A rich and flourless chocolate cake

I came across Mark Armstrong’s ‘flourless’ chocolate cake in an issue of Vogue Wine and Food Cookbook of about 1984. 1 tried it and it worked perfectly. It was held together by chocolate and eggs, and was full of cream to boot. Then I tried the recipe without the liqueurs the original called for. Then I found the best result was obtained when the very best chocolate was not used. For some reason, it appeared to be less rich, easier to eat, and just as full of chocolate flavour. Even then, it was still so rich that it needed several props to make it easier to eat and enjoy. I used a strongly flavoured raspberry and muscat sauce, cut the cake thinly, and served it with whipped cream, some berries, orange segments and the like. In the restaurant days, I added an orange sorbet on side. It looked stunning and tasted wonderful. Much later, I tasted Armstrong’s original at his lovely Paddington eating house, Pegrum’s, since passed on to other hands, and it was, in fact quite different. It was certainly much richer, but then he didn’t use as many props. I am forever grateful for the inspiration.

8 whole eggs

½ cup brown sugar (or caster sugar)

675g chocolate, melted — Use Small’s Club, or Cadbury’s Energy, or something dark and rich.

250ml cream, whipped until just firm — Any baking tin will do, but make sure the sides and bottom are heavily buttered and lightly floured to allow the cake to be removed easily. Use greaseproof paper if you, like me, always have trouble with cakes sticking.


Whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl over gentle heat until the sugar is melted and the mix is thick and mousse-like. Slowly incorporate the melted chocolate, then leave to cool a little.


Fold into the whipped cream, until all ingredients are as one.


Pour the mix into the prepared tin and cover with aluminium foil.


Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. The cake is baked in a tray of just-boiling water. Allow the water to come halfway up the sides of the cake tin. Cook the cake in the bottom of the oven. It will take at least 2 hours and, when done, will resist your touch throughout. It will not be wobbly in the middle. Allow to cool thoroughly and leave in the tin in the refrigerator overnight.


Unmould by placing the base of the tin in a little warm water for about 60 seconds. It should come out easily.


Slice with a warm knife and serve with a fruit sauce — raspberry is perfect, but you could make a sauce of orange or strawberries — and, if you really want to make a display of it, make an orange sorbet and serve at the side, along with all sorts of berries. Whipped cream is probably taking it all a bit too far.

WINE: One of my favourites to eat, not to match with wine. It’s so rich and intense that it demands to be eaten on its own; maybe with a short, black coffee. This cake is a beauty to find in the fridge the next morning and hop into before anyone else gets up.