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The Best Flourless Chocolate Cake

The oldest and most popular dessert at San Francisco's legendary Zuni Café, this gluten-free chocolate cake boasts a fine, tender crumb and bold chocolate flavor.


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chocolate cake with white cream on top

Photo by Matt Taylor-Gross

This moist, finely textured gluten-free chocolate cake, inspired by a Julia Child recipe, has been served daily at San Francisco’s Zuni Café since it was introduced, in 1982. Dubbed the gâteau victoire, it’s the celebrated restaurant’s most beloved dessert.

What You Will Need

Yield: makes one 9-inch cake
Time: 2 hours, 55 minutes


  • Unsalted butter, for greasing
  • 5 whole eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
  • 6 Tbsp. sugar
  • 10 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped, plus shaved for serving (optional)
  • 6 Tbsp. strong brewed coffee
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, plus whipped to soft peaks for serving (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch cake pan, line bottom and sides of pan with parchment paper, and butter parchment; set pan aside.
  2. In a large heatproof bowl, combine whole eggs, egg yolks, and sugar. Set bowl over a pot of very gently simmering water, and stir until mixture is room temperature. Remove bowl from heat and beat mixture with an electric mixer on medium speed until quadrupled in volume, 15–20 minutes. In a medium heatproof bowl set over the pot of simmering water, combine chocolate and coffee, stirring often, until melted. Remove bowl from heat. In a medium bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form.
  3. Fold one-quarter of the egg mixture into the melted chocolate, then fold chocolate mixture and whipped cream into remaining egg mixture. Pour batter into prepared pan and set pan in a roasting pan. Pour hot water into roasting pan to a depth of 1 inch and transfer to oven. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 1 hour. Turn off oven, leave oven door ajar, and let cake rest for 30 minutes. Remove cake from oven in its water bath and let rest for 30 minutes more. Remove cake from oven water bath, invert onto a plate, and peel off parchment. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream and shaved chocolate (if desired).

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This post originally appeared on Saveur and was published April 8, 2019. This article is republished here with permission.

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