Chocolate-Ancho Chile Cake

Man was this cake tasty.  So tasty, in fact, that I had a recipe request for it when my friend facebooked me on the way home from my 24×24 party.  She wanted to let me know she and her husband had a great time and to ask if I was willing to share the cake recipe.  Of course I am!

This cake has such an interesting flavor.  It’s not a super sweet cake, which was fine with with all of us who enjoyed it.  Instead of one-note sweetness, it has a complex flavor–depth from the chocolate, warmth from the ancho powder, and a richness from the whipped cream.  Together, they make one delicious and decidedly different cake.  One I plan to make again.

chocolate ancho cake

Chocolate-Ancho Chile Cake

from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Latin Cooking

For the cake:

baking spray

2 TBSP ancho chile powder, divided

1 tablet (3 oz.) Mexican chocolate, coarsely chopped OR 

3 oz. bittersweet chocolate plus 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 c. blanched almonds, toasted

1/3 c. all-purpose flour, sifted

1/4 c. Dutch process cocoa powder, sifted

1/2 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 c. granulated sugar, divided

6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

1 TBSP Kahlua or creme de cacao

1/4 tsp. pure almond extract

pinch salt

For the ancho whipped cream:

1 2/3 c. heavy cream

1 TBSP pure vanilla extract

up to 1/4 c. confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting

finely grated bittersweet chocolate (for garnish)

mint leaves (for garnish)


1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line the bottom of a nine-inch springform or round cake pan with parchment paper and spray with baking spray.

2.  Reserve one tsp. of the ancho powder for the whipped cream.  In a food processor, combine chocolate and almonds and pulse to grind finely.  Transfer to a medium bowl.  Add the flour, cocoa, and remaining ancho powder.  Whisk to mix.

3.  In a large bowl, use an electric mixer set on medium speed to beat the butter until pale, about two minutes.  Reduce speed to low and gradually add 1/2 c. sugar.  Increase the speed to medium and beat until mixture is light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.

4.  Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating until mixture is smooth, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl.  Reduce speed to low and add in chocolate mixture, Kahlua, and almond extract.  Beat until just blended.

5.  In a large bowl, combine egg whites and salt.  Using clean beaters, beat on medium for 30 seconds, then increase speed to high and beat until soft peaks form.  With mixer running, add remaining sugar in a slow stream.  beat until shiny, stiff peaks form.

6.  In three additions, gently fold egg whites into the batter.

7.  Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth the surface.  Place pan on baking sheet to catch any drips.  (I used a regular round and didn’t have any drips.)  Bake until a toothpick comes out mostly clean, 35-40 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes, then turn out cake and let cool completely.

8.  To make the whipped cream, place reaming ancho powder, cream, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Gradually bring up to high speed.  When you can see faintly see the whisk’s trail, begin adding in confectioners’ sugar until desired thickness is reached.

9.  To serve, cut cake into wedges, sprinkle with powdered sugar and top with whipped cream, chocolate, and mint, if desired.  Serves twelve.

one year ago:tropical granola

two years ago: tilapia in lemon-butter sauce

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  1. Pretend Chef
    July 7, 2011 / 2:26 pm

    Chocolate and chile is still a combination I haven't tried yet. This cake looks really delicious. Nothing is more of a compliment than a request for the recipe or a request for it to be made again.

  2. Lexie
    July 7, 2011 / 5:47 pm

    This was AMAZING and the perfect way to end a fabulous meal. Thanks again for all the yummies!

  3. That Girl
    July 7, 2011 / 10:06 pm

    I love the chocolate chile combination. Almost as much as chocolate and peanut butter.

  4. Desi
    July 8, 2011 / 12:18 am

    What an interesting combo I would never think of! Well I know chocolate is in some chilis, but I never thought of chili powder being in chocolate! I wanted to let you know about my cookbook giveaway that is going on right now until July 16th. Stop on by to enter! Hope you are having a great week :)

  5. Nikki
    July 8, 2011 / 5:00 am

    The chocolate and chile combination is newer to me and I love it! I really need to try this cake, then. 🙂

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