Recipes » Dessert Recipes » Flourless Walnut Cake

Flourless Walnut Cake

My Flourless Walnut Cake is a 7-ingredient treat flavored with chocolate and coffee that is delightfully different!
4.5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
A slice of flourless walnut cake on a serving plate.

My Flourless Walnut Cake is a 7-ingredient treat flavored with chocolate and coffee that is delightfully different! Its slightly dense texture makes it the perfect gooey treat for a lighter dessert option!

This unique, ground walnut cake is absolutely one of my favorite desserts to make and lots of fun to share with friends and family. The rich flavors of the walnuts and bittersweet chocolate are perfectly complemented by the coffee. It’s a sophisticated combination of sweet and bitter flavors that create a cake sure to impress.

A slice of flourless walnut cake on a serving plate.

Easy to make and store, this Flourless Walnut Cake is a timeless dessert! It pairs particularly well with softly whipped cream and with vanilla ice cream. Whether you’re making this treat for a loved one or to share with a new neighbor, it’s sure to be a people pleaser!

Of course, it’s hard to go wrong with nut-laden desserts like my delicious banana nut bread and homemade southern pecan pralines. What’s not to love about walnuts, sweet chocolate, and rich coffee? Let’s get baking!

❤ Why We Love This Recipe


  • This cake is gooey, nutty, dense, and sweet.
  • It’s an easy seven-ingredient cake
  • Pairs well with many different garnishes.
  • Perfect as a light dessert or breakfast treat.

🥘 About the Ingredients


This post contains affiliate links.

  • Walnuts – You’ll need raw, shelled walnuts (preferably halves) for the recipe.
  • BreadcrumbsUse purchased plain breadcrumbs or ones you’ve made from stale bread. To make breadcrumbs, lightly toast leftover bread and then grind in a food processor.
  • Bittersweet ChocolateThe chocolate should be grated or shaved to help it incorporate into the batter. Along with the coffee, the chocolate imparts a mild mocha flavor to the cake.
  • EggsProvide leavening for the cake since no baking powder or baking soda is used.
  • ButterAdds to the rich, chewiness of the cake.
  • SugarWhite granulated sugar is all that’s needed here.
  • Brewed Coffee You’ll need only one tablespoon of brewed strong coffee or espresso.

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

🔪 How to Make Flourless Walnut Cake


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Baking pan buttered and lined with wax paper.
  1. Prepare an 8″ pan. Butter the pan well and cut a piece of parchment or wax paper to fit the bottom. Insert and butter it, too.
Photo collage showing weighing and grinding walnuts.
  1. Grind the walnuts and breadcrumbs together in a food processor. The walnuts should be quite fine, but don’t process too long or they’ll lose texture and become oily.

👉 PRO TIP: Watch carefully and don’t process the walnuts too long or they will turn into nut butter. When ground, nuts release their natural oils and tend to clump together. The addition of the breadcrumbs during this stage helps prevent that.

Photo collage showing cooking the egg yolks and adding the beaten egg whites.
  1. Separate the egg whites and yolks. In the top of a double boiler, over simmering water, whisk the yolks and sugar together until they have tripled in volume and become thick and very pale yellow.
  2. Take the yolks off the heat and stir in the nut mixture and chocolate.
  3. Beat in the butter a tablespoon at a time until completely incorporated.
  4. Stir in the coffee or espresso.
  5. Whisk the egg white to stiff peaks.
  6. Stir a small amount of the beaten whites into the batter to loosen it.
Folding batter into egg whites.
  1. Add the batter to the remaining egg whites and gently fold it in.
Cake batter in prepared pan.
  1. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
  2. Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 35 minutes. Note – the cake will pull away from the sides of the pan during baking.
  3. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack before transferring to the serving plate.
  4. Decorate with sifted confectioner’s sugar and additional walnuts, if desired. Serve with whipped, sweetened cream.
A slice of flourless walnut cake on a serving plate.

What’s not to love about this rich, tasty, dense cake? The combination of walnuts, chocolate, and coffee come together to create a nutty, sophisticated cake with a light mocha flavor that is sure to leave you wanting more.

🔀 Recipe Variations


  • Got a gluten allergy? You can make this walnut cake gluten free by using gluten-free breadcrumbs, crushed gluten-free crackers, corn flakes, or rolled oats.
  • Try swapping out the walnuts for your favorite nut. Pistachios, almonds, and cashews are a few of my favorites.
  • Make it kid friendly by swapping out the coffee for a non-caffeinated alternative.
  • I love experimenting with this recipe! Try using different types of nuts, perhaps adding some dried fruit, or making it more kid-friendly by omitting the coffee.

❗ Tips


I find that a food processor is the best way to grind your walnuts into a powder. A blender will work in a pinch but it won’t get the nuts quite as fine. Also, it’s very important that you not grind the walnuts too much turning them into walnut butter.

Swap out the coffee or espresso for a coffee substitute such as Pero or Joe’y. If, on the other hand, you can’t get enough of that delicious coffee flavor, try serving it with a scoop of coffee-flavored ice cream.

Not sure if your cake is done? Insert a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready!

🍚 Storage Information


The completely cooled cake can be stored wrapped in plastic wrap or in a reusable airtight container. Keep it in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to two months. To serve from frozen, allow the cake to thaw out in the fridge for at least 24 hours before serving. I find that this cake is best served at room temperature and that you should only add your garnishes a few minutes before serving.

🍽 Serving Suggestions


I like a simple topping of sifted confectioner’s sugar and toasted walnut halves along with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream on the side. It’s also nice with vanilla ice cream, or a drizzle of warm caramel sauce.

❓ FAQs


What does this flourless walnut cake taste like?

It’s a gooey, nutty cake with the perfect balance of sweet and bitter. The texture is similar to a dense, fudgy brownie.

What is the difference between a flourless cake and a torte?

Some people use the terms “cake” and “torte” interchangeably. A torte is typically made with little to no flour and its texture is dense rather than light. Cakes are made with a good deal more flour and have a light texture. This cake leans more toward the classical definition of a torte because of its density and tight, moist crumb.

Can you buy ground walnuts instead of making your own?

Yes! Some stores sell ground walnuts, sometimes called walnut meal, specifically for baking cakes and other desserts. If using walnut meal, you’d need to weigh out four ounces for this recipe.

Have you tried this recipe? I’d really appreciate you giving it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card or in the comments section.
AND REMEMBER TO SIGN UP FOR MY FACEBOOK GROUP.
If you’d like to hang out with me and lots of other online Southern Comfort Food lovers, make sure to join my FREE PRIVATE Facebook group.

📖 Recipe

A slice of flourless walnut cake on a serving plate.

Flourless Walnut Cake

My Flourless Walnut Cake is a 7-ingredient treat flavored with chocolate and coffee that is delightfully different!
4.50 from 2 votes
Print It Rate It Save
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: European
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 274kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces raw, shelled walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate grated
  • ¼ cup butter at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon strong brewed coffee or espresso

For serving:

  • Additional walnut halves, confectioner’s sugar, and whipped cream

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Generously grease an 8-inch cake pan and line with parchment paper. Also grease the parchment paper.
  • Grind the walnuts and breadcrumbs together in a food processor. The walnuts should be quite fine, but don’t process too long or they’ll lose texture and become oily.
  • Separate the egg whites and yolks. In the top of a double boiler, over simmering water, whisk the yolks and sugar together until they have tripled in volume and become thick and very pale yellow.
  • Take the yolks off the heat and stir in the nut mixture and chocolate.
  • Beat in the butter a tablespoon at a time until completely incorporated.
  • Stir in the coffee or espresso.
  • Whisk the egg white to stiff peaks.
  • Stir a small amount of the beaten whites into the batter to loosen it.
  • Add the batter to the remaining egg whites and gently fold it in.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
  • Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 35 minutes. Note – the cake will pull away from the sides of the pan during baking.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack before transferring to the serving plate.
  • Decorate with sifted confectioner’s sugar and additional walnuts, if desired. Serve with whipped, sweetened cream.

Notes

  • I like a simple topping of sifted confectioner’s sugar and toasted walnut halves along with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream on the side. It’s also nice with vanilla ice cream, or a drizzle of warm caramel sauce.
  • The completely cooled cake can be stored wrapped in plastic wrap or in a reusable airtight container. Keep it in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to two months.
  • To serve from frozen, allow the cake to thaw out in the fridge for at least 24 hours before serving. I find that this cake is best served at room temperature and that you should only add your garnishes a few minutes before serving.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 274kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 77mg | Sodium: 98mg | Potassium: 138mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 273IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

Share on Facebook Pin Recipe
Tried this recipe? Pin it for Later!Follow @LanasCookingBlog or tag #LanasCooking!

— This post was originally published on March 30, 2012. It has been updated with additional information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




24 Comments

    1. Hi Monique. I’ve never tested this recipe with a replacement for the bread crumbs. However, I would think you could use something like crushed cereal, or oats, or even potato or tortilla chips in their place. You do need something to grind with the walnuts to keep them from clumping and turning into walnut butter.

  1. Hi,
    I’m Texan and Southern, so I really enjoy your stories and recipes. In most of your recipes you use a food processor. This isn’t something that was ever in my mother’s or grandmother’s kitchen and isn’t in mine either. So, my question is this: When you use a food processor to grind nuts (or whatever else) how would you suggest I prepare those kinds of things? I am assuming just so that they are the right texture is what I am after. Thanks so much for all the wonderful memories you evoke with your stories.

  2. don’t you just love a surprise like that instead of making a repeat? sometimes I get an answer just as good, as if an alien has taken over, but most of the time it is “Why do you have to always make something new?” with a mumble of never enjoying the same thing twice…
    your cake must have a wonderful taste, the ingredients sound very much so…

  3. It looks good and only 7 ingredients WOW!
    My question is salted or unsalted butter?
    Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Whichever you prefer Chantal. We Southerners tend to use salted butter in everything – both sweet and savory – but you may prefer unsalted for this recipe.

  4. It looks wonderful! I love cakes made like this, they tend to be very light, although as you say with the walnuts and beaten egg yolk it may not be as light, but I am sure it is a delicacy. Thanks for sharing this recipe, I am sure to enjoy it soon.

  5. Looks amazing and I think it would probably be a good cake for Grumpy since the carbs need to be lower for him with his diabetes diagnosis. I personally think they are listening to our shows even though its proclaimed they can’t stand them…I mean after all, they are always thinking what we can put in their stomachs aren’t they? :)

  6. Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear BeeBop……… Happy Birthday to you!

    I sang that to you. Did you hear me?

    Miss P

    1. I was so surprised when he requested this one, Nancy, but it turned out to be a great choice. We’ll definitely enjoy this recipe again.

  7. Oooh, love this! Reminds me of my great nana’s chocolate gateau, only she used almonds instead of walnuts. Just lovely!

  8. I can see why this request would take you by surprise! But it really does look like a lovely cake. I love that there is no flour in it. The egg whites must make it so light.

    1. It’s not really as light as you might think, Katherine. I think perhaps because of the weight of the walnuts and the viscosity of the egg yolk mixture. Still – a very enjoyable cake!