Nana Jose’s Flourless Chocolate Pecan Cake

Nana Jose’s Flourless Chocolate Pecan Cake
Print Recipe
10 servings Pastel de Chocolate y Nuez de la Nana Jose
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter plus 1 tablespoon for buttering the pan
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Pinch of kosher or coarse sea salt
  • confectioners' sugar optional
  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream optional
  • Berries optional
To Prepare
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line bottom with parchment paper.
  • Bring about 2-inches of water to a simmer in the bottom half of a double boiler or in a medium saucepan. Place the top half of the double boiler, or a metal bowl or heatproof pan if not using a double boiler, over the simmering water and melt together the chocolate and the 1/4 cup butter. Set aside to cool.
  • Using a blender, chop the pecans finely. Add the eggs, vanilla, sugar, salt and melted chocolate mixture, blending until smooth. Pour the batter into the buttered springform pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out moist but not wet, about 40 minutes.
  • Once it has cooled a little, run the tip of a knife around the pan and release the cake from the pan. Invert onto a plate, and then again, or serve directly onto plates if left on bottom part of springform pan. If desired, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve with whipped cream and berries.
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter plus 1 tablespoon for buttering the pan
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Pinch of kosher or coarse sea salt
  • confectioners' sugar optional
  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream optional
  • Berries optional
To Prepare
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line bottom with parchment paper.
  • Bring about 2-inches of water to a simmer in the bottom half of a double boiler or in a medium saucepan. Place the top half of the double boiler, or a metal bowl or heatproof pan if not using a double boiler, over the simmering water and melt together the chocolate and the 1/4 cup butter. Set aside to cool.
  • Using a blender, chop the pecans finely. Add the eggs, vanilla, sugar, salt and melted chocolate mixture, blending until smooth. Pour the batter into the buttered springform pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out moist but not wet, about 40 minutes.
  • Once it has cooled a little, run the tip of a knife around the pan and release the cake from the pan. Invert onto a plate, and then again, or serve directly onto plates if left on bottom part of springform pan. If desired, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve with whipped cream and berries.

149 comments on “Nana Jose’s Flourless Chocolate Pecan Cake

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  1. Will this cake freeze well? If so, when it is time to serve it, should I set it out to room temperature or heat it up in the oven?

    1. Yes! The cake freezes beautifully Katy. When you are ready to east it just bring it to room temperature before eating.

  2. I just made this cake for my Mom (for Mother’s Day). We doubled the batch and it had to cook longer. Next time I’ll do 1 batch instead. It tasted great. Thank you for sharing the recipe. I really enjoy watching your show on PBS.

  3. We are huge fans of the show! Wish it was available on DVD. We have made this several times and it was always delicious, but tried it with cocoa powder last time and it separated while cooking. Is there a successful way to make it with cocoa powder? Thanks so much!

  4. I made this wonderful cake for my husband for Valentine’s day too. Le encanto! Quiere otro! Gracias Paty you are the best!?
    Saludos desde el Valle Central, California!

  5. Yum I me for valentine’s! Baked in a heart shaped pan. Thank you Patti! I’m married to a Mexican and he loves when I cook things from Mexico.

  6. Hi Pati! I made this flourless cake this afternoon, adding pistachios as the nuts, and it turned out so moist and delicious! Thank you for sharing your husbands favorite cake from his Nana Jose!

  7. Pati,
    My cake did come out with hills and valleys….I came out with a rather perfect light chocolate crust dome. Then “sank” perfectly into a nice flat cake. It didn’t have that nice dark color. So, is it because I used bittersweet morsels, rather the expensive block chocolate? I’m sorry that I didn’t pay attention, as I was listening rather than watching you. What did I miss?

    1. ​Alexis your cake is perfectly perfect! It flattens out after it cools down because of the ingredients it uses and because it is flourless. Hope you liked the taste!​

  8. Thank you for this recipe!!!! It reminds me of my grandama’s whacky cake. That one uses flour, but no eggs!!!
    Love its simplicity!

  9. I honestly couldn’t see how this cake would taste good but when you made this cake for your husband, the look on his face was very convincing that I had to give this cake a try…. it’s DELICIOUS!! I went to a small gathering and it was a HIT! I love your shows, thank you 🙂

  10. I am out of pecans….do you think almonds would be a good substitute? LOVE your show on PBS & your website, thanks!

  11. Hi Pati! My kids and I love your show! (My daughter loves your accent and the way you say salsa!) I made this cake today and it didnt come out flat..at all. One edge raised up like a big wave and the rest is all hills and valleys. Do you know what could have caused this? My batter was a bit stiff before baking, not sure if thats normal or not. It didnt want to simply pour out of the blender. Maybe I over blended? Anyway, thanks for any help you might be able to give! Cant wait to try some more of your delicious recipes!

    1. It should have hills and valleys, which makes it create a delicious uneven chocolaty crust in some areas. It is one of my favorite things about this cake… =)

  12. I love this cake!!! Made it last Thanksgiving and it was a hit! Do you have the nutritional info for those on low carb life style? Mahalo- Mari

  13. Gluten free, schmooten free… I just love this cake!!!! Pati, I am the Program Manager of a place called Valor Home, a transitional housing facility for homeless veterans, in Akron OH . You and your family have an open invitation to visit (and perhaps cook a meal!) anytime. Did I mention I just love this cake? …Michael

  14. Came out yummy. My husband want 3 of them next time since we have 3 spring form pans. 🙂 I made one change-I couldn’t find bitter sweet so I used semi-sweet and then only added half the sugar. It seemed to be fine but will try bitter sweet in the future when I have more time to get to a traditional grocer. I do have one questions Pecans are pretty pricey-have you ever tried it with walnuts or other nuts?

  15. This cake is soooo good! Being gluten free I was anxious to try it. If you love chocolate this is the cake for you!

  16. I am such a big fan! Love, love, love your show. While I’ve enjoyed many chefs’ teachings over the years, your cooking I would eat every day! Your recipes are so much more than ingredients…they are treasured family stories and/or history lessons. I appreciate the complexity of flavors you bring to every dish. I cannot eat peppers but even when you have them as an ingredient, the dish has so many flavor layers, the peppers are never missed.

    This cake is perfection, especially for my gluten free family members. Thank you for sharing so much!

  17. Hi,
    I first made this cake in July 2015 for my mother in law for what turned out to be her last birthday. She loved it! On December 29th I served it again in her honor at a gathering we had after her Memorial Mass. All the generations loved it!

  18. The recipe is the perfect answer to a diabetic’s sweet tooth! Since the carbs from flour wasn’t there, my reading was much lower than when I’d have regular cake. I used a Ninja, but I think that was a mistake. It was harder to clean the blades to get the yummy batter. Will use my Cuisinart next time. I will also send this to my friend who has celiac disease. I think it’ll be okay. I looove your show.

    1. Hola Annie, Thank you so much! Good to know it works for diabetics. And, yes, you can recommend it to your friend; it is gluten free!

  19. paty primero mis respetos a ti y tu familia disfruto mucho de tus resetas las que puedo ver esta me a gustado y gracias por permitirme prepararla a mi familia le a encantado y tienes uans galletas y otros postre enfin muchas delicias saludos y que tengas muchos exitos

  20. Patti, love your show and the simple down home recipes with easily found ingredients! As my hubby and I both love seafood and fish your recipes today will be my menu this coming weekend. We are 60 and 64 respectively and as you get older the taste buds go on the fritz so mexican recipes are a staple at our house. Your recipes have been a wonderful addition! Hope to see you cooking for many years to come and love your travels too! By the way what were the little fish you were shown fishing for today?

    1. Those tiny little fish are called charales. They are the white fish or “pescado blanco” from Patzcuaro, but when they are very tiny. Thanks for watching my show!

  21. I made this cake today to celebrate my mother -in-laws 82nd birthday. Mary Louise Meraz Olivares loved it! Neither she nor anyone else could believe there was no flour in the cake . This is a fantastic recipe. Thank you!

  22. Hola Paty, soy uno de tus más fieles seguidoras me encantan tus recetas, he aprendido mucho Y te estoy muy agradecida, yo soy de Guadalajara y me encantaría que publicaras tus recetas también en español, gracias por tus consejos y tus tips, tienes una maravillosa familia!! Me encanta que enseñes tantos lugares en México se agradecen todos tus reportajes, que Dios te bendiga

  23. Hi, Patti. I love your show so much. I gotta try this cake, could I use a 9inch glass brownie pan instead of springform pan?

  24. This cake looks wonderful. I can’t wait to try it. My family and I love watching your show. My daughter (19) has been inspired to try cooking because you make it look so fun and easy. ¡Gracias!

  25. This is always my go to cake, with a toddler always at my feet it so easy to throw together. It’s very rich and decadent, I always have to make two if I’m taking it to a party (one for home of course)! I’m not big on pecans so I always sub hazelnuts, turns out perfect every time! Thank you!

  26. Hello! Would like to try this recipe at Christmas with roasted chestnuts, but unsure how to measure them. Would doing a rough chop before measuring give an accurate measurement?

    Also, this may seem weird, but would you please consider being a voice/reader for an audio book? Your voice is so sweet & soothing!

    Keep up the great job!

    1. Hola Lori, Yes, a rough chop would work for measuring 1 cup of the chestnuts! I’m laughing so hard over the voice for an audio book! Thank you for your comments!!

  27. I LOVE your show on Create! Could this cake be made with pistachios?
    Thanks for your contagious love of food and your presentation of so many delicious recipes from Mexico!

  28. Love this recipe!! I have made it 3 different times. Once I made 2 for a large family gathering. It was a huge hit, not even crumbs left! Told everyone it was your recipe. My family and I love your show. My hubby and I sit down with the 4 kiddos and watch. You make us sooooo hungry! Thank you for the good food and family time! Blessings, hugs and Besos!

  29. Hi Pati,

    I’ve tried a few of your recipes and loved them. I’m trying this one the flour less cake today. I just one question. Do we need to toast the pecans? Thank you!

  30. I saw your show this past weekend, and the flourless cake recipe was easy to make. hi how ever adapted it to a sugarless recipe using Splenda as I follow a low carb diet. it came out wonderful such great rich taste and so decadent. thank you, pati.

  31. Pati, my wife was recently diagnosed with a gluten intolerance and we saw you making this recipe on TV and were overjoyed that it did not call for any flour. We made it last night and it was wonderful! Now my wife can add another dessert to her choices of gluten free foods. Hope you continue to make gluten free foods in future shows. Thanks!

  32. Hola Paty: A mi esposo y a mí nos encanta tu programa, yo soy Mexicana y él es Americano, pero a los dos nos encanta la comida!! Amo tus recetas y tu acento al hablar inglés yo hablo igual jajaja. Voy a comprar tu libro , me encanta que México tenga una imagen tan bonita y positiva como lo representa tu persona. Un gran abrazo y felicidades !!

  33. Hi Pati,

    This is the fourth recipe I’ve tried from your show… I made it today because my husband and I had some friends over. I topped it with the confectioners’ sugar… Another instant hit!! I love that your recipes are not hard to follow, and they taste amazing!! I love love LOVE your show!!

  34. Hi Pati, just made this for my family. It comes together so quickly and tastes great! I topped it with whipped cream and raspberries. For next time, I’m thinking almonds and orange . . . the possibilities are endless!

  35. A really great and simple recipe. I’ve made it about 3 times so far. Each time was a bit different. The first time I stuck to the recipe exactly and it came out fantastic. Then for the other two I used Coconut oil rather than Butter (Works almost as well since both are solid at cooler temperatures although Coconut oil does begin to melt sooner than butter) and substituted Almonds for the Pecans (Although Pecans are a natural mix with the cocoa since they have a dark Maple type of flavor). Basically you can play endlessly. I should also note that I use Dutch Processed Baking Cocoa Powder. Works really well. I may be putting too much since it is pure Cocoa Powder and this makes the cake a bit more bitter and less sweet but this is desired by my wife and I.

    Thank you for the recipe Pati. I look forward to all of your other recipes.

  36. I love that you are in Michoacán for your third season! My husband is from there. I am ready to print some more of your wonderful recipes to comfort my husband from missing home. Thank you for all your hard work:)

  37. Pati, thank you so much for the recipe. It sounds soo good. (I can’t eat the hot stuff.)
    Just wondering, how do you happen to be in DC?
    So glad for your show.
    Thanks again, Virginia.

    1. Thank you, Virginia! I hope you try the cake sometime. I moved to DC many years ago with my husband and oldest son.

  38. Hi Pati , enjoy watching your show. Excited to try your flourless chocolate cake . I have made your choco-flan and family loved it. Thanks for sharing your recipes. Rose

  39. Looks delicious!! I will do this recipe instead of the cake from the box, can’t wait to surprise the hubby. Thanks again for the wonderful Mexican recipes you showcase on your show. Gracias por la presentacion!! Felicidades!!

  40. Delicioso!!!!! Me pregunto si podría hacerlo sin chocolate para que solo fuera de nuez, añadiendo un poco mas de nuez, qué opinas?

  41. Saw your show the other day. Tried your receipt and agree it couldn’t be simpler or more delicious. Thanks !

  42. as a fan of yours and your show since the beginning, i must tell you how much i’m enjoying season 3! .. luv seeing your sons and hubby – and your visits to mexico, your family there (esp papa 😉 .. you enlighten me about all the choices i have at good mexican restaurants .. and your simpler recipes inspire me to do mexican at home more often.

    i’m not a confident baker so this easy dessert goes into my MAKE SOON file ..
    thank you, pati!

  43. Just wondering if this can be made without the nuts, or if the cake will fail without the nuts (with so few ingredients I imagine they might be an important part of the cake’s structure)? I have a nut-free family but would love to try this…

    1. This looks really good to me too! I have a child with a nut allergy. I’m gonna try using sunflower seeds, instead. It just might work. I’ve made sunbutter cookies, and they taste pretty good. So maybe that substitution will work.

  44. Pati,

    You are so sweet and cheerful, it is wonderful to see your enthusiasm for life. I am making this cake soon. Thank you so much!
    Patricia

  45. Thank you for this easy and reliable recipe. We can’t eat grain and we missed having a luxurious treat. This cake fills every craving. I added a little extra cocoa powder and this gives it a more cake-like consistency. Everyone should try this recipe at least once (but it will probably become a staple). Gracias, Pati….me encanta tu programa!

  46. Made this today and it is absolutely delicious! This will become a staple in my house, great recipe. Try it, you won’t regret it.

  47. As the (middle-aged) child of an excellent cook who loves to experiment, I was raised on international cuisine. The ingredients for this cake are so similar to the classic French flourless chocolate cake – but it’s simplicity make it very Impossible Pie-like. I am hoping it will become a family favorite for my own foodies. Thanks for the passion you bring to your show and to sharing with us the joy you bring to your family table. It is so evident in your show.

    1. Hola Leanne, Thank you so much for your comments! Hope your family likes the chocolate cake, too; let me know what they think…

  48. really; I found the flourless, chocolate cake. have to try this and the pacifica shrimp cocktail… can’t wait till the weekend to get my ingredients!

    looking forward to tasting these fab dishes… first time to see your show last Saturday…
    thanks
    Ruthie

  49. I wish Patty would make this cake without butter. Maybe she could revise this recipe, and use apple sauce, or pears, or…..something so the cake would be reduced fat.

  50. Dear Pati
    I truly love watching your shows. I love how you are so proud of being Mexican and you enlighten your view of the beauty of Mexico and wonderful qualities!!! Thanks you again for being you!

    Perla Marina

    1. Hola Sharon, You may try it with the sugar substitute of your choice instead of using sugar. However, I would only use half amount or less of sugar substitute, since sugar substitutes tend to be much sweeter than sugar.

  51. Pati,
    Esta increible el pastel y muy facil. Me encantan todas tus recetas; tengo tu libro. Las medidas siempre estan correctas y todas las recetas estan deliciosas.
    MG

  52. I made this on Friday and all I can say is:”thank you Nana Jose!” This is so delicious that every time you walk through the kitchen you want a little pinch of that cake. I really think it improves over the next day. Also, this is the easiest cake I have ever made.

  53. Pati,
    Loved this show. I made the Coctel de Camarones and it was delicioso. Tonight I am trying the flourless chocolate cake. It sounds wonderful!

  54. My husband who happens to be from mexico city loves this cake, but says to him it tastes more like a brownie. Is it suppose to taste like a brownie did I do something wrong?

  55. My husband who happens to be from mexico city loves this cake, but says to him it tastes more like a brownie. Is it suppose to taste like a browniebor did I do something wrong?

  56. Pati,

    Love this recipe. Saw you on Create TV last weekend. I have made it 3 times all ready. Family loves it. It is so easy. We have pecan trees and we raise chickens so we have lots of eggs. Perfect recipe.

    Nancy

  57. Can I substitute almonds for the pecans and still expect good results?
    My wife hates “oily” nuts like walnuts and pecans. But she will eat almonds.

  58. I am hooked on Pati’s show and cannot wait until the next episode. I was the star of our Sunday family dinner thanks to Nana Jose’s Flourless Chocolate Pecan Cake. I’m not telling my family how ridiculously easy this was to make.

      1. Thanks Pati, but I ruined it a bit; went 10 over and did not use bittersweet, but organic without any sugar in it, chocolate;, adding a bit more sugar to compensate. Was too dry; my fault.
        Was so simple and yet my thoughts were elsewhere.. Will try another time.

        1. baking is chemistry, you just can’t change the formula and expect the results to replicate the original recipe, people do this all the time and report a bad results.