A dessert that is as decadent as it is simple: the no-bake chocolate cake.
Full of smooth, rich chocolate, this cake makes the slightest serving completely satisfying and the amount of time to prepare makes it perfect for any occasion.
It is a gluten-free dessert that can easily be adapted to dairy-free, containing just two main ingredients and requiring very little prep time.
If you have prepared chocolate truffles or ganache you will recognize the method, but I would guess you haven’t had any dessert quite like this.
As we walk through the steps of this recipe, keep in mind that the variations and topping options are nearly endless and it is these extras that will make this dessert exceptional.
Preparing To Make A No-Bake Chocolate Cake
To begin, I want to walk through how to prepare your pan. I recommend using a 6-inch springform pan like this one, in which you simply need to grease and line with parchment paper.
If you do not have a springform pan, here is a simple trick to be able to pop this cake out with ease, maintaining its shape:
- Grease the pan with butter or oil.
- Cut parchment paper to fit all sides of the pan: a circle for the bottom and a long strip that will wrap around the side, being sure the side piece is taller than the pan.
- Cut at least three long strips of parchment paper. First, add the long strips across the pan, going both directions.
- Add your parchment paper to the bottom and sides. You should see almost none of the pan, making sure the cake will only touch the parchment paper, but if there are gaps the butter will help release it properly.
These long strips will give you the leverage to lift the delicate cake smoothly in one swoop.
Ingredients For No-Bake Chocolate Cake
Now that your pan is prepared, gather your ingredients:
- Heavy Cream
As always, the quality of your ingredients will reflect in your finished product. This is especially true when working with very few ingredients. Be sure to purchase baker’s chocolate, found in 4 oz bars in the baking aisle.
It is your choice on the cocoa level, understanding that we add heavy cream, so milk chocolate will have less depth than you might expect. I recommend a baker’s chocolate that contains at least 48% cocoa like this one.
A name brand heavy whipping cream will be important here, as many cheaper varieties with lower milkfat will scorch quickly on the stove and tend to curdle.
If you would like this cake to be dairy-free, there are a couple of options. The truest to the original flavor would be achieved by using cashew cream. Another option would be full-fat coconut milk.
Butter, vanilla, and salt are all optional but do make a wonderful difference in the overall flavor.
(Some more varieties you may like to try mixing in include ground espresso, finely chopped pecans, or cayenne pepper.)
How To Make A No-Bake Chocolate Cake
Step 1: Gather your ingredients.
Step 2: Chop your chocolate bars very well.
Aim for a decently fine chop without stressing over some chunks.
Step 3: Add the chopped chocolate to a bowl.
If using, sprinkle in the salt and tablespoon of butter to the chocolate.
Step 4: Pour your cream into a pot and with a watchful eye bring it to a gentle simmer.
(Cream boils rather quickly and can easily be scorched if you are distracted. You know this has happened if the cream takes on a strong, distasteful smell. If this happens, simply dump it out and try again.)
Step 5: With the chocolate at the ready, pour your simmering cream into the bowl, completely covering the chocolate.
Then, do nothing! Let the chocolate and cream sit in the bowl for 5 minutes untouched.
Step 6: After 5 minutes, add the vanilla and stir the mixture until completely uniform. (Beautiful, chocolate decadence!)
Step 7: Transfer the chocolate mixture into your prepared pan, cover lightly with saran wrap and place it in the refrigerator.
It will need at least an hour, two for good measure, to set.
Step 8: Once completely cool, use a butter knife to loosen the sides of the cake from the pan.
Then, gently, use the long strips to lift the cake cleanly from the pan. Once out you can remove the side and bottom parchment pieces. Place cake on your desired serving dish.
Step 9: Now the fun part! Choose your toppings to complete the cake.
For a party, consider colorful sprinkles. If it’s summer and fresh berries are available, choose your favorite. For simplicity, even a sprinkle of cocoa powder does the trick.
Here I chose to add fresh blackberries, chopped dark chocolate, bee pollen, and a bit of raw sugar.
Step 10: Serve and enjoy!
The servings should be kept small, as it’s exceptionally rich, and would pair nicely with anything that pairs well with chocolate.
- 8 oz baker’s chocolate, well chopped
- ⅔ cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
- 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla (optional)
Grease and line 6 inch springform cake pan with parchment paper. If not using a springform pan see notes above on lining your pan.
Add chopped chocolate, salt, and butter to a large, heatproof bowl.
In a medium-sized pot bring the cream to a gentle simmer, keeping a close eye as not to let it boil.
Pour the cream into the heatproof bowl, covering the chocolate.
Let stand for 5 minutes.
Add the vanilla extract and stir the mixture until uniform.
Transfer chocolate mixture to the prepared cake pan, cover in saran wrap, and place in the fridge.
Refrigerate until completely cool, 1-2 hours.
Once cooled, remove from pan and parchment paper. Transfer to serving dish and top with desired toppings.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 233Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 171mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 15gProtein: 3g
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