For The Best Flour-Less Chocolate Cake, Moisture Is Key

The classic flourless chocolate cake is a perennially popular gluten-free dessert that should take on a dense, fudgy texture after being baked. However, the rich dessert can easily become too dry once it's finished baking. That famous lack of gluten is often cited as the reason, as is simply baking the cake for too long. Fortunately, there is an easy way to add some extra moisture to the dessert to prevent that baked-in dryness. If you want your homemade flourless chocolate cake to be moist and fudgy, you'll want to make things a little steamy inside the oven. 

All you'll need is a deep baking dish or roasting pan and a little bit of water in the oven along with the cake. This will generate steam during the baking process, which will be trapped inside the oven while the cake bakes, allowing extra moisture to be absorbed into the dessert.

How to steam the cake

To start the steaming process, you'll want to make sure your oven has been preheated to the temperature recommended in the recipe, and that your cake batter is mixed and ready to be baked. Then, pour approximately 1 or 2 inches of boiling water into your metal (not glass) roasting pan or baking dish. Open the oven door, and place the pan of boiling water on the bottom rack. Place your cake pan on the rack above the water, and quickly close the oven door.

The heat inside the oven is generally pretty dry, so a little bit of added moisture can go a long way to enhance your baked goods. It is important to keep that steam trapped inside the oven while the cake bakes, so although it may be tempting to crack open the oven door to check on your cake before the timer goes off, you shouldn't risk letting out any heat or steam until the cake is completely done.

You should, however, be careful not to overbake the cake. You'll want to leave it in the oven just until the edges are set. Even with the added moisture from the steam, overbaking the cake could cause it to dry out.

You can also create a water bath to generate steam

There is one other method of adding extra moisture to your flourless chocolate cake that involves a somewhat similar approach. You could create a water bath to bake the cake in — similar to how a cheesecake is typically prepared. However, instead of placing a pan of water on the oven rack below the cake, the cake pan is placed inside the water.

Make sure you're using a fully enclosed pan so that the water won't be able to creep into the cake batter. Then, once the batter is in the pan, place that pan inside the roasting pan. Boil some water, and pour the water into the roasting pan. That water should steam up as the cake bakes, and the steam will be in even closer proximity to the dessert than it is when the two are on separate racks.

Whether you choose to steam your cake using a water bath or a separate roasting tray underneath, the process can provide some much-needed moisture to ensure your chocolate dessert turns out perfectly fudgy. The cake can then be finished off with a topping of powdered sugar, whipped cream, ganache, or fresh fruit.