Chocolate Pavé · GF (12 large slices or 20 small ones)

It’s traditional to cut this torte into rectangular pieces to resemble paving stones, hence the name pave. With that in mind, I have instructions for baking it in a rectangular pan, but of course you can bake it however you like. If you’d rather have a round torte, use a spring form pan because the torte can be a little tricky to remove from a traditional cake pan.

flourless chocolate cake

Chocolate Pavé
12 ounces unsalted butter
6 ounces bourbon
16 ounces honey
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 tsp kosher salt
9 ounces dark chocolate
4 ounces cocoa
6 eggs
1 egg yolk

8 ounces cream
8 ounces dark chocolate
2 ounces honey

In a medium pot, melt the butter together with the bourbon, honey, and vanilla bean. When the butter has melted, turn the heat up so the mixture simmers very gently. Let it simmer for 10 minutes. Shut off the heat and steep for at least 30 minutes, or as long as you like, honestly.

Meanwhile, prepare a 9” x 13” metal baking pan by lining it with two sheets of tin foil, and greasing it lightly with pan spray or melted butter.

Preheat the oven to 300°

When you’re ready to proceed with the recipe, return the mixture to a simmer. Remove the vanilla bean (using a spatula to scrape out the buttery-vanilla goo from inside the pods) and whisk in the chocolate and cocoa powder. Reserve the vanilla beans for the ganache. Once you’ve whisked in the cocoa and chocolate, shut off the heat. Let this mixture cool slightly, about five minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and yolk together in a small bowl. Set a strainer over the chocolate mixture and pour the eggs in, whisking until they pass through. Discard any eggy bits that remain. Gently stir the eggs into the chocolate, just until homogeneous.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and rap it against the counter once or twice to release any air bubbles. Bake for about 20 minutes, or just until the cake becomes slightly firm to the touch. Remove and cool, in the pan, for about an hour.

While the cake is baking, bring the cream to a simmer with the vanilla bean. Shut off the heat and let it steep until the cake has cooled. When you’re ready to glaze the torte, bring the cream back to a simmer, remove the vanilla bean (again, scraping out the vanilla-y goodness from the inside of the pod) and whisk in the chocolate and honey.

Pour the warm ganache over the torte, use an offset spatula to make sure the ganache spreads to all of the corners. Refrigerate until the ganache firms.

To remove the torte from the pan, run a knife around the sides to loosen it and gently tug at the foil. When the torte moves freely away from the sides, use the foil to gently lift it out and onto a cutting board.

Tip the torte over so it stands up on its side, then peel off and discard the foil. Cut the torte into even portions using a clean, sharp knife. I like to dip the knife into a pitcher of very hot water and dry the blade briefly on a towel before slicing. The warm knife slices the torte into beautiful, clean portions.

Let the torte come to room temperature before serving. If you’d like, gently run the flame of a blowtorch over the ganache to bring out its shine.

For the composed dessert I made here, serve along side a cocoa nib Florentine, cranberry compote, and candied hazelnuts.


« Back to the Recipe Box

Any questions?

Dec 02, 2011 ·  5:50 AM

Hi Stella. Is there a substitute to bourbon for this recipe? I’d love to try this but we don’t take alcohol in our food and drinks…

 · Sumaiyyah ·

Dec 02, 2011 ·  9:52 AM

@Sumaiyyah, you can replace it with coffee or strong black tea if you like. I’m particularly fond of it with Earl Gray.


Apr 29, 2012 ·  2:39 AM

Hey Stella! How well does this recipe freeze after portioning? Thanks!

 · Fuse · 

Apr 29, 2012 ·  4:22 PM

@Fuse, very well! It has such a dense, silky texture and pronounced chocolate flavor that it survives freezing quite nicely. I haven’t really experimented enough to find an upper limit, but I’ve frozen it for a few weeks before.


Jan 23, 2013 ·  4:57 PM

Hi Stella. When you say dark chocolate what percentage do you mean? I used 75% and it was too much in my opinion plus it looks a lot darker than the one in your picture. Thank you.

 · clodishk · 

Jan 24, 2013 ·  8:29 AM

Hi clodishk! I probably used a 72% on the one in the photo, it was a long time ago and I’m not sure which chocolate I was using at the time. I think the studio lights played a big role in “lightening” it. The pave is very, very dark. The real question is, how did you like the taste? Too dark too?


Jan 24, 2013 · 11:59 AM

I finished making it at about 11pm on a working day so I ate a bit before the ganache had a chance to harden and it tasted very very dark but the next morning when everything was set it was…divine… i even made the candied hazelnuts to resemble at least partly to yours . thank you so much for sharing Stella!!!

 · clodishk · 

Jan 26, 2013 ·  3:16 PM

Hi clodishk! The ganache definitely has a darker flavor than the cake itself, but I’m glad you liked how they balanced out together. I’m sure it looked spectacular, those hazelnuts always make a splash. Thanks for taking the time to report back!


Apr 08, 2013 ·  9:23 AM

Stella! Stella!!! Stella!!! You are beautiful and so talented!! I don’t know how I found you months ago, but I’m glad I did, your art is wonderful and delicious. We all, I’m sure, have missed your posts, WE know you’re busy…..BUT!!! LOL…Best of luck (that means work harder!), post when you have time, and much success!!! Jim

 · Jim W · 

Apr 08, 2013 ·  9:29 AM

Hi Jim! Thank you so, so much. I am determined to never go so long between posts, again. It’s such a huge encouragement to write here on the blog, whereas writing the book is so lonely. I’ve missed having that sort of engagement with folks. Thanks for taking the time to write!


Apr 08, 2013 ·  9:31 AM

Thank you for this posting ! I appreciate your efforts and was just thinking aout your posts yesterday and here you are. It must be pastry ESP. Keep going, good things come to those who wait

 · Redhead · 

Apr 08, 2013 ·  9:43 AM

Redhead, omg, wouldn’t pastry ESP be the best super power ever?? Well….I think it would be! So glad I could deliver just when you were craving something.


Apr 08, 2013 ·  2:19 PM

Stella!!! This is absolutely wonderful. ..i cant wait to make this with my petruchska earl grey infusion! Do you think maybe I could add some diced candied orange in?

 · chefpinky · 

Apr 08, 2013 ·  2:52 PM

Stella, reading your blog made me think about how hard you work and how little credit you are giving yourself. With art, I do not believe there is such a thing as perfection. There are only different ways of expressing your art. If you search for perfection as your goal, you will never find it. There is always something that can be tweaked, something that might be better (but which might not actually BE better), someone who will criticize what seemed perfect to you. Enjoy the journey, embrace your successes, be our hero. I am looking forward to your cookbook. You are amazing!

 · Jackie · 

Apr 08, 2013 ·  5:48 PM

@chefpinky, absolutely! The pave is very flexible to mix-ins and what not. Hope you enjoy!!

@Jackie, thank you so much for that. I rarely think of myself as an artist, but it’s a good analogy because of how subjective the results of my efforts are. I’m still learning to pursue “different” rather than “perfect.” Tough to let go of those old ways of thinking.


Apr 08, 2013 ·  7:13 PM

I read this post at 7am…how am I gonna get thru the day now without having to think about Pavé?!!! winks

 · Huda · 

Apr 08, 2013 ·  7:57 PM

I discovered your blog about 2 months ago and I’ve been checking it daily since your last post. What can I say, I’m hooked! Such beautiful and inspiring work! That’s all..I just wanted to thank you for your hard work and to let you know how much it’s appreciated.

 · Lauren · 

Apr 08, 2013 ·  8:19 PM

Found you when I was attempting to make Macarons for the first time and your advise was most helpful. You are obviously passionate about your subject from the get-go.

You could blog but once a year, if that is what you wanted, and your blogs would always be the most welcomed in my in-box.

You always come across as friendly, warm, knowledgeable, and a little naughty, food philosopher. I also love the fact that I always have to look up something because of you (zeno’s paradoxes). Your friends would probably love even if you didn’t bake so well.

 · Valérie · 

Apr 08, 2013 · 10:52 PM

@Huda, thinking about pave is even better than Zen meditation.

@Lauren, this is the longest I’ve ever gone without posting, so hopefully you won’t have to wait like this again. I used to be once a week, without fail, but now I’m more like 3 times a month.

@Valérie, you sweet, sweet lady. Thank you so much for the encouraging words; truly, it’s everyone who comments here that keeps me going, and the whole reason I’m even writing a book in the first place. Thank you.


Apr 09, 2013 ·  2:03 PM

When you find yourself thinking that something ‘has’ to be ‘perfect’ remember

“Perfect is the enemy of the good.”

All of your recipes that I have seen look very good. If you had waited for them to be perfect, I never would have seen them!

By the way, I remember finding your blog from a link somewhere to your Champagne Marshmallows recipe.

 · naleta · 

Apr 10, 2013 ·  7:18 PM

Stella… all I can say is you make my day EVERY time I stop by 310 thursday afternoons to work on the wine order with Brandon… I smile goofily, breathe deeply and say wistfully.. “I LOVE STELLA”… You are my hero. SOOOO looking forward to the book.

 · kelly · 

Apr 11, 2013 ·  9:23 AM

Nice to meet you,love your work. I came across your name in Food & Wine magazine and then was assigned to do a pastry chef biography for my Baking & Pastry class. Thank you for inspiration!!! I am more excited than ever about what I do. As I wife, mother, chef and student, I can tell you that pursuit of perfection is a journey, not a destination. Best of luck, Looking forward to the book!

 · atm1003 · 

Apr 11, 2013 · 10:15 AM

@naleta, “perfect is the enemy of good.” Wow. I like that. Thanks for sharing!

@kelly, so you’re the mysterious lady at the bar!! Haha. Say hey next time, there’s no reason for you to not have a snack during the wine order…

@Amy, I’m so glad you found me! Thanks for stopping by and good luck in your classes!


Apr 11, 2013 ·  4:40 PM

I don’t have a question exactly. Just an exclamation about this dessert and your willingness to share it. Oh. My.
That is all.

 · kingwell · 

Apr 20, 2013 · 12:18 AM

Stella, If I do not use the vanilla pod, At what stage can I add the vanilla extract?. Then in the beginning do I just simmer the butter, alcohol n honey and then proceed as normal? Can I use Baileys instead because it is just sitting in my fridge….

 · Gerryberry · 

Apr 20, 2013 · 10:47 AM

Hi Gerryberry! You can absolutely use the Bailey’s! If you’ve got corn syrup or maple syrup, you can use that in place of the honey (if you think honey and Bailey’s would taste weird). Just stir in the vanilla extract with the eggs. Hope you like it!


Apr 21, 2013 ·  9:37 PM

SOrry but a choice between Baileys and Motzart, what do you think I should go for?Can I use golden syrup instead of maple or corn? Hope it works!!!! So sorry for bothering you with subs always, would love to make it to yours as close as possible. Thanks for your help!!!!

 · Gerryberry · 

Apr 22, 2013 ·  9:01 AM

Hmmmm. I’ve got a soft spot for Mozart, and I’m not a huuuuge Bailey’s girl, so the choice for me would be pretty easy. But if you like Bailey’s, then it would be a great choice, and it’d offer a lot more contrast than the Mozart. Also, you’ll be good to go on the Golden Syrup. Happy baking!


Apr 23, 2013 · 11:47 PM

I like Mozart too, I just want to finish off my bottle of Baileys!!!!! Thank you so much Stella for your help. Always…. always look forward to your posts…..It is like a real treat for me!!!Good luck with your writing… can’t wait for the book. Waiting to pre order..

 · Gerryberry · 

Apr 26, 2013 ·  9:19 AM

Well, in that case, Bailey’s is is!! Hahaha. Thanks so much for the encouragement. I was up til 3am writing last night, whew!


Apr 28, 2013 ·  5:49 PM

Welcome back, lovely lady! I’ve missed your posts but BOY did you make up for it with THIS beauty! Ok…cocoa: regular, Dutch process?? I just swooned over this…love you, Stella…you were my first, you know…food blogger. You’ll always be my favorite.

 · MerryMary · 

Apr 30, 2013 ·  9:31 AM

Aw, MerryMary! The first time’s always special, lol! I really, really love Dutched cocoa too. Thanks so much! Hope you enjoy the pave if you have a chance to whip it up.


Jul 04, 2013 · 10:13 PM

I just found you today…what a treat! Thank you for being so generous as to share your recipes and, well, yourself. Question about the Pave above. What is that delectable vanilla looking pool under it? (Browned butter sauce?) That looks like something I would want to ‘test’ (repeatedly) by the spoonful! Thank you, again, for sharing so much!

 · Harriet · 

Jul 05, 2013 ·  8:41 PM

Hi Harriet! It’s actually an anglaise that I flavored with fudge chunks. No real recipe per se, though I should probably think about writing it down next time, haha. You can look up my vanilla bean ice cream recipe here on the blog, then flavor it with a Tablespoon of cocoa for a similar taste (and look!).


Sep 01, 2013 ·  9:39 PM

Had a chocolate pave with nutella in a restaurant tonight, but they weren’t being generous with the recipe. Any recommendations for adding Nutella in this recipe – how much and how to adjust other ingredients? Many thanks in advance!

 · explorestory ·

Sep 04, 2013 ·  9:59 PM

Hi explorestory! Oh goodness, hmmm…. I haven’t actually ever had real Nutella (I know, I know!), so I’m not sure how much sweetness and added fat it packs. Buuut, this recipe is very friendly to experimentation. I think you could easily make it as is, then whisk in Nutella to taste and (perhaps) season with extra salt, and bake as normal.


Oct 08, 2013 ·  1:45 PM

you suggested the idea of using a round pan for chocolate pave. The area of a 9-inch spring form pan is smaller than that of a 9’x13’ pan. Will this change the baking time and perhaps even the texture of the dessert? I want to try using a round pan. Would you recommend using 1/2 of the recipe? Thank you.

 · unkown  · 

Oct 11, 2013 · 11:34 AM

Hi unkown. Quite right on changing the baking time of the pave, but the texture stays the same either way. In the 9×13 pan, it comes out pretty thin, maybe only an inch thick or so. With the round pan, it will be a little shy of 2”, but you can cut smaller slices. Or, as you suggest, you can make a half batch! It’s really up to you and what you want the thickness final pave to look like. Good luck!


Oct 13, 2013 · 12:17 PM

Thanks, Stella.

 · unknown  · 

Mar 09, 2017 ·  9:38 PM

It’s fantastic that you are getting thoughts from this piece of writing
as well as from our argument made at this place.

 · ig ·

Mar 15, 2017 · 11:48 AM

I all the time used to read article in news papers but now as I am a user of net therefore from
now I am using net for articles or reviews,
thanks to web.

 · Augusto de Arruda Botelho ·

Mar 24, 2017 ·  4:28 AM

Hey, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility
issues. When I look at your website in Chrome,
it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that,
amazing blog!

 · Roger ·

Jul 05, 2017 ·  8:33 PM

Greetings! I’ve been following your website for some time now and finally got the bravery
to go ahead and give you a shout out from Kingwood Texas!
Just wanted to mention keep up the excellent work!

 · picayune ·

Sep 26, 2017 ·  1:45 PM

… imagery is very drool-tiful… your writings are imaginative, and recipes are mmmmjoyfull.

 · l'beth · 


After clicking "preview" you must click submit to post your comment.