Sophie Dahl's flourless chocolate cake

(58 ratings)
Sophie Dahl's flourless chocolate cake recipe from The Delicious Miss Dahl
Sophie Dahl's flourless chocolate cake recipe from The Delicious Miss Dahl
  • Serves: 10

  • Cooking time:

    (may need an extra 5 mins)
  • Skill level: Easy peasy

  • Costs: Mid-price

This easy, rich chocolate cake recipe, with real chocolate pieces that you don't have to melt, is from Sophie Dahl's BBC2 series, The Delicious Miss Dahl.


  • Butter for greasing
  • 300g broken plain chocolate
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 180ml boiling water
  • 225g salted butter, cut into cubes
  • 6 free-range eggs, separated
  • 1tsp instant coffee powder
  • 1tbsp vanilla extract

To top the cake:

  • Raspberries, strawberries and redcurrants or blueberries and blackberries
  • 200ml of crème fraiche

Top tip: Use a metal spoon rather than a wooden spoon (which retains moisture) to fold the ingredients together at the end of step 4. Cut and fold the mixture with your metal spoon to keep the air in your mixture. Never beat at this stage!


  1. Grease and line the base of a solid-bottomed 23cm (9inch) round cake tin (a springform is best).
  2. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan, gas mark 4).
  3. In a large food processor, pulse the chocolate and sugar until fine. Add the boiling water, butter, egg yolks, coffee powder and vanilla extract.
  4. In a glass bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff and then fold them into the chocolate mixture.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake in the hot oven for about 45-55 mins. The top will be cracked like a desert fault line.
  6. After you take the cake out of the oven, it will collapse into itself quite a bit. This is OK - it's not meant to be a proud cool cake, it's meant to be slightly rough around the edges and the crème fraiche and berries will hide any dips and cracks.
  7. Let the cake cool, then put it in the fridge for a few hours. When you are ready to serve, remove from the tin, smother the top in crème fraiche, then raspberries, strawberries and redcurrants (or blueberries, blackcurrants and blackberries). You can also grate some more chocolate on top or dust some icing sugar.

Like this? You’ll love Mary Berry’s chocolate cake recipe

This recipe is taken from episode 6 of The Delicious Miss Dahl on BBC2.

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  • 4
(58 ratings)

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I want to be Sophie Dahl's friend! despite what the papers say! So far, and I'm not even a vegetarian, every dish she has cooked on the series has got me into the kitchen and cooking. I suppose living in Spain helps as we have the most fresh wonderful ingredients especially fish but to date I have cooked the shepherds pie (non veg version) the crab cakes, and the roasted tomato soup. All a success. Non-fussy easy dishes with tons of flavour. In May we have family over so the shepherds pie will be made again, along with absolutely everything she made for the CELEBRATORY meal last night! I'll miss her programme but her book is on it's way over!


This didn't really work for me either, but here's where I think things went wrong so you don't make the same mistakes I did! I scaled the recipe back by a third and baked it in a 7" round tin - the original makes a lot of cake. But I think the tin was too small - it took a very long time to bake, and even now I think it could have done with longer oven time. I would try it again but halving the original recipe for that size of tin. Mine finished cake did collapse a lot too, the sides caved in and it doesn't look the best - but I don't know if this is because it is possible underbaked. The texture is like a chocolatey egg custard, truffle-like rather than cake-like. Is that what it's supposed to be like? I would skip the espresso powder next time - it came through quite strongly. For anyone without a food processor, I think it would also work by melting the chocolate, sugar, butter etc over a bain marie. But would it still need to addition of boiling water? I don't know. I would try it again, it's just quite an expensive fail!


The cake looked like an absolute mess when i got it out of the oven and i thought it was going to be a complete disaster..the cake rose quite a lot, however as soon as i let the cake cool it collapsed. The cake was rather moist, so I put it in the fridge for around 2 hours to let it set. I then trimmed the burnt edges and it was absolutely perfect. Everybody loved it- definitely the best chocolate cake my family and I have eaten. Dont get too scared when the cake looks like a mess..can easily be fixed!! great recipe

Denise Driver

really don't know what some of you are doing wrong this is the easiest cake in the world to make and is absolutely gorgeous - complete chocolate heaven x


I very rarely cook/bake but I tried this for a friend's birthday and it went down amazingly - looked gorgeous and tasted brilliant!


The first time i made this cake it was a complete " epic fail " ( as my kids said) but the second time i made it it was really good and everyone really enjoyed it.


Tried this last night - not the greatest success in the world! Left in oven for over an hour and when skewer came out clean I took it out. Left in fridge overnight as advised - this morning found that some of the egg white mixture had sunk to the bottom leaving a nasty omelettly layer - yuk. Now, before you ask, yes I did mix it in thoroughly - there was no white in the final mixture. Overall, this recipe seems little too wet which is easily adjusted but what on earth happened with the eggy layer - too many eggs in the recipe perhaps? Disappointed - it wasn't cheap to make.

Marsha Thomson

This is weird everyone you read had a different experience. I suppose that not every recipe works first time, sometimes. I bet Sophie maybe had to try a couple of times herself. So I will try im no baker and looking for a yummy chocolate cake that isnt from a packet. And I saw her on tv making this delicous cake. I want to try but being an amatur Im scared!!


I have made this cake countless times. It was the first recipe i tested out when i purchased sophie dahls excellent cookbook. Best to leave it in the fridge overnight before topping and serving. I love that the middle caves in as it holds the topping perfectly. Tastes just as good with lightly whipped cream on the top. Best cake ever for a gluten free friend too!


A freind made this for me as a present when i got a new job and being gluten free it was an absolute revelation. This is possibly the best chocolate cake i've ever tasted and i'm going to try and make it for my mother who is also coeliac. Thank you. Brilliant.

Karen R

Genius idea to blitz choc and sugar! Delicious, universally loved and much appreciated by gluten free me! It did need an extra ten mins but that sometimes happens in this oven. Minimal clearing up too


my chocolate cake was far to wet,yet i make cakes all the time, what a waste!!


This recipe was a huge success and a worthy centrepiece on any dinner table. It was easy to follow although did require a little more cooking time than stated and it was worth baking the day before and allowing it to chill overnight in the fridge. It tasted fantastic but was extremely rich and a little heavy for the younger tasters around the table. With this in mind I would consider using half plain and half milk chocolate next time. Nevertheless a perfect pud!!


After watching Sophie Dahl's tv series, googled the recipe and was drawn to this site, followed the instructions and tips to the letter and ended up with the perfect cake!! Definitely is now one of our favourites!


Had the same problem as Liz too much water, its pouring out of the springform cake tin as I write this!!! Will leave it in the oven for an hour and see what happens. Expensive mistake!!


I normally cannot bake to save my life but this was the easiest recipe I have ever used. And it has come out perfect everytime! And so delicious! All you have to do is follow the measurements and keep an eye on the time and it cannot fail. I'm sorry to everyone who had it wrong but it must be something you've done. Please don't discourage others from trying it themselves. It can be a success.


Very disappointed with this cake. Mine didn't work at all. Followed the recipe and it was a disaster, ended up looking like a dog's dinner!!!


omg i love this receipe!soooooooooo easy and amazing to look at and so very yummy. to the peeps that didnt think it will feel like its not that cooked inside, but once its cooled and then put in the fridge, it goes all creamy and lovely and tarte like. x


I made this on the weekend for my grandfathers birthday and it was gorgeous. It does need to cook for about 1 hour I found out. Nonetheless a really delicious and easy chocolatey cake! I woud definitley make it again. I actually put in 200g dark chocolate and 100g milk chocolate lindt as I had run out of dark chocolate - yum! I have also made the fish cakes and tomato soup - all superb!


Loved this cake, made it and the borscht from the celebratory episode and doing it again!! The cake is taking longer this time.....I'm in no way a baker but I conquered this one and everyone is looking for the recipe (slight exggeration)!! Fab as is the borscht with the vodka!!


Wow, love Sophie's recipies. most amazing cake, absolute stunner. Making it again for my husband's birthday! thank you!


Got the recipe out of a magazine, followed the recipe, ended up with a semi-cooked sloppy mess, very disappointing! Did'nt state in the magazine recipe that you had to use a food processor!!!! Not only a waste of time, but a waste of gas and ingriedients!!! Magazines take note-print these recipes properly.!!


Simply the best chocolate cake I have ever made. A beautifully moist, richly dense cake worthy of a special occasion. My family cannot wait for me to make this cake again. I topped mine with cream and blueberry's. Important to take into account your own oven's capabilities, my cake took a good hour and it is worth being patient and leaving it in the fridge overnight to allow the cake to set. Thank you Sophie!


I made this last weekend and it was a complete success, everyone loved it and wanted the recipe!! Thanks Sophie!!


Not sure what I did but this was a COMPLETE disaster, think there is too much water in the mixture, I had to throw it all away!!! :-(

Not given

This recipe DOES NOT work!! I have tried to make it twice and it comes out looking nothing like what Sophie's does!! It is wet and moist despite cooking it for 45 mins - and it was burnt on top!! Seriously save your ingredients and make something else!!!!

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