If you’re looking for an easy cake recipe that is a stunner, but that you can also whip up very quickly, look no farther than this chocolate cloud cake. This is an easy dessert that you can make for just about any occasion!
Okay, let’s be real here. When it comes to recipes, I don’t think you can get more luxurious than copious amounts of whipped cream. Everyone loves whipped cream. (Well, everyone I know, anyway.) It has a way of taking a dessert to next level status in a real easy way. The awesome thing about this chocolate cloud cake is that it puffs up in the oven then sinks. It gives you the perfect crater to completely smother the thing in whipped cream.
Ten years in the making…
I first saw this cake almost ten years ago when I was discovering the world of cooking YouTube channels. YouTube definitely wasn’t the beast that it is now with the variety of cooking content, but there was stuff on there I loved to watch. I lived in Germany at the time but wasn’t working (let’s consider this my lazy period of life haha). Long story short, I had plenty of time to browse YouTube for cooking content. I loved to watch Ina Garten, but most of all, I loved Nigella Lawson.
I’m pretty sure at one point Nigella had a show on Food Network. The episodes that had been uploaded to YouTube were copies of a few of her shows, and I feel in love. I always found her shows to be a nice change from the really structured cooking shows that were the norm. For example, one night she came home from an event and whipped herself up some good old bread pudding. This took a matter of minutes, I swear. Then she got in bed with her bread pudding and called it a night. I remember thinking PFFF! If someone as classy as Nigella can come home, make herself something this basic and comforting, then eat it in bed of all places, then I have zero regrets about chowing down ice cream while I watch a movie. She is a queen, I tell you.
Her shows were refreshing because it just her cooking and loving food. Instead of other cooking shows that based their episodes on these fake life scenarios that are very unlikely to happen (we don’t all live in the Hamptons, Ina) it was just her in the kitchen.
Why cloud cake?
When she made this chocolate cloud cake, I immediately knew I had to try it one day. It starts out super simple with dark chocolate and a fair amount of butter. Then you whisk together eggs, sugar, and some orange zest (or any other flavoring of your choosing). You mix this into the chocolate mixture. Then you whip egg whites with sugar to make a meringue, and fold this into the chocolate batter. After it pops out of the oven, what’s left is a craggily, chocolately cake that’s just begging for some pillowy cream.
I’m not sure where the cloud cake name came from. But I can tell you this right now, this cake feels like clouds on a plate. It is so fluffy and light but full of flavor. It isn’t super sweet either. It’s also gluten-free and contains zero “weird” ingredients you’re not likely to have at hand. Have a friend with a gluten intolerance or allergy? Make them this. I’m pretty sure they’ll love you forever.
Just a few tips with this cake. Make sure your eggs (and any other ingredients) are at room temperature before you begin. This ensures that your whites whip up well and that they’ll be a good base for the cake. This is just a general rule of thumb to follow in any baking recipe, and it’s a good habit to get into.
I highly suggest using a good quality chocolate for this recipe as well. I used Ghirardelli 70% Cacao Baking Bar. It’s easier to find in grocery stores, yet is a higher quality bar than your typical baking bar.
Also, just to note, I have modified this chocolate cloud cake recipe from Nigella’s for one reason mostly, and that’s because she uses alcohol in the recipe. I don’t drink alcohol so it’s not something I have on hand easily for baking. I tend to stick to using extracts. If you want to follow Nigella’s original recipe, you can find it here.
I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!
Chocolate Cloud Cake
This gluten-free cake is so easy to make and so delicious, you'll be on cloud nine!
- 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 6 eggs (2 whole, 4 separated)
- 5 1/2 tablespoons plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar (separated)
- 1/2 teaspoon rum extract
- zest from one orange
For the whipped cream:
- 1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon rum extract
- cocoa powder (optional, for garnish)
Start by preheating your oven to 350 F. Line the bottom of a 9" springform baking pan with parchment paper (do not grease pan or parchment) and set aside.
Melt the chocolate using a double boiler or microwave. If using a microwave, melt in 30 second increments, stirring after each increment, until chocolate is barely melted. (Even a few small chunks are okay). Stir well to remove any chocolate chunks and to make sure it's smooth. Be careful not to overheat. Add butter into chocolate and stir to combine and let the butter melt. Set aside.
Beat two whole eggs and four whole egg yolks in a medium-sized bowl with 5 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar, rum extract, and orange zest until well mixed. Gently mix in chocolate mixture.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or using a hand mixer) whip the four egg whites until foamy. Slowly add in one tablespoon of sugar and continue to whip. Gradually add the remaining two tablespoons sugar and whip until eggs are soft peak stage.
Add a scoop of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture and fold in to lighten the batter, then fold in the remaining egg whites until combined. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes until the cake is risen, cracked, and the center is no longer wobbly. Allow the cake to cool in a wire rack. You'll notice it will sink as it cools.
Just before serving, remove the cake from the springform pan and place it on a platter. Whip the cream (using a stand mixer or hand mixer). Once the cream begins to stiffen in the bowl, add the sugar and rum extract and whip until soft peaks. Pile into the middle of the cake and dust with cocoa powder (optional, for garnish). Cut into slices and serve. Enjoy!