These flourless chocolate cupcakes are decadent and satisfying with the rich bitterness of dark or bittersweet chocolate playing against the cool, subtle sweetness of sour cream whipped cream. My two-year-old told me these cupcakes were spicy! Ha!

They keep super well at room temperature in a sealed container and you’ll find that one cupcake is enough to satisfy!

Recipe note: If you like your chocolate confections sweeter or more mild, considering using semi-sweet chocolate in the place of bittersweet or true dark cacao chocolate. You could also use only one bar of dark/bittersweet instead of two if you want a milder flavor. We like the complexity of super dark, bitter chocolate so we go full throttle with the recipe as is!

The sour whipped cream is just out of this world! The sour cream adds more body, tang and richness and stands up against the rich chocolate very well making a perfect balance. Honestly, it’s just love at first bite!

PS: The whipped cream recipe makes much more than needed for the cupcakes. Just make it, you’re welcome;)


Gluten-free flourless chocolate cupcakes with creme fraiche whipped cream


  • 1 cup butter
  • 7 ounces (2 bars) bittersweet or very dark (like 72% cacao) chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder (or instant coffee or espresso grounds)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup real cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, beaten.


  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 4-5 Tablespoons sugar (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pint sour cream


~ Preheat oven to 375 degrees

~ Spray or line a 12 muffin pan (I like the reusable silicone liners myself)

~ Dissolve espresso powder in 2 Tablespoons hot water

~In a large bowl, combine chocolate and butter and microwave for 30 seconds at a time, whisking vigorously in between, until smooth

~ Stir in all remaining cupcake ingredients until combined. I tend to add the eggs last so the chocolate mixture has had time to cool a bit

~ Pour batter evenly into muffin tin and bake for about 20 minutes until just set. Let cool completely.


~ Combine whipping cream, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir until sugar dissolves.

~ Beat with a hand or stand mixer until peaks form. Add sour cream and beat for another 30 seconds or so.

~ Top each cupcake with a crazy amount of the whipped cream. I also sometimes add a sprinkle of cinnamon or candied ginger over the whipped cream for extra flavor.


So I’m way over here on the left coast and my mom and her delectable homemade fudge are all the way on the right coast. ‘Nuff said, I’m sure you see my problem. This week I’ve remedied the fudge part of that equation. Mom is still on the east coast, a total bummer, but a slightly tweaked version of her holiday fudge is in my fridge. Mmmmmm happy day! She makes her’s with a can of sweetened condensed milk (14 oz) and 3 cups of semi-sweet morsels. I altered the recipe just a bit to make it even darker and shockingly vegan but it is just as rich, chewy and smooth as mom’s very own!

I make homemade coconut milk which is thinner than the commercial canned version. This recipe will outline how to make sweetened condensed homemade coconut milk with notes on using the canned version as well. That said, feel free to use regular sweetened condensed milk if you’re short or time or don’t really care to make your own coconut version.

If you’re far from family like I am, you know how these little tastes of home can make the holiday season a bit warmer. I hope you all enjoy delicious homemade fares from the ones you love this season.

all rights reserved Crystal Cartier 2012 copyright


  • 4 cups homemade coconut milk or 2 cans full fat coconut milk (~14oz each)
  • 1/2 c  Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot powder (*ONLY if using homemade coconut milk)

~In sauce pan, combine coconut milk and honey.

~Simmer vigorously in a large heavy sauce pan until liquid is reduced by half and color is pale amber. Stir regularly. Liquid should have a light syrup consistency.

~If using homemade coconut milk, whisk in cornstarch/arrowroot powder and simmer vigorously for another minute. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate until use.

*Makes just under 2 c


  • 4oz unsweetened cocoa baking bar, broken up
  • 2-1/3 cup semisweet chocolate (1- 12oz bag plus 1/3 cup)
  • 14 ounces (just under 2 cups) homemade sweetened condensed coconut milk OR 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • large pinch of salt
  • 1 cup chop nuts
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • unsweetened toasted coconut chips (or shreds)

~In a heavy sauce pan over low heat melt chocolate with chosen condensed milk then add salt. Whisk thoroughly.

~Remove from heat, add vanilla and nuts. Spread evenly into wax paper lined 8 or 9 inch square pan. Sprinkle top heavily with coconut chips.

~ Chill for two hours or until firm. Turn fudge onto cutting board, peel off paper and cut into squares. Store covered in refrigerator.

ENJOY!!! (thanks Mom;)

all rights reserved Crystal Cartier 2012 copyright

food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier

This one gets it’s name from it’s ability to seriously punch you in the face. With a double shot of espresso, whiskey, and pure cocoa this sweetly bitter treat is truly a “slugger”, not to mention the “pow!” it gets from a pinch of chili pepper. If you don’t have chili pepper you can substitute a small pinch of cayenne. I love this warming treat when the cooler fall nights roll in. It’s the perfect drink for a movie night, deliciously decadent with just enough punch to keep you awake for the next 2 hours! 😉

Don’t forget share your favorite hot drinks with us!

all rights reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2012

makes 2

  • 2 shots espresso or very strong coffee
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup whiskey or bourbon
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 drop almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon ancho chili powder or 1 dried red chile (remove chile before serving)
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

~ Heat espresso, milk, whiskey, chocolate, cinnamon, almond extract and chili powder over low heat whisking constantly until chocolate melts. Do not boil! Pour into mugs.

~ Whip heavy cream and sugar until it forms soft peaks. Top each mug with whipped cream and serve.


This one is a total death by chocolate, but at least it’s a rich, decadent death;) The cake itself is such a pure, unadulterated chocolate indulgence that is only made richer by the lusciousness of bittersweet ganache and the earthiness of raw pistachios. Bright green pistachio hues play nicely against the glistening dark chocolate for a breathtaking presentation. This was my wonderful friend Jenny’s unofficial birthday cake and I think she left pretty pleased. A small slice will satisfy even the most ravenous of cravings! It’s a good day to be a food photographer;)

Chocolate Cake with Raw Pistachios


  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • 10 ounces grated bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • raw pistachios (available at health food and persian markets)

~ Preheat oven to 350. Grease or spray a bundt pan. In medium bowl, pour boiling water over cocoa, and whisk until smooth. Let cool. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

~ Preheat oven to 350. In medium bowl, pour boiling water over cocoa, and whisk until smooth. Let cool. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Grease or spray a bundt pan.

~ In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at time. Stir in vanilla. Add the flour mixture and the cocoa mixture. Pour into bundt pan.

~ Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool.

~ Place grated chocolate in a bowl, heat milk until it almost boils, pour over chocolate and whisk smooth. Pour over cake, top generously with raw pistachios.

* Feel free to use boxed cake mix. The ganache and pistachios make it extra rich and simply incredible!


Dark Chocolate Cake Batter

Chocolate Cake Ingredients

 food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier

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