a magical 4 ingredient chocolate cake
[simple baking]

choc cakes-2 choc cakes-3

I don’t know about you guys but there’s something about a long weekend that just inspires me to bake. Something about the luxury of having three whole days to relax and enjoy that gets my baking juices flowing.

But the serious side-effect of baking activities, particularly in a household of two, are the leftovers. It can be dangerous having a whole cake floating around the fridge.

So recently, when I was tempted by the baking gods, I had the brilliant idea to downsize and go for a more minimalist mini-me individual serve.

We’re talking a flourless chocolate cake that is all the rich, chocolately indulgence you could wish for. It has the added bonus of being impossibly light, so you feel comfortably satisfied rather than stuffed after indulging.

But the real stroke of genius, if I do say so myself, is that you only make as many as you need (in this case 2). So there are no evil leftovers to torment and tempt during the week.

4 ingredient chocolate cake video

choc cakes-4

[5 ingredients | simple baking]
flourless chocolate cake

serves 2

Inspired by Sophie Dahl from her wonderful little book, Miss Dahls Voluptuous Delights.

It’s a great cake to have in your repertoire because it will work for gluten intolerant people. If you needed to make it dairy free, you could easily replace the butter with vegetable oil. In terms of sugar – I’ve used both white and brown – either is fine.

These are one of those cakes that rise to lofty heights during baking then sink miserably as they cool. The first time I made them I was a little depressed how they looked, but I just turned them upside down and the looked rather lovely. Of course once you taste them, any negative thoughts will be banished all together. When I made them the other day for the photographs, I decided to make the most of the sink hole and fill it with double cream – so good.

If you don’t have a food processor, just melt the chocolate and butter in your preferred way and stir through the sugar and egg yolk and then proceed to step 4.

50g (1 3/4oz) dark chocolate (I used Lindt 70% cocoa solids)
40g (1 1/2oz) brown sugar
40g (1 1/2oz) butter
1 egg, separated
cream or icecream, to serve

1. Place a baking sheet or tray on the middle shelf of your oven. Preheat to 180C (350F). Grease and line the bases of 2 x 1 cup capacity ramekins.

2. Whizz chocolate and sugar in a food processor until you have coarse crumbs.

3. Add butter, egg yolk and 2 tablespoons boiling water and whizz for another few seconds, until well combined.

4. Whisk egg white with a pinch of salt in a clean, dry bowl.

5. Gently fold chocolate mixture into the white foam until only just combined.

6. Divide mixture gently between the prepared ramekins. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until the tops feel firm when touched with your finger.

7. Allow to cool then serve with cream or icecream.

choc cakes


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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Alex October 4, 2010 at 7:59 pm

Hmm. With the weather having turned here the last 3 days . I think these might be tonight’s after dinner treat! Autumn has definitely arrived :-)


Mark @ Cafe Campana October 4, 2010 at 8:39 pm

I suffer from over cooking too. I end up giving most of my baking away so I don’t eat too much. This cake looks amazing. I love the simplicity and chocolatey goodness.


Marie (a.k.a. gardenfreshtomatoes) October 4, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Having gone, the the last 5 years, from a house full of hungry teenagers to just two adults, I have pretty much given up on making desserts for just this reason. I’ll give this one a try soon – I miss my baking!


Nic October 4, 2010 at 10:05 pm

I was just baking today. Funny to know I’m not the only one getting into some long weekend baking. Think I’ll be baking again tomorrow with this recipe.

I have a non dessert question…I’ve been eating one of your recipes almost every night for the last 3 weeks and I’ve noticed that whilst I’m certainly enjoying my dinners much more, I’m not eating the variety of vegetables each night that I used to. I’m still eating a variety over a period of week, just not each day. My question is nutritionally speaking, if I’m still eating the same quantity of vegetables and a variety over the week, is it as good as eating a variety of vegetables everyday? I was definitely suffering vegetable boredom before eating the same veggies every night so I’m hoping the answer be that it’s just as good!

Thanks for your help!


Annie October 5, 2010 at 2:10 am

The recipes and photography are delicious. Is there anyway to have a printer friendly 1 page option?


Rachel October 5, 2010 at 3:15 am

I love the idea of not having leftover cake torturing me for days! Great idea and yummy, simple ingredients. I might have to bake cakes more often!


healthy&homemade October 5, 2010 at 4:21 am

I always love making little individual cakes for my husband and myself; sometimes I let them go a little undercooked and then we have lava cakes ^_^


Style Your Food Recipes October 5, 2010 at 4:30 am

oh my thanks for the recipe, I’m going to try this out as soon I can. thanks for sharing


jules October 5, 2010 at 7:56 am

I can imagine that’s a big change to deal with – hope these cakes help!

excellent question. I’ve been thinking alot about veggies recently. I’m not a nutritionist so to be honest I’m not sure. But planning to interview a nutritionist friend soon so will ask the question and get back to you.

the best i’ve been able to come up with is the ‘print friendly’ button on the bottom of each post near the twitter button. it’s a bit clunky – you’ll need to delete any photos and text you don’t want to print but it’s better than nothing. hope that helps.

healthy & homemade
lava cakes – love it.


Foodie McBody October 5, 2010 at 8:18 am

I heart you for posting this. Leftovers are my downfall so this is PERFECT!!!!!!!!!!!


Barbara October 5, 2010 at 8:58 am

In the video it looked like brown or raw sugar that you used. Please clarify.


jules October 5, 2010 at 9:02 am

thanks for picking that up barbara – I’ve used both brown sugar and white – either is fine – but will update the recipe for consistency.


sarah k. October 5, 2010 at 10:47 am

I’m so excited to try this tomorrow! Chocolate decadence is my husband’s favorite edible item in the world, but I never make it because of the large quantity of chocolate decadence that finds its way into my belly. Smaller is definitely better! Thank you.


My Man's Belly October 5, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Wait, but what if I want leftovers…of this? Love the pictures.


Silvia October 5, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Thank you for that! I think I will make it this week for a weekday dessert!


jules October 5, 2010 at 2:38 pm

my man’s belly
if you’re after leftovers it’s super easy to double, triple or quadruple – you could even scale up and bake in a large cake tin if you’d like ;)


Astrid @ http://carfreeinannarbor.blogspot.com/ October 6, 2010 at 2:17 am

Perfect! I love these 5 ingredient recipes


Johanna GGG October 6, 2010 at 9:00 pm

this sounds great – I love chocolate cakes like this but often feel there is too much to eat to justify making it but will be making this next time I feel the need just for a little


Erika Beth October 7, 2010 at 7:19 am

Thanks for posting! I’ve been looking for a yummy dessert to make for my friend with celiac disease.


Belinda October 7, 2010 at 1:30 pm

YUM i cant wait to cook this tonight… i will have to quadruple the amount due to more people coming to dinner! The video was fantastic too, my 5yr old daughter loved watching it with me :)


jules October 7, 2010 at 2:12 pm

thanks belinda
glad you enjoyed the video – I was worried it was a little too long


Carrie October 9, 2010 at 2:49 am

oh yum – drooling! The video is great – not too long at all, and having every step demonstrated is huge in making the entire process very simple for the first time you attempt this recipe. I’m making this one over the weekend – my boys were just complaining that they’re tired of pumpkin pie (heathens!) for Thanksgiving, so I think they’re gonna love this instead!


kylieonwheels October 11, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Mind if I chip in a bit to help answer Nic’s question? I’m not a qualified nutritionist either, just passionate about nutrition and have studied a course in Sports Nutrition.

Every different nutrient has a different method and timeframe to synthesise in the body, and requires different conditions to be met in order to be absorbed. You may have heard about Vitamin D requiring a little UV light on the skin in order to be properly utilised by the body, or maybe heard that Vitamin C is necessary for Iron to be absorbed properly? These are two pretty simplistic examples, I’m sure there is wayyyy more to it! So, I would say that the reason it’s important to eat a variety each day (not just vegies, a variety of everything) is because you might find that you aren’t giving the nutrients the best chance to be used by your body if you don’t.

I can’t say for sure how long it takes a particular nutrient to be synthesised by the body, but given that your food seems to, errrm, pass through you in 24-48 hours, I would imagine that you’d want to make the most of each meal’s nutrients in that timeframe. Does that make sense?

Also, a lot of the body’s processing occurs during our overnight rest. So perhaps this is another pointer towards the 24 hour variety plan? Again, I’m just using what little I know to speculate at this, there isn’t a lot of science in my theories!

I’ll be interested to hear what the nutritionist says too :-)


jules October 11, 2010 at 4:37 pm

thanks kylie
what you say makes sense


Leia November 2, 2010 at 4:13 am

I finally made this Friday night and it was soooo tasty (and looked very impressive!)
I used Dagoba’s Lavender Blueberry dark chocolate, and it was heavenly. Served it right in the ramekins. I think next time I’ll try the double boiler method instead of the food processor for easy cleanup (and without having to drag out the food processor from the back of the cabinet ;-)).
My sweetie was super impressed and asked that I put this in the regular rotation! Next up I’m trying your carrot cake!


Shannon Stone November 24, 2010 at 9:05 am

I have a question please, I was wondering how much you would need to multiply if you were making for 10?
The cakes look amazing!


jules November 24, 2010 at 9:46 am

multiply by 5 to serve 10.
I havent tested this but as a guess I’d then use a 20cm (8in) springform pan and bake for 30 -45 minutes – you just want it to form a crust on top but still be squidgy in the middle


Leah December 1, 2010 at 5:06 pm

This recipe is right up my alley. BUT I made it the other night, and found a problem with it. I was under the impression that you whisked the egg white to foam, since the recipe didn’t clarify (and I did not watch the video)
4. Whisk egg white with a pinch of salt in a clean, dry bowl. 5. Gently fold chocolate mixture into the white foam until only just combined.
I may be a dummy but the “white foam” really threw me off. Needless to say, soft peaks were called for and I missed the boat on that.
I will try this again though.
Also, do you use a convection oven? I could help noticing the sound of your oven while it was open in your video. If so does that effect the baking time?
I am loving your take on cooking, it is fresh and welcoming.


jules December 1, 2010 at 8:10 pm

hi leah
thanks for sharing you experience. What was the problem? Did the cakes taste OK?

and I use both a convection (fan forced) oven and a standard gas one (in my kitchen in Sydney…it’s a long story). It will impact baking time a little.

glad you’re enjoying stonesoup!


Shannon Stone December 15, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Thank you! I will give it a try.


lizzie April 14, 2011 at 10:02 am

hi leah,
thanks for sharing your recipe! I’ve never baked before, and i really wanted to make a small flourless cake for myself.
I was wondering if it would be possible to bake a cake with 3.5oz of chocolate, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1/4 of butter, and 1/2 a cup of soy milk??
I’m very new to baking and I was just wondering if this recipe would work.
Also, at what temperature should i bake your recipe with?


lizzie April 14, 2011 at 10:03 am

oops! sorry i meant jules not leah!


jules April 15, 2011 at 3:00 am

hi lizzie
I think you should try it out! But I’m a bit nervous about not having egg in there.
let me know how you get on


Jessie June 18, 2011 at 4:03 am

THANK YOU!! THANK YOU FOR MEASURING IN GRAMS!! i am so excited to make this (: i bake all the time so i’m really excited! <3 thanks!


Kate January 30, 2012 at 11:16 am

jules, do you think it would make a significant difference to use white chocolate instead of a bittersweet or dark? Just wondering if the difference in cocoa solids would make a change in the baking. I think this would be delightful in a ‘butterscotch’ shade; I know the original version is like manna from heaven.


jules January 30, 2012 at 5:30 pm

good question kate
I think texturally they’d be fine… but worried about the sweetness… at a guess I’d decrease the sugar slightly and increase the butter a little.. like 10g each.


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