Flourless Chocolate Cake & Late Bottled Vintage Port


There are multiple varieties of port, each with their own unique profile. But with our flourless chocolate cake we look to a Late Bottled Vintage Port, rather than a Tawny Port or Ruby Port. What are the differences you ask (you did ask, right?).

Beginning with Rubys and Tawnys, Ruby are mostly red while Tawnys are mostly brown. Both are sweet, but Rubys are sweeter and more fruity while Tawnys are more nutty. Tawnys are aged for decades, while Rubys are young.

A Late Bottled Vintage Port is developed from a Ruby port of a single vintage, and was allowed to age longer than a Ruby (up to six years) but far less than a Tawny, which can be aged from 10 to 40+ years. While the vintage matters no different than a true Vintage Port, a Late Bottled Vintage Port is far less expensive.

And why is flourless chocolate cake a perfect match for it?

A Late Bottled Vintage Port is heavy, rich and dark...just like the chocolate in our flourless chocolate cake, which presents more like the center of a chocolate truffle than your typical cake. Remembering our guidelines for pairing like with like, matching the profiles of your wine and dessert, while keeping your wine a little more sweet than your dessert, is how you play culinary cupid like a boss.

The Food




For the cake...
1 cup (170g) semisweet chocolate chips or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) (113g) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (149g) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 teaspoons espresso powder, optional
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
3 large eggs
1/2 cup (43g) Dutch-process cocoa

For the glaze...
1 cup (170g) semisweet chocolate chips or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup (113g) heavy cream


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a metal 8" round cake pan; cut a piece of parchment to fit, grease it, and lay it in the bottom of the pan.

To make the cake...

  1. Place the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the butter is melted and the chips are soft.
  2. Stir this until the chips are melted, reheating for a short time if necessary. You can also do this over a burner set at very low heat, but be careful not to overcook/burn the chocolate.
  3. Now transfer the melted chocolate/butter to a mixing bowl.
  4. Stir in the sugar, salt, espresso powder, and vanilla. 1 teaspoon of the Espresso will enhance the flavor of the chocolate, while 2 teaspoons will add a hint of mocha to the cake.
  5. Lightly beat the eggs until smooth and add to your mixture.
  6. Add the cocoa powder, and mix just until combined.
  7. Spoon the batter into your prepared pan.
  8. Bake the cake for 25 minutes or until the top forms a thin crust (the center of your cake should read at least 200°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into its center.)
  9. Remove it from the oven, and cool it in the pan for 5 minutes.
  10. Carefully loosen the edges of the pan with a table knife, and turn it out onto a serving plate (the edges may crumble a bit) The top is now the bottom.
  11. Allow the cake to cool completely before glazing.

To make the glaze...

  1. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. 
  2. Heat the cream in a saucepan until it's not quite at a simmer, but showing fine bubbles around the edge.
  3. Pour the cream over the chocolate, stirring briefly to combine, and let rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir again — first slowly, then more vigorously — until the chocolate is completely melted and the glaze is smooth. If any bits of chocolate remain, reheat briefly in the microwave or over a burner, then stir until smooth.
  5. Spoon the glaze over the cake, spreading it to drip over the sides a bit. Allow the glaze to set for several hours before serving the cake.

The Wine



One of my favorite producers is Graham’s. They make a Late Bottled Vintage Port that is delicious, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a better representation for less than its $25 a bottle. Be sure to chill the bottle in the fridge for about an hour before serving.

Profile Brief:
Primary Grapes: there are over 50 different varieties that may be included in a port blend, but some of the major players include Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, and Tinta Roriz (aka Tempranillo).
Secondary Grapes: see above
Body: Full
Acidity: Moderate
Tannins: Med-High
Alcohol: High
Flavors: Dried fruits like prunes and raisins, leather, little floral, and almond and walnut notes.

Photo Credit
This was the line up at my Graham’s tasting. Their tasting room is a beautiful and elegant library full of dark wood and attention to fine detail, and where I spent the better of two hours one glorious Saturday afternoon. After seeing how much I was enjoying my tasting, and seeing me take meticulous notes for the better of 30 minutes on just the aromas before taking my first sip, the staff brought me a few more glasses of off-menu port that was incredibly special.

Buen Provecho!

Expressing to you so much more than simply "enjoy your meal".