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Monday, March 31, 2008

Casey's Molé Cake

I love a challenge, especially when it involves a cake. This year for Casey's very special birthday, I was tasked to make a cake for someone who loves savory and chocolate. I wasn't about to make a bacon cake (her other favorite food). We decided on chili and chocolate. Taking influence from Casey's request and 312 square feet's boyfriend, Octavio's homeland, I made a Molé Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting with Pequin Chili. It had a creeping spice and was definitely rich.

I combined a classic chocolate buttermilk cake recipe with the ingredients for a traditional mole. The only thing I couldn't find was pumpkin seeds, so I would substitute with ground sesame seeds or even 2 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter.

I also was able to bust out my birthday present for the first time! I got a Quisenart from Octavio and I finally got to use it to grind up the chilies to a fine powder. I was so excited by this gift. I finally get to retire my pour abused blender!

Not for the faint of heart, this adventuresome cake was loved by the birthday girl, but the spice was too unexpected for some palates!

Molé Cake

8 onces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups water
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ground pequin chilies
1 whole dried ancho chili seeded and ground
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dried cloves
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, ground or creamy peanut butter or 1 tablespoon ground sesame seeds
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 sticks of butter
5 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 375. Grease and flour 2 nine inch cake pans.

Bring the water to a boil and pour over the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder. Let sit for about 1 minute before beginning to whisk until smooth.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl. Add the ground chilies, cinnamon, clove and if you are using ground seeds add those.

Cream the butter and sugars together in a large bowl. Add each of the egss one at a time, beating well in between. Add vanilla, buttermilk, peanut butter if you are using it, and beat until well combined.

Add about 1/3 of the four mixture and mix. Add in half of the chocolate and combine. Repeat adding in chocolate and flour until all is just mixed.

Pour into to the cake pans and bake for 45-55 minutes depending on your oven. This yields a very dense rich chocolate cake.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting with Pequin Chili

12 onces good quality dark semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups cream
4 tablespoons butter, sliced into pats
3/4 teaspoon ground pequin chilies
2-3 cups powdered sugar

Heat the cream until just bubbling. Pour over the chopped chocolate and chili. Let stand about a minute to melt the chocolate then whisk until smooth. Add the butter and mix until well combined. Let the mixture cool completely, stirring occasionally. Beat with an electric mixer and sift in the powdered sugar until it has a nice smooth texture.

Assemble the cake by cutting each completely cooled layer in half. See my post on the Black and White Cake for the technique. Layer the frosting and the cake layers. Top with some red sugar for effect!

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