BETE NOIRE – a flourless chocolate cake


This recipe for BETE NOIRE (the black beast)  was the signature dessert at our restaurant ROXY’S BISTRO in Regina, Saskatchewan.   One of our regular customers was so besotted with this dessert she resorted to a devious maneuver to obtain the recipe.  We needed a waiter for the holidays and she suggested her son who had just finished university.  I noticed him leafing through the binder that contained out dessert recipes.  To no avail.  Bete Noire was one of the recipes kept in our little black chef book.  And that book was safely in the pocket of my chef’s jacket.   Leafing through files of restaurant recipes I found our sous -chef Jeff’s copy –  beautifully hand written.  Thirty years later I am sharing this exquisitely rich recipe with you.

INGREDIENTS  – serve 10

1/2 cup water

1 1/3 cups sugar

12 ounces best quality semi sweet chocolate cut into small chunks.  A serrated knife works well here.   I suggest Callabaut.  Do not use Bakers Brand.

1/2 pound (8 oz.) unsalted butter – cut into small pieces

5 large eggs

Now the magic begins:

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Check your oven temperature with an oven thermometer.  It is important you do not over-bake this cake.

Butter a 9-inch cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.  Butter the paper.


In a heavy saucepan combine water with one cup of sugar.  Bring mixture to a rapid boil and cook for two minutes.


Remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the chopped chocolate.  Stir until chocolate is completely melted.


Add butter one small piece at a time.  Stir after each addition making sure each piece is completely incorporated before adding more.  The mixture will thicken and it should take about ten minutes to incorporate all the butter.  Be patient.


In the large bowl of your stand mixer whisk the eggs and the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar until thick and foamy (about 5-7 minutes).   Ignore the dark spots.  (The small dark spots in this photograph are bits of melted chocolate.  I started to add the chocolate and realized I hadn’t taken this photograph.)  Oops.


With the whisks on add the chocolate/batter mixture to the eggs, slowly until combined.  DO NOT OVER MIX!


Pour batter into the prepared cake pan.  Set pan in a slightly larger pan.


Set the pans on the centre rack of the oven.  Pour in enough HOT water so that it comes part way up the side of the cake pan.  Be careful not  to get any water on your cake batter.


Bake at 350°F for EXACTLY 45 minutes.  DO NOT OVER BAKE. If the cake is slightly soft in the centre that is exactly right.  The cake firms up as it cools.  Take the cake pan out of the water.


Set the cake on a rack to cool.  Do not remove until completely cool.  Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen then turn out onto a plate covered with plastic wrap.  This allows you to remove the slices more easily.  The cake cuts easily if you refrigerate it for an hour or so.  Use a knife dipped in hot water and wiped clean after each slice.

Using a fine sieve dust the cake with a little icing sugar and serve with fresh fruit.  We served this dessert at  ROXY’S BISTRO  in a pool of creme anglais flavored with Frangelico  and a garnish of  raspberry coulis.  Divine decadence

BETE NOIRE - a flourless chocolate cake
5.0 from 1 reviews
: dessert
: 10
An extremely rich chocolate cake made without flour.
  • ½ cup water
  • 1⅓ cup sugar
  • 12 oz. semi sweet Callabaut chocolate
  • ½ pound (8 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 5 large eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350degrees F.
  2. Butter a 9 inch cake pan lined with wax paper and butter the paper.
  3. In a heavy saucepan combine water with l cup sugar.
  4. Bring mixture to rapid boil and cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Remove pan from heat and immediately add chopped chocolate.
  6. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.
  7. Add butter one piece at a time.
  8. Stir after each addition before adding more butter.
  9. Make sure each piece of butter is completely incorporated.
  10. In stand mixture bowl whisk the eggs and the remaining ⅓ cup of sugar about 5-7 minutes.
  11. Add the chocolate/butter mixture slowly until combined.
  13. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and set in a slightly larger pan.
  14. Set both pans on the centre rack of the oven.
  15. Pour enough hot water in so that it comes part way up the side of the cake pan.
  16. Bake at 350 degrees F. EXACTLY 45 minutes. DO NOT OVER BAKE
  17. Take cake pan out of water and place on cooling rack.
  18. Cool cake in pan.
  19. Run knife around edge of pan to loosen then turn out onto plate covered with plastic wrap.


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5 Responses to BETE NOIRE – a flourless chocolate cake

  1. Pingback: SHARING MY BIRTHDAY CAKE « Bel' Occhio's Blog

  2. Nyree says:

    Love this one, I’ve made this cake half a dozen times (and always to rave reviews!!) but struggle with one thing… How do you move the cake to a serving platter? Such a gorgeous cake, would love to bring it to the table before serving!

    • admin says:

      The transfer of this decadent cake to a beautiful platter requires adroit maneuvering and a calm hand – but it is possible. The bete noire cakes were always transferred to display plates in our restaurant. Chill the cake for several hours then using a thin knife run it around the edge of the cake. Invert the cake onto a plate. It is now upside down. Peel off the paper lining. Put your presentation plate on top of the cake and quickly invert it again. Presto!! Your cake is ready to wow friends and family. (if for some strange reason the cake doesn’t release onto the first plate set the cake briefly on a very hot wet tea towel then try again)

  3. Christina says:

    Oh I am so thrilled to have come across your blog! I have wonderful memories of dining at Roxy’s bistro with my dad, as an impressionable teenager. So good. The tomato soup, and this cake of course. Amazing… I will definitely try out this recipe.

    • admin says:

      Dear Christina, How wonderful to hear from you. Our days of cooking at Roxy’s Bistro were shining, wonderful days. Just last week we had dinner with a chap who worked for us when he was going to university. He is now a brilliant economist. He loved our salad dressing and makes it today for his family. I love the idea that out there customers who enjoyed our food are following my blog and cooking some of the food they enjoyed. Cheers Virginia

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