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

this looks amazing, i would like to infuse this cake with maybe some orange zest or add some kind of nut.

lidia@ sugarslut

This sounds diviiiiiiiiiiine... must try it some time when I have friends to entertain. Not a coffee fan, but would definitely have a go with some of those other variations people have suggested, particularly hazelnuts. I always enjoy your blog, Heidi - thanks! PS Comments are closed on the recipe for Nikki's Healthy Cookies, but I also wanted you to know that these - with slight variations (I leave out the coconut, and call them biscuits, being Australian) - are now an essential part of my repertoire too. Thanks. :)

Courtenay

What a brilliant dessert idea - very quick & easy and looks like it will satisfy the hard-core chocolate lover. I'm not a fan of coffee, but would happily sub some Cointreau. Seems to me there may be a place for nuts in this too ...

Amanda

Just made this and something went terribly wrong. When I combined the chocolate and cream the mixture became grainy and clumpy. Very disappointed...because yours looks so good. HS: I'm so sorry to hear that Kelly, I'll drop you an email - let's see if we can figure out what happened! Chocolate can be temperamental for sure. Sometimes if water or steam hits (while in the double boiler) the chocolate it can seize.

Kelly

Wow, does that ever sound rich! I'm used to a similar "ganache-y" type dessert (except mine is called pate, not cake!) with avocado & chocolate. It's pretty darned rich, too, except no dairy. I've never tried it with espresso--I know my hubby would love that addition. And mini pans for individual servings are great. :)

Ricki

Its summer, you are supposed to be lazy!

Belinda @zomppa

@ bhaeravii........you are correct. This is also known as a chocolate pate. And, there are numerous varieties, many of which use countless infusions to dress up the presentation and ultimate tasting sensation. The unaccomplished kitchen novice could actually pull this off with caution and attention to detail.

Mark Boxshus

hello heidi, have really enjoyed your blog since finding it 3-4 months ago. many thanks. my question is a sticky one. 1st, this dessert is quick, looks great and i'm sure delicious. 2nd, i am allergic to chocolate. 3rd, is there another ingredient that could slip into the place of chocolate? i know it probably defeats the purpose of utter decadence, but i'd love to have something i can use in place of chocolate when i see the structure of a really good recipe. stay well, mary

mary

I love truffles, but have always struggled with making them at home - instead of gorgeous balls of chocolate, I make a mess. This cake seems more up my alley. I'm printing the recipe now - thank you!

Eileen

Another great liqueur to add to this would be Frangelico! Nice nutty flavour. For orange, I'd go with Grand Marnier.

Maria

Looks like it would be great with a cup of coffee after dinner.

One in a Brazilian

Looks great, never heard of no-bake chocolate cake, will give this a try!

Kara

Can you freeze this? I made it a few hours ago and it is still setting up in the fridge. I am having company in a few days and thought I would just put it in the freezer until they arrive. BTW, I used half & half instead of heavy cream and only had a few oz of 70% chocolate, so just semi- sweet morsels too...do you think that is ok...oh and I forgot the salt...will any of the above hurt the consistency? Thank you for a great recipe...I will try to make it better next time...

Gloria

Goodness! That absolutely looks delicious! Perfect the hot July days that are (hopefully) coming :) I suspect it would travel well, no? My sister loves no frills chocolate, and I'll be visiting her (in your neck of the woods, sort of) in a couple of weeks.

Dina Avila

That's my kind of cake! You could go so many ways with this. Infuse with herbs, citrus, fruits. Or, my personal favorite, add a peanut butter swirl. Yikes!

kayla

Lovely and tempting recipe.. looks absolutely delicious.. thanks for sharing !!

Hari Chandana

Gosh, death by chocolate! I make something pretty similar around christmas time but in a round cake tin with crushed amaretti biscuits in the base, so when you flip it out it has a delicious crumbly topping. so so rich but absolutely heavenly :)

Sasha @ The Procrastobaker

I love the idea of infusing the cream with espresso and allspice. A nice little kick! I can imagine throwing in some hazelnuts in the batter for an extra crunch.

Alejandra @ Mouthfuls and Morsels

How heavenly!

Fresh and Foodie

This is perfect for our picnic tomorrow - I just made it (and of course licked the bowl, and the spoon...) I was considering substituting cinnamon for the allspice - I'm so glad I didn't! The flavors are perfect together! Yum!

Myra Horst

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