Have you noticed a lot of non-local ingredients cropping up on the blog of late? Citrus jam, orange chicken, honey roasted nuts? While I don’t make it a goal to eat 100% from my local foodshed (in part because I believe it is harshly restrictive for no good reason, but mostly, I suspect, because I don’t like rules) I do try to limit the non-local ingredients to occasional luxuries rather than every day ingredients. They’ve been showing up more often of late, because let’s face it: this winter has been lllllloooooooonnnnnnnnnggggggg. April is always the cruelest month for the Northeast locavore: this year Mother Nature is being especially cruel, with snow, temps in the 30’s, howling winds, sleet, freezing rain and the dreaded “wintry mix.” The first tantalizing shoots of Spring will be slow in coming I fear. What’s a local girl to do?
Indulge. That’s right: because eating should be a pleasure, and while I have enough kale and pumpkin squirreled away to last me until strawberry season, the bloom on the squash blossom has definitely faded. Most of what I eat on a day to day basis is still sourced locally: I have a good supply of preserves and put-ups left from last year, I’ve still got a healthy store of vegetables and berries in the chest freezer and I’m lucky enough to have a year-round farmer’s market for meat, cheese, milk, butter and winter produce. But the tastebuds deserve a treat at this time of year, and this cake is nothing if not indulgent.
Rich, creamy, fabulously moist chocolate cake; not quite as dense as some of the flourless torte recipes out there, but so rich that a tiny sliver will do, and fresh fruit, whipped or ice cream make an excellent accompaniment. The chipotle in this cake really sings: unlike some chocolate-chile desserts, where the chile is a mere whisper of spice, this is full on burn, and wonderfully so. The recipe is from Garrett McCord of Vanilla Garlic fame, and he gets the balance of velvety chocolate, smoky, spicy chipotle, and rich butter and eggs perfect. Not only is the cake delicious, it’s incredibly easy to make; the hardest part of this recipe was unearthing the springform pan from the depths of the garage “extra pastry gear” storage. What else can I say? If you’re a chile head, you should make this cake. If you like chocolate, you should make this cake. If you’re breathing, you should make this cake. Go now – unearth that springform pan and make your day!
- 10 oz semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces (I used Divine 70% dark which is, well, divine)
- 7 tbsp butter
- 5 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar (organic turbinado)
- 3/4 tsp ground chipotle powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- dash of cayenne pepper
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 and 1/2 inch springform pan, cut a parchment circle to fit the bottom, then grease the parchment.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar. Add spices; whisk again to incorporate evenly.
- Combine chocolate and butter in a medium, heat-proof bowl. Microwave, in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. (Water is your enemy when melting chocolate; if you heat the chocolate so fast that steam forms, you risk seizing the chocolate, i.e. nasty clumps form that cannot be melted and you have to throw it all away. Oh, the humanity! Slow & steady wins the race here). Alternatively, melt in a double-boiler.
- Slowly, in batches, add the melted chocolate to the eggs, stirring as you incorporate. (Room temperature eggs, and slightly cooled chocolate, are best for this; you want to avoid cooking the eggs with hot chocolate and avoid seizing the chocolate with cold eggs; this is called tempering the eggs. Add slowly and stir, stir, stir: it will eventually come together and look gloriously smooth.)
- Pour cake batter into prepared pan, tapping pan to even the surface. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely in the pan, on a wire rack. Remove springform, carefully invert cake to remove bottom pan and parchment, and re-invert onto a serving platter. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with whipped cream, ice cream or fresh fruit.
Serves 12 – 16.
- This amount of chipotle powder yielded a surprisingly spicy cake: surprising because often in these types of recipes, you get a little hint of chile, but no real spice. This one packs a wallop, but in a good way: it’s a slow burn that sneaks up on you. If you are quite sensitive to the heat, you might want to start with 1/2 tsp.
- I thought this was going to be too sweet for me, with an entire cup of sugar and 10 oz of chocolate. But it really wasn’t; I think the spice balances the sweetness. It might, however, have been too sweet for me with milk chocolate, so I recommend a good, dark chocolate.
- I’m not often down with cupcakes, but they do come in handy when friends visit, you need dessert, and it’s a certain husband’s birthday on the same day. I have to say that I love how these came out: different from the texture of the cake made in a springform, the cupcakes puffed up like a soufflé on top, then fell as they cooled, leaving a lacy, crisp chocolate top surrounding a moist, fudgy, dense center. Warmed just slightly before serving, they are heavenly. I filled jumbo cupcake liners with 1/3 cup of batter each; baked at 350 degrees F for 22 minutes. I did try to bake a couple directly in a greased, jumbo cupcake pan: they were impossible to get out in one piece. These cupcakes came out rather fragile and crumbly around the edges, so the liners are a must. If you get the foil-lined ones, you can just stand them on a regular baking sheet.
In an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to 3 days. Freeze, double-wrapped, for up to 6 months.