Flourless Red Velvet Cake

 

 

Rich fudgy red velvet chocolate cake, naturally flourless. Where most red velvet cakes have just a touch of cocoa, this one doubles down on the chocolate flavor and is still ‘red’ thanks to a light batter made with whipped egg whites. The cake has a crispy meringue lid with a dense chocolatey center. It is topped with a cream cheese vanilla bean whipped cream for that perfect ‘red velvet’ bite.

 

 

Chocolate Red Velvet Cloud Cake

This is a festive twist on a classic recipe. My red velvet flourless cake is based on a long-beloved recipe from Richard Saxx, from his book Classic Home Desserts, where it’s called chocolate cloud cake. It is a very simple recipe made with four basic ingredients: chocolate, butter, eggs and sugar. The original recipe calls for zest and cognac for flavoring, but I diverge here to lean into the classic red velvet; adding a bit of cocoa and vanilla. Salt, is a must in all my recipes – something my instructor from culinary school firmly instilled in my baking.

This cake is naturally flourless; meaning it does not need leavening or flour for it’s texture or lift. All of that comes from the eggs, and the air that is whipped into a big white blanket of meringue.

 

 

Why you must make this red velvet flourless cake

There are two major steps to getting this cake right; once you’ve got those down it is daringly simple to make and major crowd-pleaser due to the intense chocolate flavor, the crunch of the meringue and the very rich & fudgy center.

To hone in on that red velvet taste I’ve added some cream cheese to the whipped cream, it gives it a little tang. Most people may not realize this but the red velvet taste you know so well is likely a delicious familiarity with the combination of chocolate & cream cheese. The frosted cranberries add a lovely, tart christmas crunch, making this the perfect holiday dessert.

Key steps to making the perfect flourless red velvet chocolate cake

  1. Whipping the egg whites: This can be done either in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer. You need a clean, dry bowl and you need to ensure no egg yellow has made its way into the whites. The only thing you want in this bowl is egg white, sugar and lots and lots of air! Once the egg whites are a little frothy you’ll begin adding the sugar, slowly so that each spoonful is fully incorporated before you add more. Once all the sugar is in it can take time to go from soft to medium peaks, be patient. You are looking for a soft shape but not for the meringue to be stiff and hold perfect shape. 
  2. Carefully combine the egg whites with the cake batter: you’ve just spent at least 10 minutes whipping air into creating a perfect meringue, the last thing you want to do is deflate it. Add the meringue a dollop at a time into the chocolate batter and use a rubber spatula to “fold” it in: lift the spatula and slowly make a circle with it as you go back into the batter then lift again. You’ll repeat this a few more times until you have at most a third of the meringue left. Now you can add the rest but very carefully. This is a long but rewarding process and in the meantime, you get to enjoy the big white streaks of batter! 
  3. Don’t over bake it: when it first goes into the oven, this cake rises and rises. You may take a peek and think it’s going to spill over but it won’t. Just as it reaches the top it stops. Once it’s out of the oven it will cool and cave in. 

Ingredients for red velvet flourless cake

  • Chocolate: semi-sweet chocolate at minimum 45% cocoa solids but not over 60%. Use a good quality chocolate as most of the cake’s flavor comes from the chocolate.
  • Butter: the type of butter does not matter, european or american is fine. But do ensure it’s unsalted, so that you can control how much salt is going into this batter.
  • Sugar: fine granulated sugar. 
  • Eggs: large eggs, all together the six eggs should weigh about 12 oz. Eggs are easier to separate when they are cold, and whip more easily when they are at room temperature.
  • Cocoa: I tried both natural and dutch cocoa in this and really preferred the latter which gave it a richer, deeper taste.
  • Food coloring: gel food coloring is best because it won’t add as much liquid to your batter.
  • Salt & vanilla: These two are flavor emphasizers. They take the cake from good to great!

Equipment needed to make flourless red velvet cake

  1. A stand mixer or a hand mixer to whip the egg whites.
  2. A tall, metal cake pan: This cake rises quite a bit (even if it falls later) so a 3″ tall cake pan is necessary. Originally the recipe is made with a 8″ or 9″ springform pan so if you have that you can use it. I find a tall cake pan is simpler to use. 
  3.  

Steps & tips to make flourless red velvet cake

  1. Preparing the pan for the cake: A thin layer of cooking oil on the pan helps the parchment paper stick. Press the parchment in and use metal clips to hold it in place. Do not spray the paper. 
  2. Melting the chocolate: do so over a double boiler or a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Don’t let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. You can also do this in the microwave, stopping every 30 seconds to stir the chocolate. Once the chocolate is melted, the heat from it will melt the butter. 
  3. Adding the sugar: sugar can ‘cook’ yolks so don’t pour it on top and leave it without stirring. It’s best to whisk the yolks, two eggs and sugar immediately and soon after add the butter/chocolate mix. 
  4. Whipping the meringue & folding the batter: see above section on ‘key steps’ for details on this. 
  5. Checking for doneness: this cake absolutely shouldn’t go over 45 minutes of baking time. Check it at 35 and try to keep it at 40 minutes. 

 

Toppings for flourless red velvet cake

Whipped cream: as much as I love to go all out when it comes to toppings (meringues! ice cream! caramel!) this cake is really best suited to a simple whipped cream. To make this cream cheese vanilla bean whipped cream you’ll scrape a vanilla bean and use the seeds, and whip them with some softened cream cheese. The only thing you’ll want to be careful of is to not over-whip it; stop at soft but not runny peaks. It can keep in the fridge for a few hours before serving. 

Frosted cranberries: Nothing says Christmas to me more than sugared cranberries. Chocolate & cranberry isn’t a common flavor paring but it’s a delightful one. To make these you’ll make a sugar syrup, soak the cranberries in it for a bit and let them dry. Then you’ll roll them in the sugar. I really love the way organic looks on these,  the bigger sugar granules mean  more crunch. 

Other add-ins: I added pomegranates (I would!) and some milk chocolate shards. You could also do a dusting of cocoa powder and some fresh raspberries. 

Recipe for Flourless Red Velvet Chocolate Cake 

 

flourless red velvet cake topped with whipped cream

Flourless Red Velvet Cake

Dense fudgy chocolate cloud cake with a crisp meringue-like topping.
5 from 32 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Servings 10

Equipment

  • stand mixer for whipping the egg whites
  • springform pan, 9"

Ingredients
  

Flourless Red Velvet Cake

  • 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • ½ cup unsalted butter cubed
  • 6 eggs separated into 4 whites in one bowl and 2 eggs and 4 yolks in another
  • 1 cup granulated sugar divided into two ½ cups
  • 2 tablespoons dutch process cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring

Frosted Cranberries

  • ½ cup granulated sugar plus more for rolling
  • ½ cup water
  • 6 oz cranberries

Cream Cheese Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

  • 4 oz cream cheese half an 8oz package, softened
  • 1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Use cooking spray to give an 8 or 9” cake pan (3” deep, this will rise) a thin coating of oil. Press a sheet of parchment paper into it and use metal clips to hold the paper in place. It doesn’t have to look perfect, the creases in the paper will give a lovely rustic look to the cake.
  • Set a glass bowl over a pot of gently simmering water and add the chocolate. Stir it as it melts and once it’s almost fully melted add the butter. Stir until you have a smooth ‘ganache’.
  • To the bowl with the 4 yolks and 2 eggs add ½ cup sugar, vanilla, salt and cocoa and whisk to combine. Stir in the ganache and red food coloring and set aside.
  • Using a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the four egg whites until they are frothy. With the mixer on, slowly pour in the sugar, stopping the pour to fully incorporate the sugar before continuing. Continue whipping until you have medium-stiff peaks that hold shape – the ‘meringue’ will be smooth and white but not fully stiff.
  • Using a rubber spatula, very gently fold a large spoonful of the meringue into the chocolate mixture until it’s mostly – but not fully – combined. Repeat with another spoonful. (This is a good point to evaluate how red you want the cake – if it’s not quite there, add some more gel food coloring). Then, carefully add the rest to and fold it in until the batter is almost fully blended.
  • Gently pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Don’t tap it on the counter or it will lose those precious air bubbles. Bake the cake for 35-45 (40 mins max for a 9″ pan, 50 max for an 8″) minutes. It will rise and crack in the oven. When you remove it it will be quite puffy and as it cools it will fall and cave into itself with large cracks.
  • Once the cake is completely cool, use the parchment to lift it out of the pan. To move the cake to a plate, slide a wide offset spatula underneath and lift.
  • To make the frosted cranberries: Prepare a cookie sheet with a cooling rack. Add the cranberries to a large bowl (you could also use a cake pan here). In a pot, boil together ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour the syrup over the cranberries and toss to cover them with the syrup, let them sit in the syrup for 5 minutes or so so that the syrup can seep in. With a slotted spoon, remove them and set them on the cooling rack (the cookie sheet will catch the drips) for about 1 hour. Toss them in the extra sugar and set them on a plate to dry.
  • To make the cream cheese whipped cream: beat the cream cheese until it’s smooth. Slice open a vanilla bean with a paring knife and scrape the seeds into the cream cheese, Add the sugar and heavy cream and either with a whisk or using a hand mixer, beat until you have firm-ish peaks (don’t go beyond this point or you risk breaking it). Dollop the whipped cream into the center of the cooled cake. Top with cranberries and shards of chocolate, if desired.
Keyword bundt cake, chocolate cake, flourless, gluten-free, red velvet
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


45 thoughts on “Flourless Red Velvet Cake”

  • 5 stars
    I made this for my coeliac friend for her birthday yesterday & she absolutely loved it – it looked absolutely lovely I topped it with raspberries , pomegranate seeds & chocolate curls & it was super moist , light & nice & fudgy in the centre – superb recipe thankyou I’ll be making it again!

  • 5 stars
    We made this for Christmas and it was delicious- perfect after a big meal! Very chocolatey flavor but still light in both the texture and paired with the whipped cream. We topped it with blueberries, raspberries, and pomegranates and it was lovely. We allowed it to cool for about 5 to 10 minutes and then ate it still warm. I used a springform pan and it released very easily even though it was still warm.

    • 5 stars
      This cake is divine! Every time I make one of your recipes it always works perfectly. I made it for my whole family and they all thought it was the best red velvet cake they’d ever had. So delicious!

  • 5 stars
    Unsurprisingly this cake is amazing. The strength of this cake lies in the combination of the cake and the cream cheese whipped cream. Seriously so delicious and perfect for our Christmas dessert!

  • The pictures look amazing! I thought this would be easy to ketofy 🙂 Had to do mine twice – the first, followed the instructions, the batter was so dark I had to pour 3.5 bottles of coloring and it still came out dark. My oven is convection so I put it at 325F and 45 min. At 45 min it was still too jiggly so I gave it another 5 min, it burnt… Started another batch, replaced 8oz of milk chocolate (55% cocoa) with 4oz of 55% cocoa and 4 oz of white chocolate so the batter isn’t so dark, plus additional 2 tbps of Dutch cocoa, also 30% less sugar; 350F for 30 min, again didn’t cave much or crack but wasn’t as dense and generally turned out well, my guests were impressed and were praising it. Now, this was a keto version with erythritol and Choczero baking chips… not sure if that’s what caused it, usually keto sweeteners behave much like sugar except erythritol doesn’t crystallize like sugar… Even with less sugar it was still too sweet to me. Would I make it again? Probably not. I love red velvet, this cake+brownie baby misses on the “velvet” part… Thanks for developing and sharing the recipe! If I may suggest, adding more detail like links to the brands that are used or how to know when the cake is done because everyone’s oven is different… Thanks!

  • 5 stars
    I’ve made this cake before following the recipe and it was amazing. This time I made it using a dairy-free butter and it still turned out great, I couldn’t tell a difference.

  • Great recipe, thank you. I ended up baking in a 12-inch tin, so the cake lost a bit of height. Also, I didn’t get the meringue crunch layer on the sides—not sure what happened there. Substituted cranberries for blueberries and figs. All worked a charm, but I need to perfect it.

  • Question: I was going to make this but it rained. I have experienced a Pavlova deflate the day I made it because of the humidity. I suspect this is the case with this recipe too. Anyone else report an issue like with it? Thank you in advance! I cannot wait to make it and a few more of your recipes! Love your site!

  • I’ll try this cake tomorrow, can I use icing and granulated sugar rather than raw cane sugar for the meringue? I usually use half icing half granulated when making pavlovas or meringues and it comes out perfect. Is there any difference for this specific recipe?Thank you!

    • You can use simply granulated sugar. Since this isn’t baking as just a meringue or a pavlova and has a lot of other ingredients I don’t think it needs the finer grind or the cornstarch usually found in icing sugar.

  • 5 stars
    This Cake was out of this world delicious! We were super surprised by the texture and lightness of it all. Maybe one of my favorite desserts I have ever made! Thank you!!!

    • Mary, I have very little experience baking at high altitude. There is a KAF guide on how to adjust recipes accordingly and looking at it, since there’s no leavening here I feel like it might be okay as is. That said, you may want to adjust bake time/temperature if that’s something you usually do when making cakes.

  • 5 stars
    SO GOOD. Finally a red velvet cake that’s nice and chocolate-y. I halved the recipe and made it in a 6″ pan – worked out well!

  • 5 stars
    A little more work than a regular cake, but the instructions were so easy to follow and the end result was incredibly worth it! It’s like a brownie and a meringue cookie had a baby! We were too impatient to let it cool, so we ate this warm with vanilla bean ice cream.

  • 5 stars
    This was sooooo good! I can’t believe it has no flour in it, it may be my favorite cake I’ve ever made! It was also surprisingly much easier to make than I thought! Thank you for the awesome recipe!

  • 5 stars
    I can only say it again, the cake was just amazing. I started my baking journey last year, and I found the steps well written to accomplish this cake. I can highly recommend to try it, The baking time I think is very depending on the oven and should be monitored. Besides that I found the flavor amazing.
    Thanks a lot

  • 5 stars
    So so so so so good! Made this for Christmas! It was easy, and absolutely delicious. No wonky red food coloring taste here. Just luscious delicious chocolatey cake. Not to mention it is a total show stopper. This is going to become a tradition in our house for sure.

  • 5 stars
    I tried this out for Valentine’s Day yesterday and really enjoyed baking it! I left it in for 41 minutes and only after it cooled and cracked did I realize that it was still really underbaked. It still tasted great but we did need to bake it a bit longer before we could eat it. We like gooey so it went over well. Next time, I’ll try the full 45 minutes!

  • 5 stars
    I made this tonight for Valentine’s and it was amazing! My husband and 6 year old both said that it was the best cake they’d ever had! I followed the instructions and it came out great. I let it go for 40 mins and the center was like a molten lava cake. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be that way or be set up a little bit more, but it was delicious!

  • 5 stars
    This was a winner for sure!! My mom often claims that things are “too chocolaty” or “too rich” but I love chocolaty, rich desserts. Well, everyone loved this. It was moist and closer to a brownie than a cake (I hate cakey brownies), but not too dense. It had tons of chocolate but won only praise from my parents. Will make again for sure!

  • 5 stars
    Delicious!!! I made this for Christmas followed the directions and everything came out perfectly! What a beautiful, unique, easy dessert. Thanks so much!

  • 5 stars
    Hi Sam!

    I made this for Christmas and it turned out perfect! Thank you for the recipe! 🙂
    I was just a little bit confused at the beginning because I couldn’t see at which point the ganache is added, but I figured it must be mixed with the red cocoa-mixture before adding the meringue, right? Maybe you want to clarify that in the directions. 😉

  • This is gluten free correct? Want to make something for family Christmas everyone can enjoy. My mind has gone crazy if I cant even figure out that a flourless cake is gluten free 🤣

  • Thank you for this beautiful recipe. Just checking if there is a typo – do we use Dutch or natural cocoa? In the text above you said you prefer the deeper flavors of Dutch but in the recipe list it says natural cocoa. Just wanted to clarify.

    Thank you

  • This cake looks perfect and will be my Christmas dessert! Can the red velvet cake (without the filling) be made ahead of time? Thank you for posting this knockout.

    • Hi Michelle! I am wondering about that… to keep the inside fudgy you’d want to keep it in an airtight container, but that would take away the crisp of the top. If I had to I might make it and put it in an airtight container in the fridge overnight (the fridge’s tendency to ‘dry out’ things might work in our favor here).

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