An Incredible No Bake Chocolate Cake

The easiest chocolate cake you'll ever make. And it's always a huge hit. It's the sort of easy dessert perfect for summer, and entertaining, because you don't need to heat your oven.

An Incredible No Bake Chocolate Cake

I suspect this will be the easiest chocolate cake you'll ever make. And it's always a huge hit. It's the sort of easy dessert that is perfect for summer (and entertaining!) because you don't need to heat your oven. I think of it as a no bake chocolate cake, you wouldn't be far off calling it a slice-able truffle. Or, imagine an espresso-spiked, velvety, chocolate mousse you were able to cut into beautiful wedges. Sounds incredible, right? If you have ten minutes,  some dark chocolate, cream, and something to infuse the cream with, you're in business. I also have some non-dairy variations as well.

The Ultimate No Bake Chocolate Cake

When this Sort of Chocolate Cake is Perfect

This is the sort of thing I'll throw together if we're having friends over for dinner and I run out of steam on the dessert front. It's less trouble to make than it is to go out and buy something. A small slice really goes the distance. It's intense, it's hardcore chocolate. Paired with a touch of whipped cream (or whipped coconut cream) it's a total crowd-pleaser. I infused the cream used in the cake with espresso adn allspice in this version, but you could play it straight. Or take it in any direction you're inclined - there are dozens of great suggestions in the comments.

The Ultimate No Bake Chocolate Cake

Choosing the Right Pan

This is a small but mighty chocolate cake. The choice of pan warrants a mention. You end up with with ~ two cups of batter, and for the most part you can pour that into any small-ish, parchment-lined cake pan you like. The parchment is important if you ever want to get the cake out of the pan. For this cake, I used a little loaf pan I like, but I've done this in small spring-form pans, and on occasion little tart pans. Just keep in mind, a bigger pan will mean a thinner slice. A small loaf pan like this yields a deeper slice, and so on. It's hard to screw up - I mean, it's a slice-able truffle cake. In the lead photo I've used a 6-inch springform pan. In the shot below, I've used a small loaf pan.

In a pinch - a number of you have mentioned that you simply pour the chocolate mixture into individual muffin tins, or dessert cups, allow it to set, and served this way. Brilliant! Less cake like, but I suspect no one will complain.

The Ultimate No Bake Chocolate Cake

Variations

Want to avoid heavy cream? There are a number of substitutions that work well. I love using cashew cream in place of the heavy cream called for in the recipe. Make cashew cream by combining 1 part cashew nuts + 1 part water and process in a high speed blender until silky smooth. No need to strain. Coconut milk also works nicely as a substitution.

The Ultimate No Bake Chocolate Cake

Choosing the Right Chocolate

Because this cake is all about the chocolate, you don't want to skimp on quality. I've been using Guittard Organic 74% Bittersweet Chocolate Wafers for this cake. It works beautifully. I often use it straight, meaning, without the added espresso or allspice noted in the recipe. So it's just the beautiful chocolate notes coming through. San Francisco family-run chocolate represent! But, any good chocolate between 70% - 80% will work.

The Ultimate No Bake Chocolate Cake

Finishing Touches

I like to bring a bit of extra flavor (and some pretty) with a dusting of cocoa powder, a few dried rose petals, and a sprinkling of cacao nibs. Others like to finish things of with a few berries. Generally speaking, if it pairs nicely with chocolate, go for it. A few toasted nuts, or crumbled cookies wouldn't be unwelcome.

No Bake Chocolate Cake
If this isn't quite the right chocolate cake for you, I have a few others to recommend! This flourless chocolate cake is a classic all-time favorite, and everyone loves this Violet Bakery Chocolate Devil's Food Cake, and you can't go wrong with these incredible brownies.

More Cake Recipes

 

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No Bake Chocolate Cake

3.93 from 184 votes

Ingredients
  • butter, to grease pan
  • 8 ounces / 225 g 70% chocolate, well chopped
  • 8 ounces / 225 g heavy cream, cashew cream, or full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons finely ground espresso (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain salt
  • cocoa powder, to serve
  • optional other toppings: rose petals, cacao nibs
Instructions
Prepare your Pan
  1. Lightly butter a 6-inch / 15cm springform pan or equivalent. I typically use small loaf pans which are less common, but many small pans will work here (see main entry). Line with parchment paper and set aside.

Make the Cake
  1. Barely melt the chocolate in a double boiler over gentle heat.
  2. In a separate medium pan heat the cream over gentle heat. Stir in the allspice and the espresso, if using. When the cream is very warm / hot to the touch, remove from heat and stir in the salt.
  3. Pour the chocolate into the cream, and very slowly and steadily stir until everything comes together smoothly. Make sure the components aren't at all separate. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled throughout, a few hours, or overnight.

Serve the Cake
  1. When ready to serve, remove from the pan, let set at room temperature for ten minutes or so, dust with a bit of cocoa powder, sprinkle with any other toppings you like, and slice. Alternately, you can slice and serve from the pan.

Serves
12
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 
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Comments

I love making this. I've made it for a couple of potlucks, and I make it for my husband's birthday. It is close to perfect. I have to say, the last couple times I made it, I noticed it's a little salty. Maybe it's the kind of chocolate I've been using? Callebaut Dark the last couple times. Maybe I'll go darker like I have in the past!

allison

I too would love to know the dimensions of the loaf pan you used - the size looks perfect! Sorry if I missed an earlier response!

KH

    Hi KH - I used a 9x9-inch square cake pan. Cut the cake in half and then stack to get that shape :).

    Heidi Swanson

We really like no bake recipes. Thanks for sharing

Dominique

Do you think it would work with Bailey's instead of heavy cream? Or maybe with half Bailey's/half heavy cream?

Sara

    Try it! -h

    Heidi Swanson

This was SO rich, SO delicious, and SO satisfying to chocolate lovers. I used some cinnamon and a bit of cayenne (you could hardly taste either). Pay attention to the direction to put it in a small pan — you want some height in the slices. We served it with fresh raspberries and creme fraiche. The best part was I made it in no time the day before. THANK YOU!!!! For this fabulous addition to my repertoire!

Martha

    Thanks Martha! And yes the small pan is key. Or doubling up on the recipe.

    Heidi Swanson

Can you freeze this?

an li

    Hmmm. I haven't tested a freeze, but if anyone else has please give a shout!

    Heidi Swanson

I love this recipe very much and have made it few times. What I love more is the pan. Heidi, can you share the size of the small loaf pan you have used? If you can share a link on amazon then it would be great too. I have shortlisted a Pullman small pan but not sure if it gives a similar deeper slice.

Deepali Jain

    Deeplai - I'm not sure of the dimensions of that exact pan, but it was quite narrow and long...apologies, for not being sure!

    Heidi Swanson

Would this work using creme fraiche instead of cream? Or would it be too sour/tangy?

Miriam

    Could be fantastic!

    Heidi Swanson

This reminds me so much of an amazing chocolate torte I had in a Seattle restaurant once. I still dream about it. I can't wait to try this!

Melissa @ Treats With a Twist

any dairy-free alternative for heavy cream?

Miriam

My first time on this site, It is winter in SA so it will be Oxtail for my dinner party on Sat Looking for a light uncomplicated something for dessert any ideas...going to try this cake soon sounds amazing...thank you

Louise

Thanks so much for this recipe! I made it for a party this past weekend, with a few black-cap raspberries on top since they're in season in our garden, and the dessert was VERY popular. I didn't have a small enough pan, so I poured the chocolate mixture into individual dessert glasses, without parchment, and people just spooned the dessert out -- worked fine.

Tammy

Thank you for the recipe! Usually I am a disaster In the kitchen... I always screw something up and end up with a kitchen like the ones in Tom &Jerry in the endings... But not today! Thanks to you I have a delicious desert and a clean and happy kitchen!

Red Rose

I had friends over for dinner this week and was making olive oil gelato. I wanted something rich and chocolatey but quick and easy to serve with it. This was totally perfect! You always have such wonderfully creative and practical ideas--the very best kind. Thank you!

Kate Morgan

Wow! Your “no bake chocolate cake” looks firm and moist. I can imagine how it will melt in my mouth. I can’t wait to try this one.

Melanie Large

I think I'm going to try this in mini-muffin cups and then topping them with icecream and freezing for mini icecream bites for a company picnic. Maybe infusing the icecream with peppermint for a cooling option.

Christina

This sounds amazing! And just the thing to quell my chocoholic cravings when it's way too hot to think about turning on the oven. We really love your blog and would be delighted to work with you on something - if you're interested in King Arthur Flour, feel free to send me an email!

Allison@KAF

I took this to a Microbrewery Supply business potluck along with 2 flavors of water kefir and homemade beer. Other brought fermented, spicy cabbage, pasta salad, spicy cole slaw, a fritatta, cookies, more beer, mead, etc. No one got sick despite such a crazy sounding spread. People called my cake "chocolate" rather than cake, possibly because it was so thin. I only had a 9" spring form pan. I'll use some mini loaf pans next time I saved from many Christmas banana/zucchini, etc cakes from my grandmother. Cheers!

Johanna Woodbury

From the photos, I was thinking... how about doing this in verrine format?... And I'm thinking Amaretto, and a garnish of crumbled amaretti & toasted almonds... Besides, the verrine allows you to make a bit smaller portions and eliminate the guilt ;-)

Annie

I made two batches of this - one with semi-sweet chocolate infused with vanilla and the second with 60% chocolate (could not find 70% anywhere!) and I infused the cream with a hazelnut liqueur. Served both with fresh rapsberries and whipped cream and it was divine and so incredibly easy to make. I think in the future I will add some toasted nuts to the bottom of the dish as a sort of crust and I also think I may make them in individual ramikins. But I will definitely make this again and again! Thanks!

momnivore

this is absolutely divine! I added some orange essence and very very finely chopped almonds to mine and it was a complete chocolate lover's dream! the consistency is so smooth and velvety, everyone has to try this :)

Marie

The cake is awesome with the roasted strawberries from Heidi's new book. I sprinkled mine with a little toasted coconut.

Stephanie

omg this gives me too many ideas..whether to infuse the cream with cardamom or earl grey..(drool) beautiful recipe & photos :D

Yoko

I made this for a BBQ last night and it was such a hit. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Amy

I made this the other day - so rich and amazing. It only lasted two days. Thanks for the recipe!

Lil

This looks absolutely wonderful! I plan on making this today and was wondering what the downside would be to making it in individual little ramekins? Thank you so much for the recipe!

Christina

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