La Bete Noire or Flourless Chocolate Cake


Dark chocolate is a downfall of mine.  I love it!  I had rather have a good salad than a bowl of ice cream, but when it comes to dark chocolate I cannot turn it down.   This recipe for this sinful Chocolate Cake appeared in Bon Appetit in September 2006.  The picture on the front cover  looks as if you could take a bite right from the fork.  I let the magazine sit for about a year before I decided to tackle it.  Why did I wait so long,  I am asking myself now.  The recipe is simple.  The ingredients are sugar, water, chocolate, butter , eggs and heavy cream.  That’ s it!   But it does call for twenty-six ounces of semisweet chocolate!  It is a dessert made in heaven.  It is not for the weak.  Using a 10-in. springform pan it yields sixteen servings.  It is not a very large serving, but I am here to tell you after making this four times that most people cannot eat much more.  It packs a punch!  If you are a chocolate lover like me when you put a bite of this decadent La Bete Noire  into your mouth and  hits your tastebuds you will think that you have died and gone to heaven.  Dark Chocolate heaven, that is. 

Here is how to make it for yourself! 

La Bete Noire –  from Bon Appetit – Jason Aronen, Executive Chef, Wilde Roast Cafe, Mineappolis 

16 servings 


  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 9 Tablespoons ( 1 stick + 1 Tablespoon) unsalted butter, diced
  • 18 ounces bittersweet chocolate (not sweetened) or semisweeet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 large eggs


  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 ounces bittersweet (not sweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped

For Cake:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter 10-in-diameter springform pan.  Line bottom of pan with parchment round: butter the parchment paper.  Wrap 3 layers of heavy-duty foil around outside of pan, bringing foil to top of rim.  Combine 1 cup of water and sugar in small saucepan.  Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Remove from heat. 

Melt butter large saucepan over low heat.  Add chocolate and whisk until smooth.  Whisk sugar syrup into chocolate: cool slightly.  Add eggs to chocolate mixture and whisk until well blended.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Place cake pan in large roasting pan.  Add enough hot water to roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cake pan. 

Bake cake until center no longer moves when pan is gently shaken, about 50 minutes.  Remove from water bath; transfer to rack.  Cool completely in pan. 

For Ganache:  Bring whipping cream to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat.  Remove from heat.  Add chocolate and whisk until smooth.  Pour over top of cake still in pan.  Gently shake pan to distribute ganache evenly over top of cake.  Refrigerate cake in pan until ganache is set , about 2 hours. 

Can be made 2 days ahead.  Cover and keep refrigerated. 

Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake. Release sides.  Cut cake into wedges and serve with whipped cream.  

Here are the photos to make this decadent dessert even easier for you to make at home. 

Place water and sugar in saucepan . Boil over medium heat and then let it simmer for 5 min. Remove from heat.


Dice Butter

Chop 18 ounces of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate ( I used Baker's)

Melt butter and stir in chocolate

Whisk sugar syrup into chocolate; cool slightly

Stir in 6 large eggs making sure the chocolate is cool enough . Don't scramble your eggs!

Pour in springform pan. Place in a roasting pan. Add hot water to roasting pan to come halfway up side of cake pan.

Bake for 50 minutes or until center no longer moves when pan is gently shaken.  Remove from the water bath.  Use the foil as handles to grip the pan. 

Take out of the water bath and cool.

After the cake is cool prepare the Ganache . 

1 cup of heavy cream and more chocolate ( 8 ounces)

Bring cream to a simmer over medium heat add chocolate and whisk

Bring cream to simmer over medium heat and add chocolate and whisk together.

Pour over the top and refrigerate.

Pour over top of cake while still in pan and refrigerate.

Words cannot tell you how good this is.  You will have to try for yourself.  It is easy yet so elegant to serve.  Go for it if you want a dessert that will be a big hit! 


Happy cooking, 

The Teacher Cooks



Filed under Cake, Chocolate

21 responses to “La Bete Noire or Flourless Chocolate Cake

  1. This looks absolutely divine. I too am addicted to dark chocolate. I will be trying this VERY soon.

  2. AMAZING! I have a flourless chocolate cake recipe that I like to use as the crust for a chocolate cheesecake, but the ganache looks absolutely divine. Can’t wait to try it!

  3. I have made a flourless chocolate cake before and I have to say its one of my favorites! I didn’t have ganache on mine but next time I will.

  4. This cake looks amazing! I am enjoying reading your recipes.

  5. That looks absolutely amazing, wow…the chocolateness is beautiful!!!

  6. This looks amazing! This could possibly become my favorite dessert – for the dark chocolate lover I don’t think there is anything better than truffles or flourless chocolate cake – it is futile to try and resist. (: I will let you know when I try it. Lovely photos.

  7. oh, for crying out loud. those simple and straightforward ingredients shouldn’t be allowed to yield such a magnificent creation. pure decadence. 🙂

  8. This look dangerously delicious . . . I make a similar cake–chocolate nemesis–and it always get raves. I scaled down my recipe to only use 12 ounces of chocolate (8″ pan), and it still serves a lot of people, It is an intense chocolate experience, so a little goes a long way.

  9. Kim P

    Thanks for this recipe. I moved from Minneapolis to Seattle this summer. I lived near Wilde Roast Cafe and love their Bête Noire. I missed it so much I wanted to make it for my birthday cake. I was very excited when I saw your recipe was theirs. Thanks for making my day.

  10. Katie S.

    Have you made this in your class yet ?
    It looks great. ( :

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  12. Gifty

    i was quite pleased when i saw the recipe called for a ganache , that one of my absolute favorite things about chocolate! Im not the baking type but this recipe looks quite simple so i cant mess this up!

  13. alyssa baldwin

    This cake looks soooooo good, I think im going to have to go home and make this one.

  14. lauren bowman

    i learned with can be made 2 days ahead.

  15. Kris

    HI Teach!
    I am absolutely IN LOVE with this decadent masterpiece but have a small, and probably silly, issue I am hoping you can help with.
    How the heck do I remove the bottom of the pan and the parchment once the cake is done? I don’t want to turn it over and ruin the glass-like ganache top. I ended up just leaving the bottom of the springform pan on the cake and it didn’t interfer with serving it but for a nicer presentation, I would like to remove it.
    I am perplexed! HELP! 🙂

  16. cathy s.

    I can’t imagine using Baker’s unsweetened baking chocolate, as shown in the illustration, for this recipe. Admitedly, I have not tried it, but I am a very experienced baker, and don’t think the sugar syrup is sweet enough to compensate for the unsweetened bitter chocolate for most people’s taste. The recipe calls for BITTERSWEET which is NOT the same as unsweetened, or SEMI-SWEET which is the same sweetness as Nestle’s chocolate chips. Personally, I use a combination of half bittersweet and half semisweet in the cake, and all bittersweet in the ganache for a little contrast. Also, add about 1 TB of coffee, and a small dash of salt, when whisking in the syrup into the chocolate and butter. As for Perplexed, regarding presentation and service, I usually slip a long narrow spatula under the parchment to slide it off the bottom of the spring-form pan, and the parchment stays attached to the cake. I don’t see any other way to manage it. The parchment then stays on the service plate when you cut out the slices. Serve with whipped cream and fresh raspberries. YUM!!

  17. I plan to make this for New Year’s Eve. I made it a long time ago but this time I’m thinking of using a melon baller or small ice cream scoop after it’s done to make it into balls. Then I would use a toothpick and dip it into the ganache, I have a few question I could use some advice on.
    1. Would the cake hold it shape if I do this?
    2. Can I use the extra that is left after I make all the balls? Would they be able to be formed into balls? I can’t recall the exact texture.
    3. Would the ganache stay on or would it just pool up at the bottom of the ball?
    Any advice or suggestions is appreciated. Thanks

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