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Ancho Chile Chocolate Cake Recipe

Ancho Chile Chocolate Cake Recipe

This nearly flourless chocolate cake gets a hint of spice with the addition of ancho chiles, a dried form of the poblano. Paired with salted almond ice cream and almond brittle, this rich dessert covers all the bases in textures and flavors.

Ingredients

For the ancho chile chocolate cake:

  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 3 dried ancho chiles
  • Simple syrup
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 ounces butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • Pinch of salt

For the salted almond ice cream:

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus more for the almonds
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar, not packed
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups fat-free milk
  • 1 ½ cups half and half
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup whole almonds

For the almond brittle:

  • 1 ½ cups almonds, blanched and sliced
  • 1 ½ cups butter
  • 2 ½ cups sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Directions

For the ancho chile chocolate cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the chocolate chips in a mixing bowl and set aside.

Roast chilies in sauté pan 1-2 minutes. Re-hydrate chiles with simple syrup. Peel and seed chiles, then purée and set aside. In a pot, bring juice and sugar to a boil and pour over chocolate. While mixer is on a low speed, add butter and chile paste. Add eggs one at a time. Add flour and salt. Pour mix into baking containers (medium ramekins) and place in a water bath (put ramekins in baking dish and add water until 1/3 of the way up the side of the ramekins. Avoid getting water into the ramekins). Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the salted almond ice cream:

In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs until well blended. Set aside.

Pour the heavy cream into a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice and set a medium-mesh sieve on top. Set aside.

In a sauce pan on medium heat, melt the butter, stirring constantly, until it just begins to brown. Add the the brown sugar and salt. Stir until the sugar completely melts. Slowly stir in milk and half and half. Heat until sugar is completely dissolved, but do not boil as it will cause curdling. Slowly pour half of the milk and sugar mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly. Then add warmed egg mixture back into the sauce pan with remaining milk-sugar mixture.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden or heatproof rubber spatula, scraping the bottom as your stir, until mixture thickens and coats the spatula, about 5-7 minutes. Pour the custard through the sieve and stir it into the cream. Add vanilla and stir until cool. Chill in refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay almonds on a roasting pan in a single layer, coat with melted butter. Bake until lightly toasted, about 6-8 minutes. Let cool. Chop almonds and set aside.

Pour chilled cream mixture into ice cream maker and churn for 25 minutes or to desired consistency. Add chopped almonds and churn for another 5 minutes. Serve immediately or place covered in the freezer.

For the almond brittle:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread almonds on a baking sheet and toast until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

In a heavy sauce pan over medium-high heat, combine butter, sugar, water, and salt. Stir constantly. Brush side of pot down with a wet pastry brush to remove sugar crystals. Boil, without stirring, until sugar is melted, and mixture is a caramel color, about 8-10 minutes.

Remove from heat and immediately add almonds, stirring quickly to combine. Working quickly, pour mixture on baking sheet, spreading evenly. Allow to cool, then break into pieces.

Scoop ice cream onto brownie and gently push in a chunk of brittle.


Mexican Devil’s Food Cake

Eggs should keep a consistent and low temperature. This is best achieved by placing their carton in the center of your fridge. The eggs should also remain in their original packaging to avoid the absorption of strong odors.

It is wise to follow the “best by” date to determine overall freshness, but eggs can be tested by simply dropping them into a bowl of water. Older eggs will float while fresh eggs will sink. This is due to the size of their air cells, which gradually increase over time.

Cooked eggs have a refrigerator shelf life of no more than four days, while hard-boiled eggs, peeled or unpeeled, are safe to consume up to one week after they’re prepared.

How to Cook Eggs

The beauty of an egg is its versatility. Eggs can be cooked in a variety of ways. Here are some tips in accomplishing the four most common preparations.

Scrambled: Whip your eggs in a bowl. The consistency of your scrambled eggs is a personal preference, though it seems like the majority of breakfast connoisseurs enjoy a more runny and fluffy option. In this case, add about ¼ cup of milk for every four eggs. This will help to thin the mix. Feel free to also season with salt and pepper (or stir in cream cheese for added decadence). Grease a skillet with butter over medium heat and pour in the egg mixture. As the eggs begin to cook, begin to pull and fold the eggs with a spatula until it forms curds. Do not stir constantly. Once the egg is cooked to your liking, remove from heat and serve.

Hard-boiled: Fill a pot that covers your eggs by about two inches. Remove the eggs and bring the water to a boil. Once the water begins to boil, carefully drop in the eggs and leave them for 10-12 minutes. For easy peeling, give the eggs an immediate ice bath after the cooking time is completed. For soft-boiled eggs, follow the same process, but cut the cooking time in half.

Poached: Add a dash of vinegar to a pan filled with steadily simmering water. Crack eggs individually into a dish or small cup. With a spatula, create a gentle whirlpool in the pan. Slowly add the egg, whites first, into the water and allow to cook for three minutes. Remove the egg with a slotted spoon and immediately transfer to kitchen paper to drain the water.

Sunny Side Up/Over Easy/Medium/Hard: For each of these preparations, you are cracking an egg directly into a greased frying pan. For sunny side up, no flipping is involved. Simply allow the edges to fry until they’re golden brown. To achieve an over easy egg, flip a sunny side up egg and cook until a thin film appears over the yolk. The yolk should still be runny upon serving. An over medium egg is flipped, fried, and cooked longer until the yolk is still slightly runny. An over hard is cooked until the yolk is hard.

How to Freeze Eggs

Eggs can easily be frozen, but instructions vary based on the egg’s physical state. As a general rule, uncooked eggs in their shells should not be frozen. They must be cracked first and have their contents frozen.

Uncooked whole eggs: The eggs must be removed from their shells, blended, and poured into containers that can seal tightly.

Uncooked egg whites: The same process as whole eggs, but you can freeze whites in ice cube trays before transferring them to an airtight container. This speeds up the thawing process and can help with measuring.

Uncooked yolks: Egg yolks alone can turn extremely gelatinous if frozen. For use in savory dishes, add ⅛ teaspoon of salt per four egg yolks. Substitute the salt for sugar for use in sweet dishes and/or desserts.

Cooked eggs: Scrambled eggs are fine to freeze, but it is advised to not freeze cooked egg whites. They become too watery and rubbery if not mixed with the yolk.

Hard-boiled eggs: As mentioned above, it is best to not freeze hard-boiled eggs because cooked whites become watery and rubbery when frozen.

Ingredients (13)

  • 3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature, plus more for coating the pans and parchment
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs

Recipe Summary

  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for buttering the paper
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 5 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 5 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper and butter the paper. Dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess.

In a medium bowl, whisk the 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour with the cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until incorporated. In 3 alternating additions, add the dry ingredients and sour cream, scraping down the side of the bowl between additions.

Scrape the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake the cakes on the lower and middle racks of the oven for about 30 minutes, until golden and springy and the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer the cakes to racks and let cool for 15 minutes, then turn the cakes out and let them cool completely. Remove the parchment paper.

In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter until creamy. At low speed, beat in the confectioners' sugar. Increase the speed to high and beat until fluffy, scraping down the side of the bowl, about 2 minutes longer. At low speed, beat in the cream, vanilla, cinnamon, ancho chile powder and cayenne, then gradually beat in the bittersweet and white chocolate. Scrape down the side of the bowl and the paddle, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light, 3 minutes longer. Using a wooden spoon, vigorously beat the buttercream for 30 seconds to deflate any air bubbles.

Place one cake layer on a plate and spread with 1 cup of the frosting. Top with the second cake layer and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides. Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes. Bring to room temperature before serving.


Gallery

  • 2 ½ ounces dried pasilla chiles (also called chile negro) or 2 1/2 dried ancho chiles plus 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (see notes)
  • 1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • ¾ cup (6 oz.) butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar or finely crushed piloncillo sugar (see notes)
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Powdered sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or 1 tablespoon coffee-flavored liqueur such as Kahlúa

Lay chiles in a single layer on a 12- by 15-inch baking sheet. Bake in a 400° oven just until pliable, about 2 minutes. Wearing rubber gloves, break off stems, shake out seeds, and break chiles into small pieces, dropping into a small bowl discard stems and seeds. Cover chiles with warm water and let soak until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain chiles and put in a blender with 1/3 cup water whirl until smooth, adding 1 more tablespoon water as needed to make a thick paste. Push purée through a fine strainer discard residue. You need 1/3 cup chile purée. If using ancho chiles, stir cayenne into the chile purée.

Line bottom of a 9-inch cake pan (sides at least 1 1/2 in. tall) with baking parchment.

In a large bowl nested over a pan of simmering water (water shouldn't touch bottom of bowl), combine chocolate and butter. Stir occasionally just until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth, about 8 minutes. Remove from over water and whisk in 1/3 cup chile purée, the egg yolks, vanilla, and flour until mixture is blended.

Pour brown sugar into a small bowl and stir or whisk to break up lumps and loosen. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on high speed, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until very frothy and foamy. Gradually add brown sugar to whites, beating until stiff, moist peaks form. With a whisk, fold a third of the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture until well incorporated. Then fold in remaining whites just until blended. Scrape batter into prepared pan.

Bake cake in a 425° regular or 400° convection oven until it appears set and center barely jiggles when pan is gently shaken, about 15 minutes. Let cool in pan on a rack for about 15 minutes. Run a knife between cake and pan rim, then invert onto a serving platter. Lift off pan and peel off parchment. Let cake cool about 30 minutes, then chill until firm and cold, at least 4 hours cover cake once completely chilled.

For best texture, let cake come to room temperature before serving, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Sift powdered sugar lightly over cake (for a pattern, lay a stencil on cake before sifting the sugar, then carefully lift it off).

In a bowl, beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Stir in vanilla. Cut cake into wedges and serve each with a dollop of whipped cream.


Ancho Chile Devil's Food Cake

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How to Make It

Lay chiles in a single layer on a 12- by 15-inch baking sheet. Bake in a 400° oven just until pliable, about 2 minutes. Wearing rubber gloves, break off stems, shake out seeds, and break chiles into small pieces, dropping into a small bowl discard stems and seeds. Cover chiles with warm water and let soak until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain chiles and put in a blender with 1/3 cup water whirl until smooth, adding 1 more tablespoon water as needed to make a thick paste. Push purée through a fine strainer discard residue. You need 1/3 cup chile purée. If using ancho chiles, stir cayenne into the chile purée.

Line bottom of a 9-inch cake pan (sides at least 1 1/2 in. tall) with baking parchment.

In a large bowl nested over a pan of simmering water (water shouldn't touch bottom of bowl), combine chocolate and butter. Stir occasionally just until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth, about 8 minutes. Remove from over water and whisk in 1/3 cup chile purée, the egg yolks, vanilla, and flour until mixture is blended.

Pour brown sugar into a small bowl and stir or whisk to break up lumps and loosen. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on high speed, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until very frothy and foamy. Gradually add brown sugar to whites, beating until stiff, moist peaks form. With a whisk, fold a third of the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture until well incorporated. Then fold in remaining whites just until blended. Scrape batter into prepared pan.

Bake cake in a 425° regular or 400° convection oven until it appears set and center barely jiggles when pan is gently shaken, about 15 minutes. Let cool in pan on a rack for about 15 minutes. Run a knife between cake and pan rim, then invert onto a serving platter. Lift off pan and peel off parchment. Let cake cool about 30 minutes, then chill until firm and cold, at least 4 hours cover cake once completely chilled.

For best texture, let cake come to room temperature before serving, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Sift powdered sugar lightly over cake (for a pattern, lay a stencil on cake before sifting the sugar, then carefully lift it off).

In a bowl, beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Stir in vanilla. Cut cake into wedges and serve each with a dollop of whipped cream.


Recipe Summary

  • 2 dried red chile peppers, seeded, or to taste
  • 1 ½ cups chopped dark chocolate
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 cup blanched almonds
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 6 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 ½ cups chopped dark chocolate
  • 2 (1.2 ounce) packages milk chocolate bars, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar

Place chiles in a bowl with water to cover let soak until slightly softened, about 15 minutes.

Place 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter in top of a double boiler over simmering water. Stir frequently, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid scorching, until chocolate is melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line a 10-inch springform pan with parchment paper.

Place chiles in a food processor process until finely chopped. Add almonds, cocoa powder, flour, and cinnamon process until almonds are chopped. Add Greek yogurt. Mix chile mixture thoroughly into the bowl of melted chocolate to make the batter.

Place egg yolks and egg whites into 2 different bowls. Place 3/4 cup sugar into the bowl of egg yolks mix until fluffy and creamy. Stir carefully into the batter.

Beat egg whites until foamy using an electric mixer. Add 6 tablespoons sugar gradually, continuing to beat until medium peaks form. Blend meringue carefully into the batter pour batter into the prepared pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cake cool, at least 20 minutes.

Combine 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and 2 tablespoons butter in a bowl.

Combine 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream and 2 tablespoons sugar in a saucepan over medium heat bring to a boil. Pour over the bowl of chocolate mix thoroughly. Let ganache cool, at least 15 minutes. Spread over the cake.


Recipe Summary

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) box devil's food chocolate cake mix
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground ancho chile pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground ancho chile pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar, or more as needed
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ teaspoon clear vanilla extract, or to taste
  • 24 small dried red chiles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners.

Empty the boxed cake mix into a mixing bowl, and whisk in 1 1/2 teaspoon of ground ancho chile and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat in the water, vegetable oil, and eggs beat for 2 minutes. Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake cups, filling them 2/3 full.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Remove and cool completely before frosting.

In a bowl, sift 1 teaspoon of ground ancho chile, 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and the cinnamon with the confectioners' sugar. Beat in the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until the frosting is smooth mix in the vanilla extract. Spread the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes in attractive swirls, and poke a small dried chile, stem-side up, into the frosting as a garnish.


Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake

Katherine Hysmith of the Young Austinian shares her cake version of a Texas Christmas tradition: a lightly spiced cake based on her family's holiday table hot chocolate.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (227g) milk
  • 1 dried ancho chili, broken in half
  • 2 1/4 cups (269g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (43g) unsweetened cocoa, Dutch-process or natural
  • 1/2 cup (71g) hot chocolate mix or 1/2 cup (56g) Sweet Ground Chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 cups (298g) sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (113g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup (64g) vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (113g) water
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (198g) sugar
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (227g) heavy cream
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 cup (170g) dark or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • marshmallows for decoration

Instructions

To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease three 8" round pans, and dust them with cocoa powder.

In a small saucepan set over low heat, bring the milk and ancho chili to a low simmer for 5 minutes. Remove them from the heat and set aside to cool completely. When cool, discard the chili.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa, hot chocolate mix, cinnamon, chili powder, and sugar. Add the butter and mix at low speed for 1 minute. With the mixer running, add the oil and continue to mix until the mixture looks like sand.

Add the vanilla and water to the chili-infused milk, and slowly add to the bowl with the mixer running. Mix for 1 minute on low speed, stop and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 22 to 24 minutes, or until the top springs back when touched in the center, and the cake just begins to pull away from the edge of the pan. Remove the layers from the oven, and place on a rack to cool completely. Once cool, turn the layers out of their pans.

To make the frosting: In a double boiler over simmering water, combine the sugar and egg whites, whisking to combine. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk.

Whip at low speed for 1 minute. Add the cream of tartar, corn syrup, vanilla, and salt, and whip for 1 minute more. Increase the speed to medium and whip for 2 minutes, then increase speed to high and whip until very stiff peaks form, about 5 to 7 minutes more. Scrape the bottom of the bowl, whip for another 30 seconds, and set aside.

To make the ganache: In a small saucepan set over medium heat, bring the cream and spices to a low simmer. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate chips. Whisk to combine until a smooth and shiny ganache forms. Let cool a few minutes before using.

To assemble the cake: Place a layer on a serving plate. Pipe a thick ring of frosting on top, about half an inch from the edge of the cake. Fill the ring with more frosting. Gently place a second layer of cake on top and repeat the frosting steps. Place the final layer on top and frost the entire cake. Using a lightly greased offset spatula or the back of a spoon, carefully smooth the frosting on top of the cake.

When the ganache has cooled slightly, use a spoon to drizzle it down the sides of the cake. Spoon more ganache on top of the cake and smooth to make an even layer. Before the ganache sets, carefully pile marshmallows on top. Let the cake sit at least 30 minutes before slicing.


Cinnamon Cake with Chile Chocolate Buttercream

A light and airy cinnamon cake frosted with the fluffiest, creamiest chile chocolate buttercream.

Here’s the thing. This post is all about the buttercream.

The buttercream, it is so stinking good. Can you see the little flecks of cayenne pepper hiding in there? Can you see how light, creamy and just spoonable it is? I wish I could pass the spatula full of frosting around to each and every one of you because this buttercream is on a different level. It’s spicy, but not really spicy. In fact, my mom noted that the spices actually enhance the chocolate flavor. You can tell there is a little something special in the frosting, but without having an explanation, you might not be able to pinpoint the combination of ancho chile powder, cinnamon and cayenne.

The frosting was a perfect compliment to a cinnamon flavored cake. And while I do love cinnamon I can’t wait to make the frosting again and slather it all over my favorite chocolate cake. I actually went back and forth on posting this cake at all, because the texture of the cinnamon cake didn’t blow me out of the water. But like I said, the buttercream was phenomenal. So do yourself a favor and make the frosting immediately.