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Chocolate Cloud Cake

Chocolate Cloud Cake – match made in heaven

“………… The cake itself is as richly and rewardingly sustaining: a melting, dark, flourless, chocolate base, the sort that sinks damply on cooling; the fallen centre then cloudily filled with softly whipped cream and sprinkled with cocoa powder. As Richard Sax says, “intensity, then relief, in each bite“.
| Nigella Lawson, Nigella Bites

I can’t believe I waited this long to make this awesome iconic recipe.

Chocolate cloud cake has been on my Bake Bucket List ever since I learnt of its existence a couple of years ago, watching Nigella Lawson walk us through her replication of this awesomely simple recipe. Credit to the late Richard Sax who created the Chocolate Cloud Cake (this recipe is 18 years old!) – gosh, I wish had his book Classic Home Desserts. Have I said how awesome this cake is?


A bit on the cake’s morphology: the “cloud” in its title comes from the whipped cream, which is a nice light foil to the dense chocolate. Nice, but essential only if you have tremendous self restraint and can wait for the cake to cool before digging in……or in my case, because I wanted the cake to have some more drama with the red strawberries staged against the cream.

Happily enough for those of us who are not inclined to change perfection, I stumbled on the original recipe posted in the gobsmacking Leite’s Culinaria.

You just need four, yes, four ingredients. Good dark chocolate, sugar, unsalted butter and eggs.

Unless you are allergic to chocolate (which is deeply tragic), or weight watching (also deeply tragic), then proceed no further, for the next thirty minutes at this recipe will provide for an extremely satisfying gratification of baked chocolate.

On, on for flourless fabulosity.

You will need:

250 g dark chocolate (Nigella’s adapted recipe calls for chocolate with minimum 70% cocoa solids; I used baking chocolate with 62% cocoa content, but despite the slight deficiency, I still thought the outcome was aweso….fantastic)

125 g unsalted butter, softened

6 medium eggs (4 of which are separated)

175 g caster sugar (100 g will go into the whipped egg whites, 75 g will go into the egg yolk mixture)

1 teaspoon of vanilla paste (which I preferred over the orange zest)

For the topping:
500 ml double cream (again, I cheated and used Qwip. It is a huge can, leftover from my Raspberry Cream Vanilla Bean Cake. Guilty as charged)

Strawberries (raspberries or blueberries would work just fine too; tart berries balance the chocolate coma methinks)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (which I omitted)

½ teaspoon(s) cocoa powder (unsweetened) for sprinkling (also omitted, due to sheer laziness)

Make it:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the bottom of a 9″ springform cake pan with baking parchment. Line only the bottom; and do not grease the tin.

2. I nuked the chocolate for 1 minute on medium high (stirring twice, and repeating – this however depends on your microwave; quick tip: start low, go slow), and then let the butter melt in the warm chocolate. Set aside to cool.

Black velvet

3. Separate 4 eggs. Beat the 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks with 75g of the caster sugar, then gently add the chocolate mixture and the vanilla.

4. In another bowl, whisk the 4 egg whites until foamy, then gradually add the 100g of sugar and whisk until the whites have peaks that flop a bit.

Soft peaks via elbow grease

5. Lighten the chocolate mixture with a dollop of egg whites first. Once it has been well incorporated, fold in the rest of the whites. Remember to keep your wrists light when folding in the egg whites.

Looking like the eye of the storm

6. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes. You’ll be chuffed to see the cake rise rather evenly at first. But be forwarned the middle will sink as it cools. (That is the beauty of this cake. You want a tremendous crater.) Leave it in the cake pan to cool.

Cavernous crater, chewy centre

7. And as Nigella put it: “When you are ready to eat, place the still tin-bound cake on a cake stand or plate for serving and carefully remove the cake from its tin. Don’t worry about cracks or rough edges: it’s the crater look we’re going for here. Whip the cream until it’s soft and then add the vanilla and continue whisking until the cream is firm but not stiff. Fill the crater of the cake with the whipped cream, easing it out gently towards the edges of the cake, and dust the top lightly with cocoa powder pushed through a tea-strainer.”

How can you not gasp at its rustic allure?

Chocolate coma

9 comments on “Chocolate Cloud Cake

    November 17, 2012

    Sigh.. so decadently gorgeous! Suddenly I want to speak with a British accent. Gasp! Okay question, how long does the whipped cream stay in form?

    • Nat Yusop | BakeSlave
      November 17, 2012

      Hahahaha – I do that too, channelling Nigella :p

      Whipped cream is a pain in our weather! Melts pretty quickly; it is not a cake for a sunny day that’s for sure. I’d say the peaks stay up for 5-7 minutes then it’s a melting glacier.

    • Susan
      January 28, 2018

      If you expect to have leftovers, don’t put he cream in the middle. Serve it on the side.

  2. createengwp
    November 21, 2012

    It is definitely a tragedy if one cannot eat chocolate. This one would be his or her loss.

  3. thehungrymum
    November 22, 2012


  4. Pingback: Eggless Chocolate Cake « PsyKdeliaSmith's Kitchen

  5. Adrienne
    January 31, 2013

    OMG! Thank goodness my husband’s asleep, if not I am sure he’s going to ask for that tomorrow…

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This entry was posted on November 16, 2012 by in Bake, Cakes and tagged , , , , , , .
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