Torta Tenerina (Flourless Chocolate Cake)

Torta tenerina, also known as a flourless chocolate cake or a fallen chocolate cake, is dark and rich but with a cloud-like texture. She has a crispy crackly top and an airy chocolate center.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • This torta tenerina is rich and dark but has the most cloud-like texture. 
  • Can be topped with cocoa powder or powdered sugar or served with whipped cream or ice cream.
  • Show-stopper for sure – definitely captures attention with its rustic look. 

This beauty has been on my bucket list for YEARS. I can’t believe I waited this long to make it because it is just a thing of beauty. 

If you’re a chocolate fanatic like me, you must try my chocolate ganache cake, my espresso brownies and my dark chocolate ice cream!  

What is torta tenerina?

Torta tenerina means “tender cake” in Italian. It’s an Italian chocolate cake made without flour and gets its structure from whipped eggs. I’ve made A LOT of sponge cakes lately with a similar process and I posted a few so make sure to check out my  baking basics page

This flourless chocolate cake also goes by a few other names, such as fallen chocolate cake (because the center caves back in) or chocolate cloud cake because it really is like a cloud of chocolate. 

The flavor is dark, rich and intensely chocolate but the texture is super light, airy and cloud-like which makes it so interesting when you’re eating it. You’re expecting something rich like brownies but when you take a bite, it’s light as a meringue. You just have to try it!! 

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Cocoa Powder: I use dutch-process cocoa powder because I like the flavor and the color better but natural unsweetened cocoa powder also works fine.
    • I recommend using a digital scale, as dry ingredients are so often over measured. 
  • Sugar: I use granulated sugar. I have not tested it with any other type of sugar. I also don’t recommend reducing the sugar in the cake as it’s not super sweet anyway.
  • Eggs: Make sure to use room temperature, large eggs, about 55-60g each (without the shell).
    • Place them in hot water for a few minutes if they’re cold.
  • Vanilla: I usually just use a simple vanilla extract.
  • Butter: I like salted butter for cakes but unsalted butter also works well, as does dairy free butter. 
  • Chocolate: I tested this with Ghirardelli chopped chocolate bar and chocolate chips. Both worked well but I recommend something higher quality as this gives a lot of the flavor. I prefer a semi-sweet or dark chocolate for this. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Start by melting the chocolate with the butter until they’re smooth. 

Step 2: Whisk in the cocoa powder and salt to the melted butter and chocolate mixture and let the mixture cool for a few minutes.

Step 3: Meanwhile separate the egg yolks from the whites. Beat the egg whites with the sugar just until it’s thick and fluffy and it holds stiff peaks. Don’t over-whip.

Step 4: Add the egg yolks and vanilla to the chocolate mixture, 2 at a time, whisking aggressively until they’re well combined and the mixture is smooth.

Step 5: Fold ⅓ of the meringue into the chocolate mixture until it’s well combined. Then fold in another ⅓ and followed by the last ⅓. Don’t over-mix but fold until no more meringue is showing.

Step 6: Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45-ish minutes. The top will be puffed and hard. 

Step 7: *optional: Dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder and slice (it’ll crack on top when you slice it). Serve with ice cream or chantilly cream.

What pan to bake this cake in

The cake can be baked in:

  • Half batch – 6 inch springform pan – bake for 35 minutes.
  • Half batch – 7 inch springform pan – bake for 30 minutes.
  • Full batch – 8 inch springform pan – bake for 50 minutes.
  • Full batch – 9 inch springform pan – bake for 45 minutes.

How to know when torta tenerina is done baking

To be honest, you really don’t so follow the time recommendations. If you find that you always need to more or less time to your bakes than the recommended time, then do that here as well but there aren’t really any cues to follow because the top get’s firm and puffs up so you can’t really do a poke test unless you crack the top early. You can stick a toothpick or a knife in if you want, if there’s no wet batter then it should be good to go. 

How to serve torta tenerina

I served it with ice cream just to change it up a bit but you can certainly serve it alone as is or topped with cocoa powder or powdered sugar. 

Fresh fruit also goes well with this cake and a side of chantilly cream would take it to the next level. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this dairy free?

Dairy free butter and chocolate would work well for this so yes. 

Can I make this gluten-free?

This cake is already gluten-free as there is no flour. 

How to make ahead

To make the cake ahead of time just follow the recipe and bake it, let it cool and store it in the fridge until the day of serving. You can serve it cold or bring it back to room temperature. You can also warm it up a little in the microwave if you want to serve it slightly warm with ice cream. 

How to store finished cake

The cake can be stored covered at room temperature for 1-2 days or refrigerated for up to a week. 

To freeze, wrap the cake in plastic wrap and then again in foil. Freeze for a few weeks and thaw in the fridge overnight or at room temperature a few hours before serving. 

To freeze slices, wrap them individually in plastic wrap. Then place them in a freezer bag, squeezing out all the excess air or place them in an airtight container, followed by the freezer bag. 

Thanks so much for reading today’s post, if you have any questions just comment down below.

If you make this torta tenerina, I’d love it if you left a star rating for me and a comment letting me know what cake you used it in. If it’s less than five stars, please let me know why! 🙂

As always, have a blessed day and happy baking!

Love, B

torta tenerina slice on a plate with ice cream

Torta Tenerina (Flourless Chocolate Cake)

Torta tenerina, also known as a flourless chocolate cake or a fallen chocolate cake, is dark and rich but with a cloud-like texture. She has a crispy crackly top and an airy chocolate center.
4.50 from 10 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Course Cakes
Cuisine Italian
Servings 10 servings
Calories 341 kcal



  • 8 oz dark chocolate roughly chopped (or chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 cup (113g) salted butter
  • 2 Tbsp (10g) unsweetened cocoa powder spooned and leveled (I use dutch process)
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar


  • Preheat the oven 350F/177C convection (325F/162C conventional) and grease and line a 9 inch spring form pan with baking spray and parchment paper. 
  • Place the chopped chocolate and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat (or a bowl and melt in the microwave on 30-60 second intervals). Stir frequently just until they’re completely melted and smooth.
    8 oz dark chocolate, 1/2 cup (113g) salted butter
  • Stir in the cocoa powder and salt, until they’re completely smooth. 
    2 Tbsp (10g) unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • Set aside to cool as you separate the eggs and whip the egg whites.
    6 large eggs
  • In a large bowl or the bowl of stand mixer, use the whisk attachment at full speed to whip the egg whites with the sugar for about 5 minutes, just until the meringue is glossy and begins to hold stiff peaks. Do not over-whip. 
    1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • Add the vanilla and 2 egg yolks at a time to the chocolate mixture, whisking well between each addition. Whisk aggressively for 2-3 minutes, after all the egg yolks are added, until it’s smooth and thick.
  • Gently add the egg whites into the chocolate batter in three increments, trying not to deflate. 
  • Gently pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes. The top will be puffed and crispy.
  • optional: Dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder and slice (it'll crack on top when you slice it). Serve with ice cream.


You can also make this in an 8 inch springform pan and bake for 50ish minutes or half the recipe and bake in a 6 inch springform pan for 35 minutes. 


Calories: 341kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 6gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 137mgSodium: 237mgPotassium: 223mgFiber: 3gSugar: 26gVitamin A: 454IUCalcium: 38mgIron: 3mg
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Recipe Rating

  1. 3 stars
    I had found this recipe awhile ago and printed it to bake another day. That day was today and I followed the recipe exactly as written but when adding the egg yolks to the chocolate, it seized completely and some of the melted butter separated from it. I went back to your website recipe to look for tips or what night have gone wrong only to find that your step-by-step recipe here says to add the egg yolks 2 at a time which is missing from the printed version. And it did not mention “whisk aggressively for 2-3 minutes” as the printed version says. As well, there are other discrepancies as to when to add the vanilla and it’s missing the salt all together in your online step-by-step version. I ended up draining off the separated melted butter and combining both the chocolate and the meringue in my stand mixture and whipped them together anyway. Thankfully, the grainy chocolate mixture eventually smoothed out but I lost some of the volume of the meringue. It’s in the oven now and I’m hoping for the best! I have written notes the missing instruction on my printed copy of the recipe and look forward to trying this again another day! 😊

    • Hi Anna, I’m so sorry about that!! I must’ve not uploaded my latest version of the recipe to the printable recipe card, so my apologies! It is updated now and I hope your cake still turned out 🙂