chocolate truffle cake

Chocolate Truffle Cake

Jump to Chocolate Truffle Cake Recipe

 I like to make a special dinner and dessert for my family on Valentine’s Day. Last year we had salmon (heart healthy you know) then we all dove into a chocolate souffle with vanilla ice cream. It’s a great memory so I wanted to make something special this year as well. Unfortunately, I decided to ask the 6-year-olds what they thought might be fun to have for dinner and was met with much arguing and whining about not wanting what the other one wanted and so on and so forth. It was not at all productive and may have ended badly with me losing my cool and threatening no bedtime stories if the sassy bratty-ness continued. So, I’m still not sure what we’ll have for dinner but I was at least smart enough not seek their opinion on dessert! They’re my girls so I know anything chocolate will make them happy. This cake serves about twelve people so it’s probably a bit large for a romantic dinner for two but it’s great for a family celebration (especially knowing we’ll have houseguests this weekend to help polish it off!)


I made many Chocolate Truffle Cakes in my years baking at my family’s restaurant in Eugene. It was one of my favorites because it’s relatively quick and easy but so rich and elegant that customers would rave about it. I often served it with raspberry sauce and would have done the same today but I had this lovely salted caramel sauce in my fridge and no raspberries in my freezer. That’s another really great thing about truffle cake, it’s so versatile! Use it as a base and let your imagination and taste buds guide you or simply enjoy it with a dollop of whipped cream. Fresh strawberries are, of course, fabulous with it!


Chocolate Truffle Cake

(Serves 12)

1 teaspoon melted butter and @ 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder for pan

1 pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (buttons or chopped from a bar/brick, I use Ghiradelli or Scharffen Berger)
3/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coffee extract (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
5 eggs, room temp, separated
2 tablespoons sugar

whipped cream
caramel or raspberry sauce (store-bought or homemade) or accompaniment of your choice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place eggs in warm (not hot) tap water for about 10 minutes to quickly bring to room temperature. In my experience, room temperature eggs are easier to separate and more voluminous when beaten.


Prepare a 9-inch round cake pan. First, oil the pan a bit so the parchment sticks better, then line it with parchment paper or foil, making sure there is overlap. You will be using the paper/foil to lift the cake out of the pan.


Coat the paper (up to the top of the pan) with melted butter. Sift cocoa powder to coat the bottom of the pan.



Then rotate the pan on its side, tapping lightly, to coat the sides.


Chop chocolate, if necessary (I had buttons). Place in a double boiler with butter. Melt on medium heat over, not in, the water. If you don’t have a double boiler, you can rig one up with two saucepans or even melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave. Always stir frequently while it’s melting and never let chocolate get too hot!



Meanwhile, separate the eggs. I find the hand method easiest but you can certainly do shell to shell.


When chocolate mixture is thoroughly melted…


pour it in to a large mixing bowl. Stir in vanilla and coffee extracts and salt. Allow to cool to lukewarm.


Meanwhile, beat egg yolks on high speed with a stand mixer or hand held beaters until they are thick and pale yellow.


Gently, fold yolks into cooled chocolate mixture. Folding is different from stirring as you actually fold the mixture over itself with a rubber spatula rather than stirring it, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl. It especially important when incorporating egg whites as they are likely to break down if stirred too vigorously.

Set aside while you whip the whites.
If you are using the same bowl to whip the whites as you did the yolks, it’s very important to clean it thoroughly as any residue from the yolks could slow the whites from beating properly. I even go so far as to rub some lemon in the bowl to ensure maximum voluminosity because the acidity breaks down the fat. Not absolutely necessary though.
Beat the whites on high speed until soft peaks form. Add sugar at this point and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.

Gently, gently, gently fold in egg whites

until fully incorporated. Do not over mix!


Pour batter into prepared pan.


Gently spread batter evenly.



Bake for 20 – 25 minutes on the middle oven rack until the cake has risen to the top of the pan and the top is beginning to crack slightly. You want to be sure to not over bake the cake, it should still be a little jiggly, not fully set. I baked mine for 22 minutes and it was perfect but oven temps can vary so check it at 20 minutes, sooner if your oven runs hot.


The cake will sink a bit a few minutes after it comes out. This is fine and normal. Allow it to cool on counter for about 30 minutes then transfer to your refrigerator. Let it chill until it is set, at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours. It should be completely firm when set.


Lift the cake out of the pan and invert on to a large plate or platter.



Remove paper.



To cut, run a knife under very hot tap water, dry knife, and make a cut halfway across the cake.



Repeat with hot tap water, wiping off excess, and make a cut to meet the first.


Continue, running the knife under tap water and wiping off excess each time,



until you have 12 pieces. If you are not serving it all at once, stop at a few and refrigerate the remainder uncut.



Whipping your own cream will make this extra delicious, but you can certainly use the kind in the aerosol can. (I have to say I would really feel horrible if you used a certain non-dairy whipped topping on this fine cake so please don’t tell me if you do.)

Here are some simple instructions in case you’ve never whipped cream.


Start with 1 cup (8oz) heavy whipping cream. Starting on slow speed and working up to medium-high speed, beat with stand mixer or hand held beaters until it starts to thicken. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2-4 tablespoons of sugar, depending how sweet you want it, and continue to beat until nice and fluffy. If you are using a stand mixer, be careful not to leave it mixing too long or it will turn into butter.

Garnish the cake with whipped cream and any sauce, fruit, nuts, etc. you desire. The salted caramel sauce was insanely good with it.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours! 

I’m so fortunate to have found my perfect weirdo so long ago :)!

“We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness – and call it love – true love.”
Robert Fulghum