temperature (I know that's a lot, but it makes the consistency for a flourless cake. See the bottom for a butterless variation.

My first remark is that I used the Vita-Mix for the whole grinding and mixing process. You can use a food processor or your blender if you prefer. The Vitamix made the preparation very fast and fun. I love to watch it go!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and coat either two cake pans or preferably a large springform pan with nonstick spray. First, add the Stevia, brown sugar, cinnamon, espresso grinds, and chocolate chips to the Vitamix. I did this as I made my second double shot of espresso so I just so happened to have extra grinds to add. It is not as if I used the cake as an excuse to make more espresso, nor as if I used the espresso as an excuse to make the cake - nope. In fact, if you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell .. call me. Anyway, grind the chips and dry ingredients up for about 10-15 seconds as shown below. I did this for a very sort time since I wanted to preserve a few whole chips for the cake.

Vita-Mix chocolate cake recipe
grinding the chocolate chips

Add the pineapple juice and hot espresso. Blend for ~5 seconds until creamy. Add the cocoa powder, vanilla, eggs, and vegan butter. You may wish to scrape off the sides with a spatula before you start blending again to make sure no dry powder is stuck. I just cracked the eggs and poured everything right into the Vitamix as shown below, but if you're not using the Vitamix, beware. The Vitamix has a very large container ( ~8 c.) which makes it perfect for batters like this, smoothies, and soups. However, your blender or food processor may not be this large so be careful not to overflow it.

Vita-Mix fudge recipe
all batter in the Vitamix, ready to rock n' roll

Replace the lid and mix on variable medium-high for about 30 to 45 seconds until smooth. Again, you may need to use the spatula (or the Vitamix damper) to scrape the sides as you go.

Pour the batter into the greased springform or two cake pans. I made the mistake of only using 1 cake pan and it almost overflowed. We had some tense moments baking, having to quickly slide a cookie sheet under the cake pan to prepare for an overflow. After all, it didn't overflow - thank goodness! If it had, I probably would have been a moron and tried to lick the bottom of the oven after it cooled since it smelled so good :)

Gluten Free Dairy Free Healthy Chocolate Fudge
I said pour and scrape out the batter Jon, not eat it!

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes (for 1 cake pan). You will need to shorten the time for 2 pans - I estimate about 30 minutes or so. Bake until the middle is set and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside to completely cool - hands off (that's a reminder for me). Once cooled, cover and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours or longer so it is nice and firm, thick, and deliciously lip-smacking chewy (think fudge texture but better). My cake edges fell a little but it isn't a problem. Karina recommends pressing the cake gently with the spatula to even out the surface after cooling, but I am too lazy for that so, as I like to say, to each his his/her own. Serve cooled with obnoxious birthday hats :) The hats are optional. I wonder if Burger King still gives out paper crowns for birthday kids?

Gluten Free Dairy Free Healthy Chocolate Brownies
GF DF Chocolate Cake

No butter flourless dark chocolate espresso cake:
The butter recipe is the exact same, minus the butter. I made a tiny single serving of the batter without the vegan butter as an experiment. It baked for about 12 minutes. Omitting the butter does change the consistency by a fair amount. This variation is sticky and reminiscent of very moist fudge, but still tastes phenomenal. I think both recipes make delicious desserts and I am going to make both again.

Gluten Free Slice of Chocolate Fudge Cake
No butter GF DF chocolate cake

Rants/ Sidenotes:
* These are gluten and dairy free, but always read the ingredients anyways

** I used freshly ground Newman's Own French Roast beans. They are organic, free trade and shade grown (and on sale at Harris Teeter, yay!)

*** Watch for sales on the fancy organic spices and extracts. We found this organic fair trade vanilla on sale and with a coupon at our local co-op. Getting fair trade spices, herbs, and extracts is important if you can manage it. Supporting the local farmers is vital since usually large haciendas or companies take over the market and either under pay and overwork, or put the locals out of business. Also, the quality of more local fair trade products is better in my experience. Judge for yourself, but just so you know. I might do a post on fair trade issues later.

Cindalou's Kitchen Blues: Healthy Celiac / Coeliac Gluten and Dairy Free Recipes


  1. This is such a beautiful post! Wow, your photos are wonderful, the writing witty, and the recipe scrumptious looking. Love the comment under Jon's picture. Very cute!

    Okay, I'm really impressed with this one and although I use Stevia on a regular basis, I've never substituted that much of it in baking.

    Thanks! I will definitely try this one.
    P.S. I'll email you when I get my blog going again and we can do a joint project. :-) I'll be back at it soon!

  2. this looks great! i never know how much stevia to put in without making it bitter...
    anyways, i'm soooo envious of your vita-mix! would love to have one, but will have to wait a couple years ;)

  3. Cindalou,

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    This website is life transforming!

  4. Hello everybody,

    I just finished the last piece of this wonderful cake.
    When I go to a restaurant sometimes, I always admire the beautiful deserts other people are able to have but not me. BUT NOT THIS TIME!!!

    I consider myself as a chocolate addict and this recipe just made my day.
    I'm also proved of myself that I didn't make any mistakes in measurements cutting the recipe in half because I made just one cake. Although I think that I could use even less Stevia that the recipe asked for.
    Cindy, thank you very much for your web page and for the great ideas I learnt here. As next I want to try the pie crust ;-)

    Have a good one,

  5. Just one (maybe silly) question: What does 1 T stand for? One tablespoon? Sorry, I'm not from an English speaking country & thanks in advance for any replies.

  6. I just came across this recipe - I can't have butter but any chance a bit of canola oil might help with the consistancy?


  7. hmm.... another good chocolate recipe thanks.

  8. This is a wonderful recipe cindy thanks so much for the post

  9. That cake looks delicious! I'll be sure to make one the next time I get to a Trader Joe's.

  10. Hi, sorry to be the lonely voice of negativity but, OMG, both my girlfriend and I had a horrible experience making this. I do understand that the taste of Stevia is genetic, some folks taste sweet, some folks taste bitter. We unfortunately have the bitter genes. u could imagine how horrible i felt having to throw out 2 cake pans of this wonderful smelling cake.

  11. Oh wow. This looks fantastic. I do think I'll use sugar instead of stevia, although I'm sure stevia is much more healthy.

  12. I substituted quite a few things for this recipe because I'm a poor student. For starters I didn't use brown sugar, stevia, pineapple juice or cocoa powder. I searched up this recipe because I had instant coffee powder I wanted to use up! :P

    So I used the coffee powder as a substitute for cocoa powder, and mixed some of it with white sugar + icing sugar for the stevia portion. Instead of pineapple juice I just used more hot coffee. Also, I couldn't find cheap light butter at my grocery store so I just bought a low fat, low cal light margarine instead.

    End result: still tasted fabulous! The texture of it might be slightly softer than if I had used butter but still delicious and it's definitely a lot "healthier" than I had anticipated at first.

    I hope this helps any other poor student out there who wants to bake this but spend less!

  13. I came across this recipe a few weeks ago and it sounded great. I finally made it tonight, and it was AMAZING! Delicious gluten free cakes are so hard to find.

    *The only thing I substituted was that I used just honey for the powdered Stevia + pineapple juice.

    Definitely recommend to anyone who is a coffee lover and wants a rich chocolate treat. I made one batch as a regular cake and another to make cake balls tomorrow :) Thanks for the recipe!!!

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