Spicy Hot Chocolate Cake

Torta cioccolato e peperoncino | tortaoragione.it

Spicy Hot Chocolate Cake my first “commissioned” cake. The commissioner had something very specific in mind. The briefing was: a thin, soft chocolate cake with a strong spicy hot flavor.
The thing that seemed closest to this description was the Tenerina Cake, a brownie-like cake typical of the city of Ferrara. This is where I started from in my quest for the Spicy Hot Chocolate Cake.

For the commissioner my first experiments lacked that spicy hot kick. I finally found the right balance but the recipe I suggest here is less aggressive in hot flavor.

Obviously the choice of chili pepper has a great impact on the final product. Among the many tests I also tried the espelette, a chili pepper of the Basque Country that is often used in pastry making due to its low level of spiciness. But its high cost and the difficulties in retrieving it made me look for something else.
During my research I discovered less pungent chili pepper types, such as the Amazon Chile Roma or the Trinidad Perfume.

I tried planting some seeds but my thumb is gray more than green and they never grew.

In the end I opted for a readily available chili pepper powder: RS Chilli Powder extra hot (I’m in no way affiliated to this product). Around here it can be found in ethnic food shops, and online of course.
In my version I put 1 ½ tsp (roughly 4g / 0.14 oz) but in the spicy hot version I used 2 full tsp (roughly 10g / 0.35 oz).

When you taste this cake don’t be fooled by its initial sweetness, the spiciness comes eventually…

Spicy Hot Chocolate Cake

Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Servings: 8
Ingredients for a 20 cm / 8 in cake pan

Ingredients

  • 55 g flour 1.9 oz
  • 20 g cocoa powder unsweetened 0.7 oz
  • 150 g butter 5.3 oz
  • 30 g coconut oil 1 oz
  • 210 g dark chocolate 7.4 oz
  • 70 g egg yolks 2.5 oz
  • 200 g egg whites 7 oz
  • 60 g sugar 2.1 oz
  • 40 g brown sugar 1.4 oz
  • 1 e ½ tsp chili pepper powder roughly 4g / 0.14 oz
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  • Chop the dark chocolate and melt it in the microwave or in a bain-marie. If using the microwave let it cook at maximum power for 10 seconds. Stir the chocolate with a spoon and put it back in the microwave for another 10 seconds. Keep doing this until melted. This method will prevent the chocolate to burn.
  • In a small pot melt the butter together with the coconut oil.
  • Add the chili pepper powder and mix.
  • Using a handheld mixer beat the egg yolks with the brown sugar until fluffy. Add the coconut oil and butter mixture and whip to combine the ingredients.
  • Add the melted chocolate.
  • Preheat the oven at 180° C (355° F). Grease and flour a 20-22 cm (8-9 in) round cake pan, or use non-stick spray instead. I used a 20 cm (8 in ) pan.
  • In a different bowl start whipping the egg whites, and as the gain volume slowly add the sugar.
  • Keep whipping until they have soft peaks, i.e. not completely firm.
  • Using a spatula gently fold the whipped egg whites into the other ingredients.
  • Pour the batter in the prepared pan and bake at 180° C (355° F) for 25 minutes. Insert a toothpick to check the cooking. Toothpick should come out somewhat clean.
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