Flourless Chocolate Meringue Cake

With Hazelnuts and Double the Chocolate

flourless chocolate meringue cake

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 70 mins
Total: 95 mins
Servings: 12
Yield: 1 (9-inch) cake
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
474 Calories
32g Fat
39g Carbs
10g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 474
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 32g 41%
Saturated Fat 11g 53%
Cholesterol 140mg 47%
Sodium 88mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 39g 14%
Dietary Fiber 5g 19%
Total Sugars 29g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 64mg 5%
Iron 6mg 35%
Potassium 351mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

When dreaming of chocolate cake, our minds automatically wander to that iconic scene from Matilda. Chocolate cake should be fudgy, moist, and so irresistible that you almost want to forget about the fork and dive right in. The magic of this cake goes beyond its dramatic top and rich mouthfeel. Where most chocolate cakes eat as soft on soft, this offers a chewy, crisp meringue with a fluffy, yet nutty interior that only serves to enhance the star of the show: the flourless cake.

A flourless cake can be baked or unbaked, and is naturally gluten-free with absolutely no flour. We utilize whipped egg whites to create the structure and height of the cake. Olive oil is superior to butter here as it is lighter, resulting in more rise and a cake that stays moist longer. If the flavor of the olive oil is too intense for you, feel free to sub in a more neutral-tasting oil such as vegetable.

The intense chocolate flavor is derived from a mix of melted dark chocolate, natural unsweetened cocoa powder, and a splash of hot coffee. The coffee serves to heighten the chocolate profile, enhancing its bitter flavor rather than imparting the taste of coffee. We use natural unsweetened cocoa powder as it is more common, but you can use Dutch-process without it affecting the end result.

While baking, the meringue puffs up, almost doubling the height of the cake, but quickly deflates as it cools. We like to think this is the best part about this cake—no need to stress about it cracking because it’s inevitable and part of its rustic aesthetic. Additionally, we love the addition of hazelnuts to the texture and flavor of the cake, but you can leave it out and the cake will be just as delicious.

Serve it as is or with whipped cream and berries. It's even better the next day as all the flavors have time to marry together.

"This dense and rich chocolate cake gets an eye-catching textural contrast with crispy-chewy meringue studded with chopped nuts. The cake tastes even better the next day." —Danielle Centoni

Flourless Chocolate Meringue Cake Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


For the Cake

  • Baking spray or butter, for greasing

  • 1/4 cup hot coffee

  • 10 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate, chopped

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 5 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Meringue Topping

  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature

  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Steps to Make It

Make the Cake

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

    flourless chocolate cake ingredients gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Grease a 9-inch springform pan, then line the bottom with parchment paper and lightly grease the parchment.

    greased springform pan lined with parchment paper bottom

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Pour the hot coffee over the chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl.

    chopped chocolate in bowl with coffee poured on top

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Let sit for 2 minutes, then stir to slightly melt the remaining chocolate (it will not all be melted).

    chopped chocolate and coffee stirred with spoon to melt

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water to create a double boiler and melt the remaining chocolate, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

    melted chocolate in bowl over pot of water with spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Carefully, whisk in the cocoa powder, then add the oil and egg yolks; whisk until smooth.

    other cake ingredients whisked into bowl of melted chocolate removed from heat

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Add the sugars, vanilla, and salt to the chocolate mixture and whisk to combine. Make sure there are no clumps and the mixture is smooth.

    oil added to chocolate cake mixture and whisked

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  8. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until medium peaks form.

    egg whites beat until soft foamy peaks in stand mixer

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  9. Gently fold one-third of the egg whites into the chocolate batter. Add the remaining whipped egg whites to the batter and fold until just combined. You want to use a folding motion rather than stirring so you do not knock the air out of the batter.

    egg whites folded into chocolate cake batter

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  10. Transfer the batter to the prepared springform pan. Bake for 25 minutes. This is to give the cake an initial start on baking (it will bake for a second time with the meringue). Meanwhile, you can start the meringue topping.

    baked cake cooling in springform pan on cooling rack

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Make the Meringue Topping

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    meringue ingredients gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Wash and dry the bowl and whisk attachment of the electric stand mixer. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl. Beat on high speed until frothy.

    egg whites and cream of tartar in clean bowl of stand mixer

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Once the egg whites have reached a frothy stage, reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add the sugar in a steady stream. Return the mixer to high and whisk until the meringue is thick, glossy, and forms stiff peaks.

    egg whites whipped with sugar to soft peaks in bowl of stand mixer

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand. Add the cocoa powder and half of the hazelnuts to the meringue. Fold the mixture together until mostly combined, about 3 to 4 folds. Add the remaining hazelnuts and fold together 2 to 3 more times. The mixture should be mostly combined, but does not need to be uniform.

    chocolate and hazelnuts being folded in to egg whites

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Once the cake is out of the oven, dollop the meringue topping all over the top of the cake. Use a spoon or offset spatula to spread to cover, creating swirly designs.

    baked cake on cooling rack with meringue mixture spread on top

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Bake until the meringue is crisp, lightly browned, and a skewer inserted in the middle down through the cake base comes out with a few moist crumbs, 25 to 30 minutes. Do not worry if the meringue is cracked as it will deflate and crack more as it cools, creating a beautiful rustic aesthetic.

    (If the meringue looks like it is browning more than desired, cover the pan with foil and continue to bake for the remaining time.)

    cake with browned, baked meringue cooling on cooling rack

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Let the cake cool for at least 15 minutes. Run a knife or offset spatula around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the sides of the pan, then remove the springform. Serve the cake at room temperature.

    chocolate meringue cake fully cooled on cooling rack, meringue top slightly sunken

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Recipe Variations

  • If you're not sold on the meringue topping you can skip it and bake just the cake until set, about 40 minutes.
  • Spices pair wonderfully with the dark chocolate, so try adding cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, or even a little cayenne.
  • If you want to make this nut-free or you simply don't feel like adding the hazelnuts, you can omit and proceed with the recipe as is.

How to Store

Store the cake either covered in the springform pan or in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Recipe Tags: