Chocolate Chilli Cake – We Should Cocoa 13
When Chele announced that this month we were to make something suitable for the We Should Cocoa first birthday party, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I’d been eyeing up Pam Corbin’s Chocolate Cake recipe since I first acquired her excellent book Cakes (no 8 in the River Cottage Handbook series). I was intrigued by her use of drinking chocolate powder in the recipe.
It seemed like a perfect opportunity to use the Steenbergs chilli drinking chocolate that I’ve been trying not to drink too greedily. I was hoping this would give a very mild chilli effect with just a trace of warmth. So, all that was needed was the excuse of a friend coming to tea and I set to with a will. Apart from using the chilli drinking chocolate, I followed the recipe pretty much as written for the actual cake. But the filling and topping I changed. Amazingly, I still had some apricot curd in the fridge, but it really did need using up and I thought this would provide a nice contrast to the chocolate. For the top, I was inspired by a Hugh Fernely Whitingstall recipe from the Guardian that our friend had given me. It was for a wicked looking chocolate hazelnut cake that I will have to make one day. The Ganache was a little different and was meant to give a glossy top, so I thought I’d do something similar.
This is what I did:
- Stirred 50 hot water into 25g chilli drinking chocolate and 25g cocoa until smooth.
- Creamed 175g unsalted butter with 100g cardamom sugar and 100g light brown muscavado sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat the cocoa mixture and a pinch of Himalayan pink rock salt into the butter mixture.
- Sieved 200g flour (half spelt, half white), 1 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp bicarb of soda.
- Beat in 4 large eggs one at a time, mixing in a tbsp of flour after each one to prevent curdling.
- Stirred in the remaining flour.
- Added 75g fat free Greek yogurt and 75ml milk and mixed gently.
- Folded in 100g ground almonds.
- Spooned into two 22 cm cake moulds and baked at 180C for 35 mins.
- Removed and left to cool.
- Sandwiched together with apricot curd buttercream made with 50g unsalted butter, 100g icing sugar and 3 heaped tbsp apricot curd.
- Dissolved 50g vanilla sugar in 50ml water and boiled for 3 mins.
- Allowed to cool to warm rather than hot.
- Added 80g broken dark chocolate (85%) and 10g unsalted butter.
- Stirred until smooth.
- Allowed to cool a little, then poured over the cake.
- Grated 20g dark chocolate (85%) and scattered over the top.
This was a wonderfully moist cake, perfectly cooked and risen. It was also surprisingly fragrant courtesy of the cardamom sugar. I’m guessing that as I’d been away for a while the cardamom pods in the sugar had time to do their work without being interrupted by me. The apricot filling provided a nice contrast to the chocolate. I was really pleased with the glossy chocolate top which set firmly and dribbled elegantly down the sides without gushing all over the plate. It tasted good too, a nice chocolate hit to a cake which wasn’t particularly chocolatey. The chilli worked just as I hoped it would and was a hint rather than an assault. It added a depth to the flavour and left a very faint tingle in the mouth and throat. All in all a worthy offering for our first birthday party.