An Incredible No Bake Chocolate Cake

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

If you 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

No Bake Chocolate Cake

3.76 from 158 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
 
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Comments

Heidi, this looks lovely and I have to ask, where did you get that cute little loaf pan? Or any of your awesome, antique looking pans for that matter. I'm going to be in San Francisco at the end of July so please tell me even if it's some little local shop!
HS: Hi Lisa - most of them come from garage sales and flea markets. There is a big flea market across the bay in Alameda the 1st Sunday of each month, and another south of SF on the third Saturday I believe. Cookin' on Divisadero St. is packed with second-hand cake and tart pans if you don't mind digging.

This looks amazing. I love that it's gluten-free without really trying!

Hadley@HadleyHolistics

I didn't even know I wanted to eat this cake until you shared it! Thanks for the fantastic idea. My stomach is just growling now....

Katie

At last - a sinful desert that's diabetic friendly!!!!

Lee Stein

Perfect timing for a special but Monday night dinner tonight. Ricki I have never tried the avocado version but I do make a silken tofu + choc. Similar idea. (truly cdn't bring myself to use an avo that way!)

Therese

Why didn't I think of that? Brilliant. Perfect for keeping the kitchen cool on a sweltering day. Canning jars are my favorite vases.

Muffin Tin

What a great recipe! The possibilities for flavorings in endless. A nut layer, maybe chilies. Love this.

Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet

The idea of not having to turn on an oven right now makes me smile.

Jessica@ Honestly Good Food

Just made this...so easy! My egg allergic, chocolate lovin tot loves it. :-)

kate

Wow, this is stunning!

Blog is the New Black

Good lawd that looks sinfully delish!!!!

Jeanine

I want this now. I wish I weren't on a diet!

Natalie

This is similar to a "cake" my Nana used to make, but she lined the pan with ladyfingers, placed them on top as well, and then put in in the icebox, hence her name for it was "chocolate icebox cake". It was seriously chocolate, rich and dense.
HS: I love reading the variations on this. Ladyfingers!

campRn

this type chocolate concoction is commonly referred to as a chocolate pate, not a cake. there are lots of versions with a variety of flavors. these were very popular in the 1980s in restaurants.

bhaeravii

Wow. Heavenly!!! :-)

Caroline @ chocolate and carrots

You didn't specify as to what chocolate you used - bitter sweet or milk chocolate?
HS: Hi Janet - I used a 70% bittersweet.

Janet Paula

For some reason I have a deep desire to make this with with a "crust" of chopped toasted almonds, ground almonds, a little melted butter and a little brown sugar pushed into the pan before pouring the chocolate mixture in. I could possibly even mix in some toasted almonds directly into the chocolate instead. Anyway, I'm very excited to try this recipe, it sounds absolutely amazing!

Genoa Sylvia

wow, this looks amazing! your flowers are beautiful too!

jen

Oh God Heidi you just read my mind!!! I have a lunch in an hour I have make a cake for it and completely failed... this cake looks perfect!!!! many many many thanks!

Nieves

No sugar in the recipe. Was that a mistake? Can I add a little agava if I think it is needed?
HS: No mistake - I find there's enough sweetness in the chocolate.

Janet Paula

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