This flourless Chocolate Cream Cake with a luscious ricotta filling is the perfect dessert for any holiday celebration. A gluten-free cake with a chocolate ganache frosting… simply irresistible!
What would you say if I told you that this is a gluten-free cake?
Would you also be surprised if I told you that there is no actual cream in the filling?
Three layers of flourless chocolate cake brushed with a rum syrup, with layers of whipped ricotta cheese covered with a thick chocolate ganache.
I can’t wait to share one of my favorite ricotta cheese recipes will all of you today!
It tastes as good as it looks and makes the perfect dessert for any special occasion.
- Eggs. We need to separate them.
- Vanilla extract. No imitation.
- Cocoa powder. Dutch-processed.
- Sugar. To sweeten things up a little.
- Rum. Just a touch.
- Ricotta. The perfect pairing with chocolate.
- Light cream. Just a couple of tablespoons.
- Chocolate chips. Regular or the mini ones.
- Whipping cream. A little bit of decadence for the ganache.
- Chocolate. Semi-sweet or dark.
- Butter. Just a pat.
Using a stand mixer facilitates the whisking of the egg whites. You need a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
Although there are four parts, the recipe comes together rather quickly.
Part 1: The batter
Line a 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan with parchment paper and set it aside.
Separate the 6 eggs. Place the egg whites in the bowl of your stand mixture; place the egg yolks in a separate bowl.
With the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until you reach the soft peak stage.
Meanwhile, combine and set aside the vanilla extract (1 teaspoon) to the egg yolks.
Whisk the cocoa powder (2/3 cups) with the granulated sugar (1/3 cup). Set aside.
Once the egg whites have reached the soft peak stage, slowly add the sugar (1/3 cup) and whisk until stiff and glossy.
Add the cocoa/sugar mixture to the egg yolks and combine. Please note this is a stiff batter.
Add about a cup of egg whites to the batter and mix. Notice the batter getting a little lighter.
Slowly incorporate the rest of the egg whites by folding gently.
Spread the batter in the prepared jelly roll pan and bake in a preheated oven (350ºF/180ºC) for about 20 minutes or until it springs back when the top is gently pressed.
In the meantime, prepare the rum syrup and the ricotta filling.
Part 2: The rum syrup
Whisk the sugar (1/3 cup) and water (1/4 cup) in a small saucepan.
Bring the solution to a boil while stirring to dissolve the sugar, boil for about 1 minute, remove from heat and add the rum (2 tablespoons).
Transfer to a shallow bowl and set aside.
Make sure to cool to room temperature before brushing on the individual layers.
Part 3: The ricotta cream
Place the drained ricotta (400 grams) in a bowl and whisk for a couple of minutes. Add the light cream (2 tablespoons) and the sugar (2 tablespoons) and whisk to incorporate together.
Fold in the choco chips (1/3 cup). Set aside.
Part 4: The ganache topping
This easy ganache recipe might be familiar to you. It is the same one I used for this banana cake recipe.
Super easy and quick to put together – heat the whipping cream (3/4 cup) with the butter (1 tablespoon) and once it’s nice and hot, add it to the chocolate (8 ounces) and whisk. Use a heatproof bowl.
After it melts, and then it’s just a matter of waiting 5 minutes and whisking it briskly to get the right consistency.
If the ganache does not firm up, place it in the fridge for about 5 minutes.
Once the cake has cooled for about 5 minutes, loosen the sides and invert on a clean tea towel that has been sprinkled with icing sugar.
Remove the parchment paper by pulling it back.
Cut into thirds.
Place one of the pieces on your serving platter, crush the rum syrup over the entire surface.
Spread 1/2 of the ricotta cream on this bottom layer.
Place the second piece on the ricotta cream and brush with the rum syrup. Spread the rest of the ricotta filling.
Place the third piece over the ricotta filling and if desired brush with the rum syrup.
Whisk the ganache one more time and spread over the entire surface.
Keep refrigerated and covered until ready to be served. Can be made 24 hours in advance.
- Drain the ricotta. You risk getting a wet mixture that will “leak” if the ricotta has too much moisture.
- Use good quality chocolate. If you want to create an intense flavor you need to use the real thing. Chips will not do.
- Allow the cake to come to room temperature after it is baked. Since both the layers of ricotta and the topping are heat sensitive, do not start assembling until it is at room temperature.
What is the soft peak stage?
When placing the egg beaters upright, the egg whites will curl downwards.
What are stiff peaks?
When lifting the egg beaters the egg whites stand straight upright forming a stiff peak.
What can I use to replace the rum?
A teaspoon of vanilla extract is a great replacement.
How do you store this dessert?
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
Easy chocolate desserts we love
- Italian Ricotta Chocolate Tart
- Dark Chocolate Pudding
- Gluten-Free Brownie Recipe
- Chocolate Surprise Cupcakes
- Marshmallow Fudge
- Chocolate Pizza
- Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies
- Chocolate Bark Recipe
In what seemed like a very long time ago, I had a subscription to a Canadian Magazine called Homemakers.
This recipe’s “cake part” is adapted from the Jan/Feb 1999 issue.
The original recipe had a whipped cream filling which I swapped for a ricotta-based filling. Sometimes, I use this cannoli dip recipe as a spread.
You and your family will love everything about it.
THANKS SO MUCH for following and being part of the She Loves Biscotti community where you will find Simple & Tasty Family-Friendly Recipes with an Italian Twist.
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Ciao for now,
★★★★★ If you have made this flourless chocolate layer cake, I would love to hear about it in the comments below and be sure to rate the recipe!
Chocolate Cream Cake
The Flour-less Cake:
- 6 eggs separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract pure
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder, dutch processed 55 grams, sifted, unsweetened
- ⅔ sugar granulated (separated)
The Rum Syrup:
- ⅓ cup sugar granulated
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons Rum
The Ricotta Cream:
- 400 grams ricotta drained
- 2 tablespoons light cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ⅓ cup chocolate chips dark, mini
The Chocolate Ganache Frosting:
- 8 oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon butter unsalted
- Grated chocolate for garnishing.
- Line a 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180 °C)
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks and vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, combine cocoa and 1/3 sugar. Set aside.
- With an electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
- Gradually add the 1/3 cup of sugar and continue to beat until stiff peak forms. Set aside.
- Add the cocoa-sugar mixture to the egg yolks. Whisk together until smooth.
- Add a couple of tablespoons of the egg whites to this mixture and stir together (this will lighten the batter).
- Add the remainder of the egg whites and fold together.
- Spread batter evenly in jelly roll pan.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly pressed.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes.
- Invert on a tea towel that has been sprinkled with icing sugar.
- Peel off the parchment paper.
- When completely cool, cut into thirds.
The Rum Syrup:
- Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan.
- Over medium heat, bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar (boil for about 1 minute).
- Remove from heat and add the rum.
- Cool to room temperature.
The Ricotta Cream:
- Combine all the ingredients for the filling.
- Set aside.
The Chocolate Ganache Frosting:
- Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set aside.
- In a small saucepan,over medium heat, heat butter and cream together.
- Bring to just under a boil. Remove from heat.
- Immediately combine with the chocolate and let stand for about 5 minutes. In the meanwhile, start assembling the cake.
- Place 1 section of cake on your serving plate.
- Brush the rum syrup over top.
- Spread 1/2 of the ricotta filling.
- Place another section of cake on the ricotta layer.
- Brush more rum syrup over the top.
- Spread the rest of the ricotta filling.
- Place last layer of cake on the ricotta filling.
- Brush the top layer off with syrup.
- Whisk together the ganache filling until smooth.
- Spread over cake.
- Decorate with shavings (optional).
- Store leftover cake in the refrigerator,
- Drain the ricotta. You risk getting a wet mixture which will "leak" once you put your cake together if the ricotta has too much moisture.
- Use good quality chocolate. If you want to create an intense chocolate flavor you need to use the real thing. Chocolate chips will not do.
- Allow the cake to come to room temperature after it is baked. Since both the layers of ricotta and the chocolate topping are heat sensitive, do not start assembling the cake until it is at room temperature.
This post was originally published on February 14, 2016, and republished on April 14, 2019, with updated content, photos, and a video. Thanks for watching and sharing!
hey Maria, i made this chocolate ricotta cake this past weekend for my friends birthday.
Not only did it look spectacular but the taste was divine. it was smoothe ,and rich,and oh so chocolatey I use dmy own homemade ricotta, 70% semisweet chocolate, and Hersheys Dark cocoa .For this same evening I made peperonta stew , and chicken spedini, recipes also from your site ,
All were fantastic . I added my own carrot top pesto pasta. All in all it was a dinner to remember.
thank you for such great italian recipes.
There is a pepper wine biscuit I remember from years ago. My grandmother made them but I cant find a recipe, are you familiar with them and do you have a recipe?
love your site and your recipes , and appreciate thanks
Thanks so much for taking the time to share Diane! I truly appreciate it!
I have a white wine anise taralli that you could probably switch the anise for pepper. You would have to play around with the total amount of pepper. Here is the link:https://www.shelovesbiscotti.com/crunchy-addictive-italian-anise-taralli/
Karen (Back Road Journal)
I’ve pinned your delicious looking and sounding chocolate cake and can’t wait to make it.
Thanks so much Karen! This Chocolate Cream Cake is truly a great dessert. Thanks so much for stopping by.
What a wonderful recipe for any occasion. Your tips are the essential element for success, thank you for including them.
My pleasure Paula. Such an easy and spectacular dessert, sure to please all who taste it. Thanks for stopping by!
My oh my ! Keeper definitely !
Thanks so much, enjoy!
Maria, I really love the flavour combination in this cake. And it presents so well. Stunning!
Thank you Marcellina. It has quickly become a family favourite throughout the year.
Ur pal val
Rum, chocolate and ricotta… great combination!
This is really a fantastic cake… full of flavors. Hope you get a chance to try it. Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Really cool, and really different. I mean, the cake alone looks really amazing, and I can’t believe it’s flourless, but the fact that you used ricotta to fill it is… well, I was going to say the icing on the cake, but that’s not quite right now is it? In any case, it’s spectacular!
Thanks Sean! Ricotta and chocolate complement each other so well. But then again, I’m biased 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to comment. Appreciate it!
I love chocolate cakes that have been brushed with boozy rum syrups. So good!
The cake layers have an impressive texture even though they are flourless. Really nice. It’s hard to achieve a decent structure like that without flour (which is why gluten-free baking can be so tough). Great job!
Thanks Janice…it’s all about the eggs! Appreciate the comment 🙂
Alanna @ One Tough Cookie
This look soooooooo yummy! Love the addition of ricotta to this recipe. I’ll definitely be bookmarking for the next time my sweet tooth hits!
Thanks Alanna! In my books, ricotta just makes everything better. Thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂
Now this is a celebration-worthy dessert! Ricotta cheese annnd chocolate? Sign me up!
Welcome to the club Amanda! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment 🙂