Sherry Yard's Flourless Chocolate Cake with Meringue Topping Recipe

Though I had known of pastry chef Sherry Yard for some time, the first time I truly became aware of her was during her appearance on Iron Chef several years ago. With blonde sprout-like pigtails and complete composure, she did her thing beside Wolfgang Puck--pumping out ice cream in no time and nonchalantly pulling hot caramel into delicate strands with her bare hands--helping him to clinch "battle egg."

I was inspired by her then, and still am now, particularly with her latest book, Desserts by the Yard: From Brooklyn to Beverly Hills, Recipes from the Sweetest Life Ever. Part memoir and part cookbook, the volume is imbued with Yard's pluck and passion, making it as much of a joy just to read, as it is to cook from.

Arranged biographically with anecdotal introductions, the recipes in the book cover a lot of ground, illustrating the progression of her career, from the simple classics of her Brooklyn youth to the scones she learned to perfect during her studies in London, through to a show-stopping six-layer Dobos torte surmounted by a golden statue that she created for the 76th Academy Awards ceremony.

Though some recipes require a good deal of time and planning, including the divine-looking Triple Silken Pumpkin Pie, many can be more or less whipped together, and all are described with great clarity and detailed with helpful tips. There is also a section in the back with basic building block recipes and techniques that make the book as well-rounded and useful as it is charming.

With almost every recipe there's a scrumptious illustration, making it rather difficult to decide which one to try first. Luckily, Yard foresaw this predicament, heading her recipe for the Flourless Chocolate Cake with Meringue Topping with a recommendation: if you are only going to try one recipe in the book, this should be it. The recipe's result was a formidably tall, satisfyingly rich chocolate fix--impressive to behold, delicious to partake, and easy to make.

Recipe Facts



Total: 0 mins
Makes: 1 cake

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  • For the cake base:
  • 8 ½ ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped or in pistole form (238g)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces (4 ounces or 112g)
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar (236g)
  • ½ cup cocoa powder (20g)
  • For the meringue topping:
  • 8 large egg whites (~240g)
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 ½ cups sugar (315g)


  1. For the cake base: Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 10-inch diameter tart pan (at least one inch deep) or a 9-inch diameter springform pan, place on a foil-lined baking tray, and set aside.

  2. Place chocolate and butter in a double boiler or microwave-safe bowl and heat until completely melted, stirring often to avoid scorching the chocolate.

  3. Meanwhile, place eggs in a bowl and run under warm tap water for a few minutes until eggs no longer feel cool to the touch. Crack eggs into the bowl. Add sugar. Using the mixer's whisk attachment, whip the eggs and sugar on medium speed until mixture is light and thick and falls in a ribbon from whisk - about 2 minutes.

  4. Add cocoa powder and mix on low speed until combined. Add melted chocolate mixture and mix until well combined.

  5. Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake for 12 minutes. Rotate tray front to back and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes, until surface of cake is just firm to the touch but still looks wet in the center and has a bit of jiggle. Place on a cooling rack and cool to room temperature.

  6. For the meringue topping: Preheat oven to 375F. Place egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and allow whites to come to room temperature.

  7. For the meringue topping: Preheat oven to 375F. Place egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and allow whites to come to room temperature.

  8. Continue whipping the whites, while adding the sugar little by little, until meringue is thick and glossy and stiff peaks form.

  9. Pile meringue onto cooled cake. Spread meringue to within an inch of the outer edge of the cooled cake base, twirling and fluffing the meringue into attractive peaks and curls.

  10. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until meringue is lightly browned. Serve directly from baking pan. Refrigerate leftovers.