David Lebovitz’s Chocolate Idiot Cake (Flourless Chocolate Cake)

There are two reasons why I decided to bake this cake. First, a chocolate cake recipe by David Lebovitz cannot be missed. Second, he calls it the Chocolate Idiot Cake because only an idiot can mess it up. Not that I doubt my intelligence but it’s only healthy to check if one’s turning into an idiot from time to time. With great relief I inform you that I am not an idiot…yet.


But, the reason I decided to share this masterpiece on my blog is that it is “utterly rich and delicious“. It’s a chocolate lover’s dream. It’s the simplest cake you will ever bake. Four ingredients is all you need to create the magic that this cake is. The only thing you need to be careful about is preparing your baking pan for baking in a water bath a.k.a. bain marie.

So let’s begin!

Here’s what you need:


  • 8 inch Loose Bottom Baking Pan
  • 10 inch or bigger, Regular Baking Pan
  • Parchment Paper*


  • 10 ounces (290 gm) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used 70% dark chocolate)
  • 7 ounces (200 gm) butter, salted or unsalted, cut into pieces (I used and recommend salted butter)
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 gm) sugar

*Note: You will need parchment paper if you wish t0 remove the whole cake from the pan and transfer it into a plate or a box. Lifting the cake straight away is not advisable and would be a real idiot move.  You may however, cut the slices off the bottom and remove them without the need of parchment paper. Parchment paper is not the same as butter paper.


Using the loose bottom, draw a circle on the parchment paper with pencil.


Cut along the line…


Leaving out a tiny strip. You will need it later to lift the cake and transfer it on a plate.


Lightly butter the loose bottom to stick the parchment paper.


Place the parchment paper circle on the buttered pan and press gently to stick.


Carefully attach the bottom back to the pan.


Let the tiny strip hang on the outside.


Use a large sheet of aluminium foil to wrap and seal the bottom of the pan.


Trim the edges leaving just enough to fold it and tuck it around the edge.


Repeat with at least one more aluminium foil layer. I seal my baking pan with 3 layers of aluminium foil to be extra extra careful. If water enters the baking pan, the cake will be a mess.


Trim the edges and your pan is ready for baking in a water bath. This is a real neat trick to learn because many cheesecakes and puddings are baked in a water bath.


Melt the butter and chocolate over a double boiler.


When the everything is molten and smooth, remove from the double boiler and keep it aside.


 Crack open 5 eggs and whisk them gently until uniform.


Slowly add the sugar as you whisk.


Whisk until eggs are pale yellow in colour and frothy. Should take less than 5 minutes. Add the chocolate and butter mixture to the eggs.


Using a hand whisk or an electronic beater, mix the chocolate thoroughly until you form a uniform, glossy batter with the consistency of a very thick milk shake.


Pour the batter into the prepared pan.


Place the baking pan into a larger baking pan and add hot water to the larger baking pan to come about halfway up to the outside of the cake pan.


If you feel that the water is too much or too less, then add or remove accordingly, using a spoon.


Cover the baking pan loosely with a sheet of foil. Do not pack it tightly. You are almost placing it on top of the pan and very gently folding it around the edge just so that the foil does not slip off.


Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. “You’ll know the cake is done when it feels just set, like quivering chocolate pudding. If you gently touch the center, your finger should come away clean.” says David.

Remove the foil and take out the baking pan from the water bath. Let it cool completely and place it in the refrigerator. In the original recipe David suggests that the cake be served at room temperature. But, I like it when it’s chilled. So, I let the cake chill in the pan for at least 3 hours before I take it out of the pan and serve.


Cut thin slices and serve with fresh fruit, whipped cream or ice cream. This cake is too rich to have large slices. Strawberries and Oranges would be a great accompaniment with this cake. It has the most incredible texture. It melts in mouth and leaves a lingering chocolatey taste on your palette long after you have finished eating it. I highly recommend that you try this one out.

Thank you David, for sharing this stunning recipe with the world.





Hello...My name is Yeshi. I love cooking and baking.I started experimenting in the kitchen when I was 12 years old. As soon as mom would leave from home, I would quickly go into the kitchen and try to create something new. Through my blog, I would like to share my passion for cooking & baking, some original, some inspired and some classic recipes. I hope you like it.

4 Responses to “David Lebovitz’s Chocolate Idiot Cake (Flourless Chocolate Cake)”

  1. February 20, 2016 at 9:13 pm #

    Thank you for the pictures. But why do you use an 8 inch pan when David uses a 9 inch pan for his recipe? Don’t you have to bake it longer to get the desired results if it’s in a smaller pan?

  2. April 17, 2016 at 3:52 am #

    Thank you so much for the step by step directions and the photos! I’m making it tomorrow!

  3. April 19, 2016 at 2:50 pm #

    Okay! I made it on Sunday!! It was successful! I made it in a darling little 5 inch spring-form pan. I made it twice,…once as a test, once for the final version. I found that really beating the eggs and sugar for a good long time made a big difference. Thank you so much for the recipe and step by step. Oh, I baked mine the exact time you mentioned. Some of the top came off on the silver paper that I placed on top of the cake, but I eased it back on. I sprinkled powdered sugar on top (the top didn’t look all that pretty). I really like it!

    • April 26, 2016 at 10:29 pm #

      Thanks Gigi! Happy Baking :)

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