How to Dress a Cake that’s Easier and Quicker than Frosting


Dennis Weaver

Flourless Chocolate Cake MixIt’s not necessary to frost a cake.  It’s quicker and easier to top it.  And better.  Whether you’re making a sheet cake or a round cake, something as simple as a scoop of ice cream and a sauce can transform it into a terrific, fancy dessert.

The pictures in this article are of flourless chocolate cakes—they’re dense and moist and luscious—but you can do the same with your favorite cake recipe.  If you would like to make a great flourless chocolate cake, try this easy flourless chocolate cake mix.

We suggest three choices—or a combination thereof: ice cream, whipped cream, and dessert sauces.  To these, you can add fruit or nuts—or even get a little crazy with things like peanut butter. Just use your imagination.

Your grocer’s ice cream freezer has a dozen good choices. You can make your own sauces—and we share some recipes in this article—but we sell a very nice selection of professional dessert sauces.  You can use ice cream toppings.  You can use fruit or cream pancake syrups.

But where it starts getting really wild is when you start making flavored whipped cream. The basic flavored whipped cream substitutes another flavor or extract for vanilla and usually brown sugar for the white sugar.  From there you can add cinnamon or ginger—maybe some pumpkin pie spice.  We often add an ounce of cream cheese for every cup of cream.  It adds flavor and stabilizes the whipped cream.  You can add nuts or peanut butter.  Click here to see whipped cream recipes.

Use the recipes below as templates to get your creative juices flowing.  Here are additional recipe ideas to try:

Chubby Cherry Cream Cheesecake Flourless Chocolate Cake:  Top the cake with cream cheese filling and then with Chubby Cherry Topping.  Add cherry cream cheese whipped cream.

Cherry Pineapple Cream Cheese Flourless Chocolate Cake.  Cream cheese filling and pineapple filling is a wonderful combination. Top your cake with cream cheese filling and then pineapple filling.  For color and flavor, chop maraschino cherries and sprinkle them over the top.

Turtle Flourless Chocolate Cake.  Cover the top of your cake with caramel ice cream sauce.  If it’s too thick, heat it just a bit in the microwave.  Sprinkle with pecans and drizzle with chocolate ganache.   Add a scoop of ice cream.

Rocky Road Flourless Chocolate Cake.  When the cake comes out of the oven, immediately sprinkle it with miniature marshmallows.  They should partially melt.  If they don’t put the cake bake in the oven for a couple minutes.  Remove the cake and drizzle with chocolate ice cream sauce or ganache and sprinkle with chopped nuts.

Flourless German Chocolate Cake

Everyone loves German chocolate cake.  This is a simple version made with a flourless chocolate cake.
One flourless chocolate cake, cooled
German chocolate cake topping (recipe follows)
whipped cream or ice cream
Top the chocolate cake with the German chocolate cake topping.  Cut into slices and serve with caramel whipped cream or ice cream.  Top with chocolate ice cream sauce.

German Chocolate Cake Topping
3/4 cup canned evaporated milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 1/3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup chopped pecans

In a small pan, bring the evaporated milk, brown sugar, and butter to a boil. Boil for three minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the coconut and pecans. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Strawberries and Cream Flourless Chocolate Cake

This is a wonderful flourless chocolate cake to serve in the spring when the strawberries are in season. It is topped with Bavarian cream and fresh strawberries, then drizzled with strawberry sauce, and topped with strawberry cream cheese whipped cream.

One flourless chocolate cake, cooled
1 cups Bavarian cream pastry filling
fresh strawberries, sliced
strawberry sauce (recipe follows)
strawberry cream cheese whipped cream
Top the chocolate cake with Bavarian cream filling.
To serve, cut the cake into slices and place on dessert plates. Top each slice with strawberries. Drizzle with the strawberry sauce. Top with the whipped cream and serve immediately.

Strawberry Sauce
12 ounces, about 3 cups frozen, unsweetened strawberries
2/3 cup red currant jelly
about 1/4 cup sugar

  1. Thaw and puree the strawberries. Place the puree in a small saucepan. Add the jelly.
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the jelly is completely melted and blended with the fruit. Sweeten to taste with the sugar while it is still hot. Stir to make sure that the sugar is dissolved. Let cool.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Whipped Cream
2 cups whipping cream
1 teaspoon strawberry flavor
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
With an electric mixer, whip the sugar and cream cheese together.  Add the flavor and whipping cream and continue whipping until soft peaks form.
You can add pink food coloring to this recipe if you choose.

Tin Roof Sundae Flourless Chocolate Cake

This is another fancy flourless chocolate cake fit for a special occasion.  It is made with a combination of Bavarian cream, peanut butter, and chopped peanuts all atop a flourless chocolate cake.

One flourless chocolate cake, cooled
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup Bavarian cream pastry filling
peanut butter chocolate sauce (recipe follows)
whipped cream

Warm the peanut butter in the microwave until it is soft and easy to stir.  Mix the Bavarian cream and peanut butter together in small bowl. Top the chocolate cake with the peanut butter filling.
To serve, cut the cake into slices and place on dessert plates. Drizzle with the peanut butter chocolate sauce. Top with whipped cream and serve immediately.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Sauce
3/4 cup heavy cream
9 ounces dark chocolate wafers
1/3 cup peanut butter

Bring the cream to a boil. In a medium bowl, pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted. Stir in the peanut butter. Let the sauce cool enough for serving.  If the sauce becomes too thick, reheat the sauce or stir in more cream.

Chocolate Cherry Cordial Flourless Chocolate Cake

This makes a gorgeous, very fancy flourless chocolate cake—certainly fit for a special occasion and yet it is not very much work.  It is an easy flourless cake topped with a cherry pastry filling and drizzled with a chocolate amaretto sauce. (Amaretto is a flavor commonly used in cherry chocolate cordials.)

One flourless chocolate cake, cooled
1 cup cherry pastry filling (see notes)
powdered sugar for dusting
chocolate amaretto sauce (recipe follows)
whipped cream

Top the chocolate cake with the cherry pastry filling.  To serve, cut the cake into slices and place on dessert plates.  Dust each slice with powdered sugar.  Drizzle with the chocolate amaretto sauce.  Top with whipped cream and serve immediately.

Baker’s note:  Pastry filling is more intensely flavored and a finer texture than is pie filling.  In a pie, there is more filling than crust and the filling must be pleasing by itself.  In a pastry, there is more of balance between filling and pastry and hence the filling has more flavor. 

Chocolate Amaretto Sauce

3/4 cup heavy cream
9 ounces dark chocolate wafers
1 teaspoon amaretto flavor
3 tablespoons butter

Bring the cream to a boil. In a medium bowl, pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted. Stir in the flavor and butter. Let the sauce cool enough for serving.  If the sauce becomes too thick, reheat the sauce or stir in more cream.

Raspberry Flourless Chocolate Cake

This cake will please a crowd. We topped this cake with a delicious raspberry sauce, fresh raspberries, and ice cream. Raspberries alone are not tart and not flavored enough for a dessert sauce even when thickened with a starch.  There are two possible solutions:  Cooking the fruit down to concentrate the flavors or adding a jelly for thickness and flavor.  This recipe uses the latter.

One flourless chocolate cake
12 ounces, about 3 cups frozen, unsweetened raspberries
2/3 cup red currant jelly
about 1/4 cup sugar

  1. Thaw and puree the raspberries.  Strain them twice through a sieve/strainer or until nearly all of the seeds are removed.  Place the puree in a small saucepan.  Add the jelly.
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the jelly is completely melted and blended with the fruit.  Sweeten to taste with the sugar while it is still hot.  Stir to make sure that the sugar is dissolved.  Let cool.
  3. Drizzle on the flourless cake and garnish with fresh raspberries.

Yield: About 1 1/3 cups of raspberry sauce.

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