Chocolate Idiot Cake

chocolate idiot cake

I had been wanting to make flourless chocolate cake for awhile now, and when I saw David Lebowitz’s “Chocolate Idiot Cake”, it seemed like a good place to start. He describes the cake as being “like the most delicious, silkiest, most supremely-chocolate ganache you’ve ever had”. After a description like that, who could resist?

I was also drawn to it because it only has 4 ingredients – chocolate, butter, sugar, and eggs. Between being “so easy only an idiot could screw it up” and a whopping four ingredients- I was sold. Not to mention a massive chocolate craving that I just couldn’t shake for my whole life the past week, and the two giant bars of Valrhona in the pantry that I’d been saving for the right recipe to come along.

8.8 oz of dark chocolate bliss

So along I went, I melted my butter and chocolate, mixing my eggs and sugar (adding a splash of vanilla and a pinch of sea salt for good measure). The batter turns out not quite thick, but not quite runny either.

I was worried about using my springform pan in its first ever waterbath, so I foiled the crap out of it and had to pull an old roasting pan out of the garage because it’s the only thing I own big enough to fit the springform pan in.

Imagine my horror after placing my filled and foiled springform pan into the waterbath, and it was buoyant enough to float! Ummm…. oops? Looks like this idiot was on track to ruining the simplest recipe ever…

So after a minor disaster (my foiled springform was not foiled enough, so it foiled my dessert by leaking ever so slightly), I decided to forge ahead. I let my ugly-looking cake (bubbles!? There weren’t any bubbles in David’s pictures!!!) cool and went about my day trying not to get too depressed over it…

Then, after dinner, I pulled out my idiot cake – the bubbles had settled, and it looked divine. I served it sprinkled with powdered sugar accompanied with strawberries and whipped cream. Lebowitz is right – just like ganache. Even BF was impressed at how good it was!

This thing is rich, so all you need is probably a sliver. Of course, though all I “needed” was a sliver, that’s not all I ate. 😉

Chocolate Idiot CakeAdapted from David Lebowitz

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  • 10 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 7 oz unsalted butter, cut into cubes (2 sticks minus 1 Tb)
  • 5 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Small pinch of fleur de sel or kosher salt (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)

-Preheat the oven to 350F

1. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and dust it with cocoa powder, tapping out any excess (I sprayed with Pam for Baking). (*See tips)

2. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a large glass or metal bowl over simmering water- stirring occasionally until smooth. Once melted & smooth, remove from heat.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar, then whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until smooth.*

4. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and cover the top of the pan snugly with a sheet of foil. Put the springform pan into a larger baking pan, such as a roasting pan, and add enough hot water to the baking pan to come about halfway up to the outside of the cake pan.

5. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

6. You’ll know the cake is done when it looks just set, think custard or “quivering chocolate pudding”. If you gently touch the center, your finger should come away clean.

7. Once set, remove from water bath and place pan on cooling rack & remove foil top to cool completely.


*Wrap the outside of your springform pan with aluminum foil, making sure it goes all the way up to the outer rim. Basically cover the thing in foil, trust me.

*Either let the chocolate cool significantly, or make sure you temper it into the eggs. This just means to add a little bit at a time into the eggs (whisking constantly) to gently raise their temperature. Once you’ve added about 1/4 or 1/3 of the chocolate to the eggs, you may add the remaining chocolate mixture.

*Serve thin wedges at room temperature with ice cream, whipped cream, or a dusting of powdered sugar.

*Don’t worry if it has bubbles when you take it out of the oven, they will settle and it will be delicious.

*Can be wrapped and chilled in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.