Elegant, fragrant and delicious, this chilli chocolate cake is filled with apricot buttercream and topped by a glossy chocolate ganache. It’s a perfect cake for an adult’s birthday party. The hint of chilli might be too much for the kids.
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 rather than cocoa.
Steenbergs Chilli Drinking Chocolate
A few weeks ago, an unexpected parcel arrived in the post. Childlike I know, but I still get very excited by parcels, especially unexpected ones. Having reviewed these drinking chocolates back in June, Steenbergs thought I might like to try a tin of their chilli version. And a tin with a label on it too. Last time, they were still waiting for the labels to be printed, so I received two unlabelled tins – which was fine by me as I can now use them for other purposes.
Of the three drinking chocolate varieties, this was my favourite. It has a real kick to it and I love the warmth it leaves behind in mouth, throat and stomach. It’s not quite as sweet as the others either, which gave it the thumbs up from me. I’d happily sip on this all winter long. But a word of warning, this one is not for the faint hearted; CT thought it was like a hot iron fist concealed within an unctuous velvet glove.
I reckoned that this drinking chocolate would make rather a good cake. A mild chilli effect with just a trace of warmth was what I was after. Luckily a friend came around for tea before I’d greedily finished drinking it as hot chocolate. I duly made a chilli chocolate cake and it worked just as I’d hoped.
Chilli Chocolate Cake
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 Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe from the Guardian that the very same friend had given me a few weeks earlier. It was for a wicked looking chocolate hazelnut cake that I will have to make one day. I was, however, completely intrigued by the glossy ganache topping. It’s not something I’ve come across before. So I thought I’d make something similar to crown my chilli chocolate cake.
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. For it 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.
Can I Use Something Other Than Drinking Chocolate?
If you really want to, you could omit the chilli and use ordinary drinking chocolate instead. Alternatively use plain drinking chocolate and add ¼ to ½ tsp cayenne pepper. If, however, you don’t have any drinking chocolate, you can substitute it with cocoa, although this will give a more chocolatey flavour to the cake. This could well be a good thing.
Other Chilli Chocolate Recipes You Might Like
- Chilli chocolate ice cream
- Chilli chocolate madeleines (also made with this drinking chocolate)
- Chocolate mincemeat with chilli chocolate
- Cookie dough energy balls with chilli chocolate chips
- Chilli chocolate cupcakes
- Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies
- Spicy chocolate madeleines
Keep in Touch
Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make this chilli chocolate cake, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.
Chilli Chocolate Cake. PIN IT.
Chilli Chocolate Cake – The Recipe
Chilli Chocolate Cake with Apricot Buttercream & Glossy Chocolate Topping
- 50 ml hot water
- 25 g chilli drinking chocolate
- 25 g cocoa powder
- 175 g unsalted butter
- 100 g golden caster sugar (I used cardamom sugar)
- 100 g light brown muscavado sugar
- a pinch of fine Himalayan pink rock salt or sea salt
- 200 g flour (half wholemeal spelt, half white)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 4 large eggs
- 75 g fat free Greek yoghurt
- 75 ml milk
- 100 g ground almonds
Apricot Curd Buttercream
- 50 g unsalted butter
- 100 g icing sugar
- 3 heaped tbsp apricot curd (or fruit curd of your choice)
Glossy Chocolate Topping
- 50 g golden caster sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
- 50 ml water
- 100 g dark chocolate (I used 85%)
- 10 g unsalted butter
- Pour the hot water over the drinking chocolate and cocoa and stir until smooth.
- Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the cocoa mixture and salt.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing in a tbsp of flour after each one to prevent curdling.
- Sieve in the remaining flour, baking powder and bicarb of soda and stir until just mixed.
- Add the yoghurt and milk and mix gently in.
- Fold in the ground almonds.
- Spoon into two 22 cm round silicone cake moulds or lined tins and bake at 180℃ (350℉, Gas 4) for 35 mins or until well risen and firm to the touch.
- Leave to cool for ten minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Apricot Curd Buttercream
- Cream the butter and icing sugar together until soft, then beat in the apricot curd.
- Spread over one cooled sponge, then sandwich with the other.
Glossy Chocolate Topping
- Place the sugar and water in a small pan and warm gently until the sugar has dissolved. Boil for 3 minutes, then take off the heat and cool to warm rather than hot.
- Break 80g of the chocolate into pieces and add to the pan along with the butter. Leave for a couple of minutes to melt, then stir until smooth.
- Allow to cool a little, then pour over the cake.
- Grate the remaining 20g of chocolate and scatter over the top - optional.