Le Diabolo Gâteau (Almost Flourless Chocolate Cake)

Swiss Dark Chocolate

Swiss Dark Chocolate

By Cat, Jan 2008 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

Most European cakes, called gâteau or torte, are made without, or with very little flour, and this is no exception. American cakes are made with flour as a primary ingredient, providing support for the batter to keep it from falling. But our obsession with goodies made with flour, especially white flour, has gotten us into trouble health-wise, leading to Type-2 Diabetes, heart disease, and painful digestive problems with gluten.

The Europeans have the right idea, indulging a sweet tooth with rich, flourless (or nearly flourless) treats in small servings, such as this wonderful gâteau.

Le Diabolo Gâteau (Almost Flourless Chocolate Cake)

This recipe is adapted from Simca’s Cuisine (1).

The original recipe calls for German Chocolate, which is a sweet chocolate, and  I prefer to use bittersweet chocolate (at least 60% cocoa mass), broken into chip-size pieces. I don’t like my cakes super sweet, so I don’t increase the amount of sweetener from the original recipe (¾ cup sugar). However, in this recipe, you can substitute stevia for as much as half the sugar, since the sugar is not required to hold the eggs stiff.

This seems fairly elaborate, but it less elaborate than it seems. Summary of method:

  1. Presoak and dry nuts (starting 2 days before baking the gâteau)
  2. Make, bake and cool the gâteau;
  3. Make the simple buttercream glaze; spread over cooled gâteau, and decorate with slivered almonds.

This recipe serves 6 – 12.


  • bowl or jar for soaking nuts
  • baking sheet for drying nuts
  • cast iron skillet for toasting slivered almonds
  • bakers parchment
  • 8 – 9″ round cake or springform pan
  • double boiler
  • 1 medium & 1 large bowl
  • handheld or stand mixer
  • metal spatula
  • cake rack



  • 2 Tbsp soaked, dried, blanched, pulverized almonds or almond meal/flour
  • handful of crispy slivered almonds

1. Starting at least 2 days before making the gâteau, soak and dry almonds or almond meal; see Soaking Nuts & Seeds for details. You can chop or pulverize whole almonds before or after soaking. I recommend making a large batched of soaked & dried chopped almonds for future use (store in airtight container in cool place or the fridge), then pulverizing in a blender, only the amount you need for the recipe.

NOTE: If soaking & drying whole almonds, you may want to remove their skins afterwards as follows: Drop almonds into boiling water for a few seconds. Then, while still warm, press them between your thumb and index finger to slip off the skins. Dry thoroughly in oven at lowest setting for about 5 minutes, then pulverize or sliver them.

2. Soak and dry the slivered almonds at the same time, then toast them; follow the instructions for Crispy Pine Nuts (see box, below, from Nourishing Traditions (2)), but do not grind them.

Crispy Pine Nuts box


  • Butter and flour for cake pan
  • ¾ cup Rapadura sugar (or ¼ tsp stevia extract powder plus ¼ cup Rapadura sugar
  • 4 eggs (at room temperature), separated
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
  • ¾ cup (1 ½ cubes) butter
  • 4 Tbsp unbleached white flour (or 2 Tbsp white plus 2 Tbsp barley flour)
  • 1 recipe Chocolate Buttercream (see below)
  1. Remove eggs from fridge and allow to warm to room temperature.
  2. Break chocolate into ¼”- ½” pieces.
  3. Grease the sides of pan, then line bottom with round of bakers parchment, and butter the top side of the paper; set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  5. Beat sugar/stevia with egg yolks at room temperature, until they are a creamy yellow.
  6. Put chocolate and butter in top of double boiler over simmering water; stir until chocolate is smooth. Add sweetened egg yolks and continue stirring over low heat until well blended.
  7. Place pulverized almonds/almond meal (see instructions, above) in small bowl, add flour and mix with a whisk to dredge. Stir the mix into the chocolate mix.
  8. Beat room temperature egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff but not dry. Stir ¼ of whites into chocolate mixture to lighten it; then fold all back into remaining egg whites.
  9. Pour into pan, no more than ¾ full, then tap gently on table to distribute the mixture evenly. Bake in preheated over 25 – 30 minutes, watching carefully, until the outside is solid and the center still creamy (not runny, not dry) when tested with a sharp knife.
  10. Remove to rack for cooling before un-molding.

Chocolate Buttercream Glaze

  • 3 ½ oz German sweet chocolate, broken into small pieces; or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp brewed coffee or water
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  1. Make this up when cake has cooled.
  2. Melt chocolate with coffee/water until smooth in top of double boiler; remove from heat and stir in butter.

Assemble cake

  1. Pour warm buttercream on top of the unfolded cake; spread with a metal spatula warmed by dipping in hot water and then dried (but not cooled).
  2. Decorate with crispy slivered almonds.
  3. Refrigerate before serving


  1. Simca’s Cuisine, by Simone Beck
  2. Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig, PhD.

* See Soaking Nuts & Seeds. Then blanch to remove skins: drop nuts into boiling water for a few seconds. Then, while still warm, press them between your thumb and index finger to slip off the skins. Dry thoroughly in low oven for at least 5 minutes. Then spin them in a blender at full speed until pulverized..


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