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Inspired by the delicacy that is a spicy, Mexican hot chocolate this crackly, flourless cake takes some of those striking flavors to form a fudgy torte in this easy dessert recipe.


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

30 mins
3 hrs

The format is a classic—whipped whites hold dense batter aloft just long enough before collapsing into a craveworthy flourless cake. Cinnamon and cayenne add an adult twist to the mix and ensure that each bite is balanced, not cloying. This naturally gluten-free cake is a stunner on any table. You'll need a springform pan for the best results, but a deep 9-inch cake pan will work if that's what you have on hand, you'll just have to serve it directly from the pan. Pro tip: Since the voluminous whites are the only leavening in this recipe, it’s worth getting them right. Check for “soft peaks” when you’re whipping the egg whites by holding the whisk straight up. The egg white should form a peak and then bend over slightly, like an elf’s hat.




Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle position. Lightly coat bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform baking pan with butter; place on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Whisk cocoa powder, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt in a small bowl.

  • Place chocolate chips and butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high, stirring every 30 seconds, until completely melted, about 90 seconds. Stir until smooth and well combined. (Or melt on stove; see below.) Let cool for 10 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, beat egg yolks and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low; add cocoa powder mixture and beat until well combined, about 1 minute. Stir in melted chocolate until well combined.

  • Beat egg whites in a clean, large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until foamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating until mixture is very glossy, whites have tripled in size, and soft peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes. Gently fold a quarter of egg white mixture into chocolate mixture. Gently fold in remaining egg white mixture, being careful not to deflate mixture, until just incorporated and no white streaks remain. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top.

  • Bake with pan on baking sheet until cake is puffed and slightly cracked around edges and no longer jiggles in center, 35 to 38 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cool completely, about 2 hours. (Cracks will become more prominent as cake cools.)

  • Remove springform collar from pan. Lightly dust cake with cocoa powder using a small fine-mesh strainer. Top with chocolate shavings. Slice and serve with a dollop of crème fraîche.

How to Melt Chocolate on the Stove

Place chopped chocolate or chips in a heatproof bowl (with butter, if recipe requires) set over a pot of simmering water. Stir constantly until melted.