Chile Chocolate Cake or THE GUESSING CAKE

First of all, please excuse my extended absence, as I have been having technical difficulties and the holidays are always so busy!

In particular, I have been busy making cakes. Alot of birthdays fall around this time of year in my family, and this year the cake of choice has been


I call it that because it is so easy to get everyone guessing about what the secret ingredient is (chile powder). You might be thinking – wow what a weirdo, chili in chocolate cake! But if you have seen the delicious Johnny Depp film “Chocolat” and wondered about that strange but lovely sounding chile hot chocolate being gobbled up you already have an idea of what I am talking about.  Sometimes referred to as Aztec chocolate, this seeming experimentation is actually a reversal to basics, as the first chocolate brought to the “New World” was ground cacao seeds mixed with seasonings, such as the ancho chile.

This cake is great any way you make it, but I do recomend some layers and filling if you have the time. Then refridgerate the cake overnight and all that yummy filling will sink in, making the cake dense, chocolaty, and sinfully decadent.
As you can see in my photo, I sometimes like to decorate with pieces of Lindt chili chocolate bars, but if you are OK with eliminating the “guessing element”, chocolate shavings paired with whole, fresh, red hot peppers (remove before serving) look amazing.


2 cups white sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter

1 cup water

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup sour cream

2 eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

1- 1.5 teaspoons ancho chile powder

Chocolate Icing

3/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 – 3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/4 tsp. ancho chile powder

1/4 cup milk or cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour and salt. Set aside.
3. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup butter, water and 3 tablespoons cocoa to a boil. Remove from heat. Add to flour mixture and beat until smooth.
4. In a separate bowl, Mix sour cream, eggs, baking soda and cayenne pepper. Add to the cake batter. Blend well. Pour batter into 9×13 inch pan.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.
6. For the Frosting: Melt 1/4 cup butter, add 1/3 cup cocoa. Add confectioners sugar, milk and vanilla. Mix until smooth and free of lumps.
7. Spread frosting on the cooled cake. Cut into squares and serve. Ask your company if they can guess what is in it, they never will.


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