I don’t know if this can really be called a cake. It’s basically cheating to call it a cake. Because, when it comes down to it, I’m not a big fan of most cakes, or what people would consider a cake. I worked in the office of a bakery off and on for about a year while I was in college, and my expectations for traditional buttercream frosting have become so high that I don’t even bother making it anymore. (Unless it’s a cream cheese frosting – now that stuff is worth eating.)
This is my kind of cake. No frosting required. This cake is dense, dark-chocolately goodness. It’s extremely unhealthy with – count ’em – 3 sticks of butter. And it has a secret, spicy ingredient that makes it a special treat.
You will need to plan ahead for this recipe, as the cake requires a minimum of 8 hours in the fridge after it’s been cooked.
This cake begs to be paired with a Chilean Carmenere. We’ve had two camenere wines recently that would pair wonderfully with it. I’d recommend a Porta Carmenere Reserva (bought at Total Wine), or a Marques de Casa Concha (bought at Costco). Both are smooth, unique, and can stand up to the dark chocolate and spicyness of the cake.
Begin by brewing a small pot of coffee. You will need 1 cup of coffee.
Then, prep the pan. Get out a 9 in springform pan. Roll out some parchment paper and cut a circle the size of the inside of the pan. Next, take some foil and get a piece large enough to cover the bottom and all the way up the sides of the pan.
See? Like so.
Next, unwrap all your chocolate bars and place them in a food processor. (Alternatively, you could do it the hard way and chop it all by hand.) I try not to remember the days before I had a food processor. Those were dark days.
For the chocolate, I used three Ghiradelli 100% cocoa unsweetened bars and one semisweet chocolate bar.
Pulse the chocolate until they are coarsely chopped.
And then place it in a large bowl and set it aside. Preferably not teetering on the edge of the counter, like I did below.
Now for the fun part. Get started on the coffee syrup. You’ll need a cup of that pot of brewed coffee you made, dark brown sugar, 3 sticks of butter, and 3-4 cinnamon sticks, depending on the length. Oh, and the secret ingredient, cayenne pepper.
Add the brown sugar, brewed coffee, and cinnamon sticks into a medium sauce pan over low heat. Stir to combine. Let it simmer over low heat for approximately 20 – 25 minutes. The mixture should turn into a syrup-like consistency, and your kitchen should smell like a delicious spice shop.
After it has reached the right consistency, chop up the 3 sticks of butter.
At this point the cinnamon sticks have done their duty and you can use a slotted spoon to remove them from the pan. Add the chopped butter and the teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the saucepan, and stir until all the butter has melted.
Next, take the coffee syrup and pour over the chocolate.
Whisk until the mixture has completely melted the chocolate.
Add in the beaten eggs…
Again, whisk whisk whisk.
You should end up with a wonderfully delicious, creamy batter for the cake.
Remember that springform pan we prepared? Go ahead and pour the batter into the springform pan, and then put it inside of a large cast iron or roasting pan.
Place the whole schabang into the oven, and this is the somewhat tricky part. Using a pitcher or large measuring cup, pour water in the cast iron so that the water covers about half of the springform pan. (I did this after I had transferred it to the oven, but if you can carry it carefully, I would do it before it’s in the oven). Bake the cake for 50 – 60 minutes.
This is what the cake should look like when you remove it from the oven, water bath, and foil. The center should be slightly jiggly when you remove it from the oven. Set aside the cake and let it cool to room temperature.
Once cooled, cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 8 hours, or overnight like I did.
8 hours later, or when you are ready to serve, remove the cake from all it’s trappings – plastic wrap, pan, and parchment paper. Invert it onto a pretty serving platter or plate.
The texture of this cake is to incredible. I just wish I had gotten some pictures of a forkful of it with glass of the Chilean Carmenere.
Decorate the cake with raspberries, or anything else your heart desires.
You don’t need anything else. But really. That’s how good this is. Except for a glass of that Chilean Carmenere. Did I mention that already?
A rich, dense dark chocolate cake with a special spicy ingredient.
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 3-4 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 3 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 cup brewed coffee
- 4 oz 100% cocoa unsweetened baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 12 oz semisweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 8 large eggs, beaten
- Start by getting a small pot of coffee brewing. You will need 1 cup of brewed coffee for the recipe.
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- Next, prepare the cake pan. Get out a 9 in springform pan. Roll out some parchment paper and cut a circle the size of the inside, removable piece and place it in the pan. Then, take a roll of foil and cut off a big enough piece to cover the bottom of the pan and up the sides.
- For the cake filling, start by preparing the chocolate. The easiest way is to add the chocolate to a food processor and pulse it until it's coarsely chopped. Alternatively, you can coarsely chop the chocolate with a cutting board and knife. Place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl and set aside.
- Set a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the brewed coffee, dark brown sugar, and cinnamon sticks and stir to combine. Let it simmer for about 20 - 25 minutes. It should have a syrup consistency. After it is done simmering, remove the cinnamon sticks with a slotted spoon. Chop up the butter into pieces and add it to the pan and stir it until it's melted. Finally, add the cayenne and stir to combine.
- Place the eggs in a small bowl and whisk until beaten. Next, take the coffee syrup and pour over the chocolate. Whisk until the mixture has completely melted the chocolate. Add in the beaten eggs and whisk until it is well blended.
- Pour the cake mixture into the springform pan that's been prepped with the parchment paper and foil. Take the cake and place it in a large cast-iron skillet or a roasting pan. Add water to the skillet/roasting pan so that it comes halfway up the springform pan. Carefully transfer the pans to the oven rack, and bake the cake for 50 - 60 minutes. The center should be slightly jiggly when you remove it from the oven.
- Remove the cake from the water bath and the foil. Set aside the cake and let it cool to room temperature. Once cooled, cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 8 hours.
- When ready, remove the cake from the pan and set it upside down onto a serving platter. Remove the plastic wrap from the cake. Decorate and serve with raspberries.
To use the cinnamon sticks again, simply rinse them off, dry them, and put them back in their container. When you want to use them for another recipe, use a small grater on the outside of the sticks. This will release the flavor.