Gluten-Free Mocha Brownie Cake

Sir remarked that my last post was a little self-indulgent and boring. He said all this nicely, of course, although … is it really possible to say such things nicely?  (sniff!)  Anyway, I thought it was time to get back in the kitchen. On to sweeter pastures.  Indulge the whims of the masses.  

Let them eat (chocolate brownie mocha) cake!

Do you have an entire day free with absolutely nothing to do but get elbow-deep in chocolate? Yes? Great!  Let’s get started.

I got the recipe base (website no longer exists) just from doing a web search based on the idea, but I changed the flour mix and the method a bit.  I was actually worried that there wasn’t enough flour to make it work in the original recipe, and since I was making the cake for my mother-in-law’s birthday I really couldn’t take any risks.

So, first things first.  Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and make 3 circles in wax paper by drawing around the 9″ cake pans in pencil and then cutting the circles out.  Grease the pans and place the wax circles at the bottom of the pan, then pour a bit of flour in and tap the pan to spread the flour around evenly, removing any excess.  

Next, cut 4 1/2 oz (130 grams) semisweet chocolate, 2 1/2 oz (70 grams) unsweetened chocolate, and 3 oz (3/4 of a stick) or (85 grams) butter and put them in a double boiler.  For the baking newbies, that just means let them melt in a small saucepan that sits in a larger saucepan with a bit of water over the burner.  That way the chocolate is not directly over the fire and won’t burn.  

Now prepare the dry ingredients.  Here I used 1 cup of almond powder and 1/2 cup of corn starch. (Note: the cake was delicious, but next time I might try it with 1/4 cup corn starch to see if I can get it to be even moister).  And I added 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon baking powder.

Then the wet ingredients:  5 eggs, a cup of sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla.  

Beat those for about 5 minutes til it has doubled in volume.  

The chocolate/butter mix should be melted by now so you can go ahead and pour it in and mix it all together very briefly.

And when you pour your flour mix in, you’ll want to take a spatula and turn the whole thing over and over again so that the flour is mixed in thoroughly from the bottom up.  

And the touche finale: 3 tablespoons of sour cream.

Divide the batter between the three pans and bake them each for 12 minutes.  Let each pan cool for about 10 minutes before you run a spatula around the edges and turn the cakes upside down on to a rack.  They should come off easily with the flour and the wax paper bottoms.  (This may sound stupid, but don’t forget to remove the wax paper bottoms from the cake – this is not the time for added fiber).

When all three have cooled for another 10 minutes or so, layer them one on top of the other with wax paper in between and put them in the refrigerator for about an hour. Like so.  

You now have time to make the chocolate ganache, but wait until about 20 minutes before you take your cakes out of the refrigerator.  Place a 1 1/4 cup of heavy cream, 3 tablespoons of sugar and 3 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan and heat it to a boil.  

Meanwhile, cut up some more chocolate.  12 oz (340 grams) of semisweet chocolate that you’ll put in bowl.  And then make some espresso.  

See that jar of espresso powder?  That’s something you’d want to get at a grocery store on your next trip to France if you love strong coffee.  You can hardly tell the difference between a café-made espresso and one of these little instant numbers.  If you don’t have an espresso machine or this delicious instant powder, just make 1/4 cup of coffee as absolutely strong as you can make it.

When the cream/butter mix is hot, pour both that and the espresso over the chocolate.  

Let it sit for 5 minutes before stirring.  See?  This is not so hard, this whole ganache thing, is it?  The ganache needs to cool enough to be able to pour slightly without being too liquid.  Ten minutes in the fridge should do the trick. 

Now take out one of the cakes and put it upside down on a springform pan so that the flat side is up. (You can see the flour from the cake pan, which will get covered up with the ganache).  Pour a cup of ganache over the top and spread it with a spatula.  

I noticed the lumps of unmelted chocolate and made sure to microwave the remaining ganache for a minute and then let it cool so the visible top layer would be smooth. Now, into the fridge for 10 minutes just to make sure it has set.  Repeat with the middle layer

and then the top. When you’ve placed the top layer on, it’s time to remove the springform pan 

and pour another cup on the top and spread it around.

Use a small spatula to spread the ganache around the sides.  

Now, if also have you have this doohickey to swirl the chocolate, even better!  

Your cake will look like this.  

You can put it in the refrigerator for up to two days and have it at the ready for even your most severe culinary critic.  Not that we willingly invite severe culinary critics into our home, but sometimes we’re related to them and it cannot be helped.  

Not that I’m related to any, but …

Okay I’ll shut up.  Just know that a slice of this cake will warm the cockles of your heart.  Or rather, it will make your heart go thumpity-thump with chocolatey pleasure.  (And caffeine).  And I find a little self-indulgence helps with the all the boredom.

Gluten-Free Mocha Brownie Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A moist, dense, heart-racing espresso brownie cake.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12
  • Cake:
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ½ cup corn starch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4.5 oz (130 grams) semisweet chocolate
  • 2.5 oz (70 grams) unsweetened chocolate
  • ¾ stick or 3 oz (85 grams) unsalted butter
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream or crème fraîche
  • Mocha Chocolate Ganache:
  • 1¼ cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 12 oz (340 grams) semisweet chocolate
  • ¼ cup brewed espresso
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C)
  2. Grease 3 cake pans and line the bottoms with wax paper. Flour the pans.
  3. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler.
  4. Blend the almond powder, corn starch baking powder and salt.
  5. Mix eggs, vanilla, and sugar and beat for 5 minutes or so.
  6. Add the melted chocolate mixture and mix with the wet ingredients briefly.
  7. Add the flour mix and turn with a spatula til thoroughly mixed.
  8. Add the sour cream and mix in.
  9. Divide between 3 pans and bake each pan for 12 minutes.
  10. Cool each pan 10 minutes before inverting the cake onto a rack.
  11. Cool another 10 minutes or so and stack each cake between wax paper and put into fridge for an hour.
  12. Now the ganache:
  13. Bring cream, sugar and butter to a boil briefly.
  14. Break chocolate into bits and put in a bowl.
  15. Make espresso.
  16. Pour espresso and hot cream over chocolate and let it sit 5 minutes.
  17. Stir ganache and let it cool in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  18. Assembly:
  19. Place the first cake pan-side up in a springform pan. Pour a cup of ganache and spread with a spatula.
  20. Place the cake in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  21. Repeat process with the next layer.
  22. Place the remaining layer and remove the outside rim of the springform pan.
  23. Spread a cup of ganache over the top.
  24. Use a spatula to spread ganache all over the sides.
  25. Place the cake in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat it.
  26. When you cut the cake, you can dip the knife in hot water and wipe it in between cuts.
  27. Fall into a sugared caffeinated stupor.


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I am the daughter of a symphony musician who was raised in upstate New York, and I simply breathe all things classical, be it music or 19th century literature (English and Russian). I married Sir Renaissance in New York City, and before I knew it, he had swept me up and brought me back home to his own country. So here we are. Three children, a rather ordinary life in a rather exceptional place. I am now ‘A Lady in France.’

Posted in Desserts, Food, La Cuisine (The Kitchen), Tout le Reste (Everything else)
23 comments on “Gluten-Free Mocha Brownie Cake
  1. Brittany says:

    Looks absolutely delicious!

  2. SE says:

    Absolutely will try this. YUM!

  3. Galit Breen says:

    Beautiful photos, delicious sounding recipe!

    {For the record, I like your indulgent posts! :) }

  4. Tracie says:

    This looks absolutely, amazingly delicious.

    I have a friend who just started going gluten free, and I’m going to share this with her!

    • ladyjennie says:

      Thanks for sharing the love Tracie – all the recipes on my recipe page are gluten free if any catch her eye. It can be daunting when you first start out.

  5. Oh golly, that looks absolutely delish!! (I Pinned it, of course)

  6. Katharina says:

    I believe that “Sir” doesn’t understand your readers and why they come to you. Serve him your delicious looking cake, give him a kiss and a hug then continue to write from whatever flows from your heart, mind and fingertips. I, as others, are quite happy to read your posts.

    • ladyjennie says:

      Thank you Katharina.

      I should be more fair to my husband. He is sooo supportive of my blog, but after you’ve read 200 posts or so, I suppose you earn the right to give a critique here and there. :-) I really appreciate your encouragement though.

  7. Carole says:

    Wow, this looks divine!

    I like the “self-indulgent” posts too. :)

  8. winnie says:


    I just want to skip to the part where I can just eat this and not do all the hardwork!!

  9. You would have made a beautiful Nancy, in my humble theatre opinion. (It’s more serious if I say “theatre” right?)


    You make an even better baker. And you don’t have to sing embarrassingly sexist songs, either.

    Bottom line: Marie Antoinette’s got nothing on you and your brownie cake.

    “As long as he needs me….and my gluten-free desserts!”
    Oh yeah, sister.

    p.s. REALLY glad about Sir’s good news. Really.

  10. Jennifer says:

    I would normally be too intimidated to attempt a recipe with 27(!) steps but this one looks so delicious I just may have to give it a try.

    • ladyjennie says:

      Don’t forget step #27 is “fall into a sugared caffeinated stupor” so it doesn’t count. :-)

      No seriously, the only annoying part of this recipe, is refrigerating the cakes in between steps. And perhaps having to melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler. Otherwise, the reason there are so many steps is because I separated them as opposed to lumping them all together in a paragraph.

      But if you doooo try it, let me know!

  11. OOOohhhh….can I get a whatwhat (does the rapper fist bump). That looks amazing.

  12. Mom says:

    Maybe I’ll visit you on MY birthday!

  13. Amber says:

    Oh my lord. I am drooling over here. Drooling. Dang diet…no chocolate cake for me.

    • ladyjennie says:

      I’ve been trying to eat sweets just twice a week and fit my meals into a bowl, no matter what’s in it. It’s less stressful for me than counting. Fingers crossed that it will work.

I'm Jennie. Welcome to A Lady in France! I write books, and also this blog on faith, French culture and recipes ... ( To continue reading, please click here. )

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