Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Chocolate Ganache

May 29, 2015

(Paleo) Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Chocolate Ganache

Sometimes a guy just needs a cupcake.
I don’t care if cupcakes are considered the height of femininity. If they are manly as a bag full of rainbows. With all their beautiful decorations, dainty, sparkly, tiny, fierce, and fabulous — hours spent to get each exactly right even knowing that they will be eaten in a couple of bites. I don’t care if cupcakes are “ars gratia artis” [see David? I know my latin!] which can be translated — in the syntax MGM employed — as “art for the sake of art”.
Sometimes a guy needs a cupcake, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

(Paleo) Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Chocolate Ganache

The internet loves cupcakes.
Recipes, photos, videos, they’re all there.
Each holiday deserves (and has) its own special cupcake.
Every now and then, an article comes out about “the death of the cupcakes” (seriously just google “cupcake craze” or “cupcake trend”, I dare you.)
This has been happening for some 10 years at least now. Yet cupcakes are still among us.
With such staying power, cupcake philosophers are forced to debate whether cupcakes are a trend, a craze, or a staple of desserts the world. I think the latter is the right answer.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to extol the virtues of cupcakes.
I don’t love cupcakes that much.
Now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t think I have ever bought a cupcake for myself in the past what, 8 years?
Sure, I go to Two Little Red Hens or The Little Cupcake Bakeshop when niece wants a treat (who am I to deny her that?)
But it never crosses my mind to buy a cupcake.

(Paleo) Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Chocolate Ganache

So all I am trying to say here is that even a guy who doesn’t like cupcakes sometimes needs a cupcake, and that might occur for the most random reasons.
When that happens, it’s important to have in your recipe arsenal a solid cupcake recipe.
Solid as in very good, very easy, and very healthy (if there’s such a thing as a healthy cupcake.)
And that is what these Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Chocolate Ganache are all about.

(Paleo) Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Chocolate Ganache

Your average flourless chocolate cake tends to be fudgy and dense, I know that for a fact. These cupcakes are instead lighter and kind-of-fluffy.
They have that intense chocolate flavour for true chocolate lovers. And I love chocolate like some people love bagels.
One last note, I used ganache instead of buttercream on these cupcakes because I think that’s more my style but do as you like, I won’t judge you.

(Paleo) Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Chocolate Ganache

Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Chocolate Ganache                            Print this recipe! 


Makes 12 cupcakes


1 ½ tablespoons coconut oil(or butter), plus more for the cake pan
3 oz / 85 gr +70% dark chocolate, chopped
3 large free-range organic eggs, separated
½ cup / 2.7 oz / 75 gr raw coconut palm sugar, divided*
1 tablespoons instant-espresso powder**
pinch of fine grain sea salt
½ tablespoon pure vanilla extract

*use regular brown sugar if you don’t care about paleo thing
** the espresso powder gives the cupcakes a more powerful chocolate taste, but also adds a mochy flavor. If you don’t care about it, replace it with cocoa powder.

Chocolate ganache

¼ cup almond milk (or any milk of your choice
½ tablespoon coconut oil
3.5 oz / 100 gr dark chocolate, roughly chopped
Fleur de sel or fine sea salt, for sprinkling


Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C), place a rack in the middle.
Grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin and line with muffin cups. Set aside.
Place coconut oil (or butter) and chopped chocolate in a medium sized heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water (making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water). Stir until the chocolate has completely melted.
Remove the bowl from over the boiling water, let mixture sit for a few minutes.
In a medium bowl beat together egg yolks and ¼ cup of sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until thick and the sugar has completely dissolved.
Add espresso powder and salt; beat until combined, about 1 minute. Add vanilla and melted-chocolate mixture; beat 1 more minute.
In another large bowl, beat egg whites and a pinch of salt on medium-high speed until foamy.
Increase speed to high and gradually add remaining ¼ cup of sugar, beating until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.
With the help of a spatula, gently fold egg whites into chocolate mixture in 3 batches.
Divide batter evenly between muffins cups.
Bake for 20 minutes until set.
Let cupcakes cool completely in the muffin tin on a wire rack. As they cool the cupcakes will sink in the middle, that’s okay.
To make the ganache bring the milk and coconut oil to a boil in a small sauce pan. Put the chopped chocolate in a small bowl and pour the hot rice milk over it. Stir until the ganache is smooth and velvety. Let cool for at least 15 minutes.
While the ganache is still warm, spoon it over the top of each cupcake. While the ganache is still wet, sprinkle with fleur de sel.
Let cupcakes sit a few moments to set, though ganache will not harden completely.

Nutrition facts

One cupcake yields 147 calories, 10 grams of fat, 11 grams of carbs, and 3 grams of protein.


  1. Mmm these sound incredible! Way better than shelling out $4 for a cupcake ;)

  2. Mike - I am a huge fan of flourless chocolate cakes/cupcakes (btw, just saying "cupcake makes me happy) - but darn dude...yours looks so much better than mine! I am stumped - your recipe isn't too different from the one I've been using...I need to pick your brain!

    1. We should definitely have a conversation about flourless chocolate cakes Shash!

  3. Now that's a masculine cupcake if you ask me! :-) I'm not a cupcake fanatic, but when I see one like you've made, I'd be all over it! Great post, Mike!

    1. A masculine cupcake? I don't there's such a thing as a masculine cupcake ;)

  4. Uh, yes!! I totally agree that sometimes a dude just needs a cupcake. Don't stand in my way when it comes to chocolate and cupcakes. In fact, don't stand in my way when it comes to Latin, either. But a chocolate cupcake post that references Latin? Well, that right there is my heaven, my friend! Love your photography on these, too! #WolfpackBakes #WolfpackLatinClub

    1. I knew you'd be impressed by my Latin, I just knew it!

  5. Woah...these sound amazing! I love how you made a flourless cupcake light and fluffy...sometimes that dense stuff is a little too over the top. Pinned!

  6. Urrrr I need one of these right now! It's cold and wet here so a chocolate cupcake would makes things all better : )

    1. Cold and wet? That must be miserable. Is full on summer on this side of the pond!

  7. Hahahahaha LOVE that David shout-out. It literally made me laugh out loud. I've been to Red Hens Bakery, but never to The Little Cupcake Bakeshop... gonna have to check them out! I'm also a fan of some of Molly's Cupcakes in the West Village and Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery cupcakes in LES. Have you been? These cupcakes look pretty legit my friend! #wolfpackbakes #wolfpackslovecupcakes

    1. I went once to SSSB in LES it's a pretty cool spot. But Niece is a big fan of Red Hens, so that's where we always end up going!

  8. Haha, it does seem that certain treats like cupcakes are kinda 'girly', but these would definitely be part of the manly bunch, especially with the sprinkle of fleur de sel in lieu of sprinkles. Nice pictures too buddy! Your photography has been so perfect lately.

  9. I'm a ganache person and I'm also a huge salty-sweet person, so these are right up my alley! I was in the city this past week for my birthday, and got an enormous cupcake at Two Little Red Hens (sooo good), but these look awesome :)

    1. Niece is a huge fan of the classic yellow cupcake with white frosting, that's what she always gets!

  10. Thanks for another great recipe without any weird hard to find ingredients.

  11. Hi Mike, love flourless, chocolaty desserts, they are so much more intense. Pinned! Have a great week-end!

    1. Thanks Cheri. I hope you're having a great weekend yourself!

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  13. I love recipes I can make. LOL I wonder how it would be if I added protein powder....
    I'm pinning it for later.

    1. You would use protein powder instead of the instant coffee. Just a thought!

  14. Mike, these are some perfect flourless cupcakes..they are adore. Hey, my boys and hubs would have a bunch of these. Not girly at all;).
    Ok, I have another from your space to make. xx

  15. Mike, chocolate and a bit of sea salt is one of my favorite flavor combinations. I see that you added some espresso to the batter as well - that is always so nice as it intensifies the flavors even more - and I am impressed by your Latin as well - I studied it for five years in school but I rarely stumbled upon some lovely Latin phrases on blogs - how fun!
    Your cupcakes look like a pretty healthy/delicious treat to me!

  16. If I've ever wanted to see a testosterone-loaded cupcake, this is it!

    great job, and I swear I am not a fond of cupcakes either, but this one seems perfect, not too sweet and not too big. The way I like it

  17. Heck cupcakes are perfect for anyone, whoever said it is a gender type food is crazy. I love them because it helps me from slicing a BIG piece of cake! One should do it and these topped with the ganache are perfect! And look at you busting out the Latin, bravo!

  18. I can't believe how fluffy these are, and they look like the perfect amount of fudgy. I like simple frostings too because so often a traditional frosting is way to sweet for my taste and ruins the taste of the cake! Awesome job all the way around on these!

  19. These look AMAZING and I am so making them this weekend.


    -Sayeh, The Office Stylist

  20. Hi! Need some help, please.
    When I added the coconut sugar to the egg whites, they promptly deflated. No amount of continued beating 're-flated' them. I whipped two more egg whites, folded in the deflated sugar/egg white mixture, then continued with the recipe. Any ideas why the egg whites deflated when I added the sugar?
    What is the reason for whipping the whites with the sugar? Could I just put all the sugar with the egg yolks and beat them? Then whip the whites separately all by their lonesome selves?
    Also, does the coconut oil serve any function other than to help the chocolate melt smoothly? I was wondering if I could reduce it by 1/3, because I thought the coconut flavor a bit too pronounced for me.
    Otherwise, the cupcakes are in the oven. Looking particularly luscious. Can't wait to cool and frost and devour.
    Thank you for a promising recipe!

    1. The reason for whipping the whites with sugar is that sugar interacts with the egg white proteins to help stabilize the whipped egg foam, which is a delicate protein network.
      When you add the sugar while beating the egg whites, it's important to always add sugar in a stream, slowly at the side of the bowl while the whites are being whipped; do not dump it in the center - or they'll just deflate.
      However, if you try folding sugarless egg whites in the chocolate mixture, they'll deflate immediately.

      The coconut oil helps the chocolate melt smoothly, use less if you find the flavor to be too strong.

      Hope this helps!

    2. Thank you so much for the quick reply. Thinking back, I was probably impatient adding the sugar to the whites, and I know for certain I didn't add it in a along the side of the bowl but right in the center of the beaters. Culprit identified!
      No matter my haphazard skills, the cupcakes are delicious: light and airy and melt in your mouth delicate. And I've not made the ganache yet. (It's that impatience rearing its ugly head again....)
      Thanks again. Will certainly be making these again.

  21. Can you substitute coconut oil for canola oil?

  22. When I went paleo/primal, I didn't look at sweets as I was afraid I would start down a slippery slope. But, I needed a dessert for a party and these rocked! More than several asked why I made a dessert that didn't fit my new eating regimen. Many of your recipes have become part of my repertoire. Thanks for all the sharing that you do. Happy 2016!

  23. These look so delicious! I am looking for a birthday cake recipe- do you think I could make this into a cake?