This cake started off as a doughnut.

A baked chocolate doughnut, tender with ground almonds and rich in chocolate flavour. As it turns out though, I’m not very good at making doughnuts. I get flustered when I’m trying to fill the tin. I overfill some of the holes and underfill others. They never quite bake up right and I end up throwing the batch away more often than not. After a couple of attempts, I gave in, banished my doughnut pan to the cupboard of ridiculous kitchen equipment that I never use and poured what remained into a trusty round cake tin.

This is my very favourite kind of recipe – one in which the result is completely disproportionate to the effort involved. In the best possible way, there’s not really much of anything in this cake. There isn’t an excessive quantity of sugar or dozens of eggs. Most of the ingredients can be measured in tablespoons and teaspoons. There are no complicated techniques, no crucial moment where you have to focus all your attention on what you’re doing. If you can lightly beat an egg, you can make this cake.

We have eaten versions of this cake most days recently, nominally because I was tweaking the recipe but really because it’s easy and delicious. It’s not too dense or heavy. It has an intense chocolate flavour without  being overwhelmingly rich. It’s wonderfully moreish – every time I go into the kitchen I have to cut myself off a sliver.

flourless chocolate cake

Yield: A 20cm cake (serves 6 - 8)


  • 85g (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) ground almonds/almond meal
  • 30g (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) cocoa powder
  • 90g (1/2 cup) unrefined dark brown sugar (muscavado sugar works well)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) natural yogurt (it will also work with sour cream)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F (fan) and grease a 20cm round baking tin.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the ground almonds, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda/baking soda, salt and coffee until they are completely combined.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, yogurt, oil and vanilla.
  4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, pour into the baking tin and bake for 20-22 minutes until the cake has set and it feels slightly springy to the touch.
  5. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
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34 Responses to "flourless chocolate cake {gluten free}"
  1. Yep – I’ve had this happen before. I plan to make one thing and somehow end up with another, and it can be surprisingly good at times! I agree it’s things like this that can so encouragingly spur you on.

  2. Jenny @ BAKE says:

    this cake looks far nicer as a cake than donuts! plus no portion control with a cake!

  3. Erin says:

    I completely understand the sentiments in this post. I get frustrated when I’m not brilliant at things as well, and honestly I think I’m probably learning the same lessons that you are through my blog. ;)
    And goodness this cake looks fantastic.

  4. This is just beautiful…both the writing and the cake. :D

  5. Oh gosh! Don’t quit! I know how you feel, though. I posted a tuna recipe on my blog yesterday that got so little hits and attention that I wanted to quit! (thanks for being one of the few who commented on it!)
    Chocolate fixes everything, no? ;)

  6. Mmm…flourless chocolate cake is one of my all-time favs. Looks delicious!!

    And be encouraged. I think you are doing a wonderful job with your blog! :)

  7. Jina says:

    Just looking at that cake makes me hungry! I’m not a natural baker and if something isn’t turning out right, it tends to just end up a disaster. A tasty(ish) disaster, maybe, but incredibly disheartening and I have to start over.

    Bookmarking this recipe, thank you for sharing :)

  8. It looks lovely, and so elegantly presented! Keep up the good work! ;)

  9. I’m glad you haven’t given up on the blog! I have those same feelings about a lot of things in life.
    and I have to say, I loooove flourless chocolate cakes. so rich and amazing. Thanks for posting, and continuing to post!

  10. Emma Gardner says:

    Blogging really does teach you a surprising amount about life as well as the more technical things. I actually have a card that says ‘life is a journey not a destination’ on my desk pinboard – I find it very easy to focus on goals/’winning’ and forget that the journey is in so many ways the best bit.

  11. What a gorgeous post, full of chocolate and inspiration – love it!

  12. love that you ditched the donut pan and made this instead! donuts get lots of viewer response, people tend to love the visual appeal but when it comes down to it, I’d rather make a cake or a pan of bars than donuts or muffins. Much less fussy with better taste results anyway!

  13. You couldn’t have said it better! I try giving up the blog so many times a day but in the end, it’s one of the best things for me and I’ve learned so much along the way. I never thought I’d be the person to own an SLR camera and know the meaning of aperture or shutter speed.

    And btw, this doughnut turned cake is amazing. I need a slice. No wait, a couple of slices for lunch please.

  14. Glad you’re not giving up this blog because I need more of these recipes!!!! I cannot believe I have never had flourless cake before but there’s no doubt that I’ll love it since I personally prefer licking the cake batter before adding the flour ;) xx

  15. Really interesting. I honestly never thought about what my blog has taught me until now.

    And I love that these were supposed to be donuts. Great that it worked out as cake. :)

  16. Now that looks fantastic. I’ve only made a flourless cake once or twice before but I’m going to have to try this. Most of my own favourite recipes started off as meant to be something completely different but they’re often happy accidents and end up as they’re actually meant to be rather than what I wanted them to.

  17. Love that these were originally meant to be donuts. The cake itself looks just divine, so it sounds like this was a brilliant use of the batter!

  18. What a fantastic looking cake! I am glad I found your site through Food Gawker.

  19. Keep up the blogging, if you didn’t write this I would never have learned how to bake a flourless cake that should have been a doughnut :) Cant wait to try this.

  20. Amee says:

    It’s a lovely not a donut cake :)

  21. Everyone has these moments, Kathryn! And let me assure you that you have amazing talent and I love reading your stories! This cake looks amazing!!

  22. there are so many days where i want to quit the blog too, but you’re right – there are life lessons to be learned from it and how you grow from your blog, too, is shocking. i love it! don’t leave :) you know we’d miss you too much! i’ve never made flourless chocolate cake before – it looks gorgeous and so delicious!

  23. Megan Keno says:

    I love everything about this post Kathryn. The introspective and the cake itself are both brilliant. I’ve had those thoughts about my simultaneous self-doubt and brilliance for ever since I started this blog – but the journey has been the most rewarding – and meeting friends like you.

  24. YONKS says:

    Please don’t quit, what would we have to drool over!
    I must give this cake a try, I don’t think even I could mess this one up :-)

  25. Love positive outcome from recipe testing. I don’t often get a good result, but wish I had this delicious recipe instead ;)

  26. I hope all the wonderful comments above provide you with some sort of proof of how brilliant this blog is and how you should never, ever give it up :-) Gorgeous looking cake and much better than doughnuts in my book!

  27. Joanne says:

    I find with blogging (and with most other things in life) that there’s always going to be someone who you think is better than you in some aspect of it….but really. Who cares as long as you’re having fun? I LOVE your blog and I wouldn’t change a thing about it!

    Now hand over a slice of that chocolate cake. :P

  28. First, don’t give up the blog, it’s one of my favourites. I know what you mean though. Sometimes I get wrapped up in stats and plugins and cameras and then I step back and give my head a shake and remind myself why I do this thing. It’s all good.

    Second, am I alone in thinking that pouring cake batter into a donut shaped tin and baking it isn’t really making donuts? It baffles me, it really does.

    This cake looks fabulous, and I just happen to have all of the ingredients in my kitchen at the moment. It looks gorgeous, and not too heavy. Thanks for another great recipe!

  29. Kasey says:

    As always, I find your writing so relatable. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve given up on things (including piano, and math!) because I felt that I couldn’t be the best, and that just didn’t sit well. Thankfully, the longer I blog, despite by frustrations or feelings of inadequacy at times, the less I can imagine NOT doing it. Can’t go wrong with a flourless chocolate cake…EVER.

  30. Gorgeous cake!! I love a flourless chocolate cake. I’m so glad you were able to salvage the batter, because I’d much prefer cakes to donuts.

    You sound like me, I get flustered and frustrated and almost want to give it all in, and then you remember why I’m doing it, and it’s for the love of food. :) I love your blog, I love the way you share the ups and downs, and I love the way you are so honest about it all. Keep your chin up, and if all else fails you always have chocolate cake ;)

  31. Your cake looks fabulous, even if it did start out as a doughnut! Just lovely!

  32. This cake looks so darn fabulous! I could have slice after slice in one sitting.

  33. Jacqui says:

    I think flourless chocolate cakes are better than doughnuts anyways : )

  34. Kavey says:

    Aah yes, I identify with your feelings so well.
    And now I need the cake.
    Darn you!

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