April 5, 2020

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April 2, 2020: I originally wrote this post in February, before COVID-19 really turned our world upside down. Let’s pretend it’s February, and that we might actually be celebrating a friend’s birthday soon and have a reason to make a whole cake.

(Or, we can just be like me and make yet another chocolate cake (or two…) to eat at home JUST CUZ. Because boy, if there were ever a time to treat yourself, this is it. I’m already wondering when the next okayest time to make another one of these is…)

February 2020

My phone lit up and I saw the happy message from my mom:

"I'm enjoying the birthday chocolate cake right now. So yummy Jo. This is the kind I want every year for my birthday until I die, :) hehe"

That’s what my mom just texted me about this cake that I just made her a few days ago. And I have to agree–it’s a pretty bomb cake. The bottom is made of a dense, fudgy, flourless dark chocolate layer that hits all those deep dark chocolate cravings. The top layer is essentially a whipped dark chocolate ganache, which means it is a huge quantity of rich, dark chocolate truffle spread out in a thick layer and called “cake.” No objections here.

Dorie Greenspan created this elegantly simple and decadent cake, and I’ve been eating multiple slices a day since Thursday, when I first delivered the cake to my mom. I ate two at her birthday dinner, and then I made a whole new cake that very night after putting the kids down. My college friend had invited us over for dinner the next evening, and I wanted to bring something delicious because she’s the kind of person who does everything with excellence and I wanted to bring something excellent for her! This cake did not disappoint.

Having made it twice in 24 hours, I naturally started to look for some shortcuts. Nothing that would compromise the amazing texture and flavor of the cake, but time-saving (and dish-saving) shortcuts to make it easier to make this heavenly concoction even more accessible in the busyness of life. So, grab your favorite springform pan and give this cake a go. If you love chocolate, you will not regret it!

P.S. If you want to go the extra mile, I’d recommend serving it with a simple raspberry sauce like this one.

Dorie’s Lisbon Chocolate Cake Recipe
Directions adapted from this recipe
Makes one 9″ cake


For the cake:

For the ganache:

For the topping:


  1. Make the cake: Center a rack in the oven, and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform cake pan*, line with parchment paper, and butter the paper.
  2. Sift together the 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 1 1/2 tbsp . cornstarch, 1/4 tsp. baking powder, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a small bowl. Whisk to blend.
  3. Put the 1/2 cup butter in a large microwave safe bowl. Heat on high for 30 seconds. Stir, then add the 5 ounces of chocolate chips into the bowl, stir, and heat on high for another 30 seconds. Stir with a wire whisk until smooth and glossy. (If needed, continue to heat in 10 second increments until it reaches desired consistency. But don’t over cook it!). Stir in the 1/2 cup sugar. One by one, energetically stir in the 3 eggs, beating for 1 minute after the last egg is added. The mixture will look like pudding. Stir in the dry ingredients. Scrape the mixture into the cake pan, and give the pan a couple of good raps against the counter to settle the batter.
  4. Bake for 18-25 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean (or with only a tiny streak of chocolate). (This took closer to 25 minutes for me). Transfer to a rack to cool.
  5. Make the ganache: Pour 1 1/4 cups cream into a microwave safe bowl. Heat on high for 30 seconds. Add the 6 ounces of chocolate and heat on high for 30 more seconds. Stir with a wire whisk until smooth and glossy. (If needed, continue to heat in 10 second increments until it reaches desired consistency, but don’t overcook it!). Refrigerate the ganache for 20 minutes, whisk it, then refrigerate again for 20 minutes. Repeat chilling and whisking steps until the ganache is thick enough to make tracks when you stir, 50-80 minutes. Tip: Use good chocolate, as the flavor will really come through in this layer.
  6. In a separate bowl, whip the remaining 1/2 cup cream until it holds medium peaks. Then, using a whisk, beat the chilled ganache until it’s soft and spreadable. (The ganache never really reached the “thick enough to make tracks” stage in the refrigerator for me, so I manually beat air into it with a whisk until it thickened to very soft peaks). Gently fold in the whipped cream.
  7. Assemble the cake**: Spread the whipped ganache over the cake, and refrigerate for 2 hours (or cover and keep for up to 2 days). The cake is best served cool or at room temperature, so take it out of the fridge about 20 minutes before serving. (Actually, it’s also pretty delicious straight out of the refrigerator, so do what you want!).
  8. To finish, use a fine-mesh strainer to dust with cocoa powder. Then remove the sides of the pan and use a long, sharp knife to slice and serve!

*If you don’t have a springform pan, you can follow the directions here for how to get the cake out cleanly. Or consider getting one– it’s super useful for cheesecakes, mud pie, or just as a cake pan!

**If you’d like to remove the parchment paper from underneath the cake, follow these directions before step 7: Unlatch the side of the pan and set aside. Place a large round plate over the top of the cake layer and, holding the cake in between the springform pan base and the large plate, flip it over so the top of the cake is now resting upside down on the large round plate. Peel off and discard the parchment paper. Then use the same motion to flip the cake back over onto the base of the springform pan and reattach the side of the pan.

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