Nigella’s flourless chocolate lime cake

Today is my Birthday! One of my favourite things about Birthdays is the cake. I’m a firm believer in the ridiculous lie we all tell ourselves ‘it doesn’t count, it’s my Birthday’ and I also like to make Birthdays last a few days either side of the actual date. Of course I also had to have a separate cake for my Birthday blog post didn’t I? I’ve been eying off this recipe ever since I got Nigella’s new book for Christmas but thought my Birthday would be the perfect time to give it a go. It lived up to Nigella’s description of being ‘so damn easy to eat.’ Too easy!

The star of the show

It’s also one of the easiest gluten-free recipes I’ve ever made. You could leave out the lime if you’re not a fan but I think it adds a little something special.

Lots of eggs

The first step is to melt the chocolate and butter together. I did this in a heat-proof jug in the microwave. While it’s melting, measure out the rest of your ingredients.

Beat it

In the bowl of an electric mixer (you can do it with a hand mixer but it will be a lot of work!), beat together the eggs and sugar until they are about tripled in volume, pale in colour and have a moussy texture.

Cocoa and almond meal

Mix the almond meal with the cocoa and gently fold it into the egg and sugar mixture.

Chocolate and lime

Add the chocolate and lime juice and zest and gently fold them through until everything is combined.

Tin time

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake the cake in a 160C fan-forced oven for 40-45 minutes. It will be a little gooey in the middle when it’s done but firm on top.

Cool it

When the cake is done, remove it from the oven and leave it in the tin on a wire rack to cool. Nigella says to cover it with a tea towel when it has cooled slightly to stop it developing a crunchy top. I personally like the crunchy top so I didn’t listen to her but feel free to be obedient.

Flourless chocolate lime cake

Remove it from the tin when cool and dust generously with icing sugar.


Serve it up and enjoy!

I’m off for a day of culinary delights finishing with dinner at my favourite Italian Viale Cannova.

Nigella serves her cake with Margarita Cream but as mine was for afternoon tea not a decadent dessert I left this bit out. Feel free to email me for the recipe though.

Flourless chocolate lime cake - Happy Birthday to me!

Flourless chocolate lime cake - Happy Birthday to me!

Yield: 10 - 12

Adapted from Nigella Lawson's latest book 'Kitchen'


  • 150g (5.5oz) dark chocolate, chopped
  • 150g (5.5oz) soft unsalted butter, plus some for greasing
  • 6 eggs
  • 250g (9oz) caster sugar
  • 100g (3.5oz) almond meal
  • 4 teaspoons best-quality cocoa powder, sifted
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • icing sugar to dust


  1. Preheat the oven to 160C(320F) fan-forced. Grease and line the base of a round spring-form tin.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter together in the microwave (or on the stove) and set aside to cool.
  3. Beat together the eggs and sugar until about tripled in volume, pale and moussy. This is easiest in a freestanding mixer but you can use a hand held if you need. Be prepared for a little arm workout though.
  4. Mix the almond meal with the cocoa powder and fold this gently into the egg and sugar mixture, followed by the chocolate and butter then fold in the zest and juice of the lime.
  5. Pour and scrape the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes. Nigella says that the cake will be just firm on top but still have a bit of wobble.
  6. Remove from the oven and sit the cake in the tin on a wire rack to cool. Once the first heat has left it, drape a clean tea towel over the cake to stop it getting too crusty (unless you like it like that which I do).
  7. When cold, remove the cake from the tin and dust with icing sugar.

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