Chocolate crater cake


  • Prep Time25 mins
  • Total Time25 mins
  • Makes10 servings
*PLUS Cooking time: 5 minutes, Refrigeration Time: 120 minutes, Baking Time: 50 minutes


  • 8 squares bittersweet chocolate

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter

  • 4 egg whites, at room temperature

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 4 egg yolks

  • 1 tsp finely grated zest, about 1/2 orange or 1 lemon (optional)

  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1 1/2 cups 35% cream

  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier orange liqueur, or other orange liqueur (optional)

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 1 cup shaved chocolate, or cocoa powder (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 325 F (160 C). Line bottom of an 8-1/2-inch (22-cm) springform pan with waxed paper. Butter pan and paper. Then, sprinkle lightly with flour. Shake until evenly coated with flour, then shake out excess.

  • To make cake, cut chocolate into coarse pieces. Place chocolate and butter in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan set over very low heat. Melt, stirring frequently, then remove from heat when small pieces of chocolate are still visible, about 5 minutes. Then, stir until smooth. Or, place chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, without stirring, on medium until chocolate is almost but not completely melted, about 3 minutes. Stir until smooth, then cool at room temperature.

  • In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy. Continue beating and slowly add 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat just until soft peaks form when beaters are lifted, but whites are not stiff, about 3 to 5 minutes.

  • In another large mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks with remaining 1/4 cup sugar just until blended. Slowly whisk in lukewarm chocolate mixture, orange peel, 1-1/2 tsp vanilla and salt. To lighten batter, using a spatula, gently but thoroughly stir 1/4 of whites into chocolate mixture. Then, gently fold in remaining egg whites just until streaks of egg white disappear. Pour batter into pan and smooth top.

  • Bake in centre of oven until cake is puffed and cracked, and centre no longer wobbles when pan is given a gentle shake, about 50 minutes. Do not over-bake. Run sharp edge of a knife around edge of pan to loosen cake. Leave sides on pan and refrigerate, uncovered, until chilled, at least 2 hours. Covered, cake can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

  • Because whipped cream does not hold well, fill centre of cake when almost ready to serve. It should then hold in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, whip cream with Grand Marnier and 1 tsp vanilla until thick soft peaks form when beaters are lifted. With a wet knife, loosen cake again from sides of pan. Remove sides. Pile whipped cream into "crater" of cake and, if you wish, lightly sprinkle with cocoa powder sifted through a small strainer or chocolate shavings. Decorate with fresh berries and mint leaves.

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories 370, Protein 5.1g, Carbohydrates 27.1g, Fat 29.6g.

This flour-less cake from Toronto food stylist and recipe developer Karen Jull is a chocoholic's dream! The cake sinks in the middle as it cools, forming a crater perfect for loading with freshly whipped cream.