Chilcacahuatl Cake - a Flourless Dark Chocolate and Ancho Chile Cake with a Chocolate and Chimayo Chile Glaze

Image: Cookgypsy

Chilcacahuatl Cake - a Flourless Dark Chocolate and Ancho Chile Cake with a Chocolate and Chimayo Chile Glaze

A decadently spicy chocolate confection

This recipe may become one of the Cookgypsy flagship deserts - a deep, dark, rich chile and cocoa experience. The delicate addition of finely ground, carefully selected ancho and New Mexico chiles to this sinfully flourless chocolate cake creates a culinary tryst of surpising complexity, and history.


For the cake:

  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped block (2 1/4 cups) - use at least a 70%-85% Cocoa chocolate. - Do not use Hershey's or Cadbury brands of chocolate - they will not work.
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons (see below) of carefully selected, finely ground, seeded ancho chiles
  • 1 cup of butter
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted.

For the glaze:

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped block (3/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground medium heat Chimayo chile powder
  • 3 tablespoons butter


Selecting & Preparing Chiles:

When selecting dried chiles, try to buy loose instead of packed if at all possible. Choose chiles that are still a little flexible and not totally dried out. Do not use pods with signs of mold, insect infestation, disease, or decay. Avoid broken chiles, loose pieces lose thier heat and flavor very quickly when the inner surface is exposed to too much oxygen or sunlight. Color and smell are also really important. Select chiles that have color; what does this mean? A dried chile should still have some of the color of the original chile in it, you might have to hold it up to the light to see it in the case of ancho or pasilla chiles but some deep red should still come through. There are a couple of exceptions to this rule, but generally chiles that are brown or grey should be avoided. The chile should still smell of fruit. Dried chiles are dried fruit, something that is easy to forget - the better chiles will still have a rich fruity smell. Clearly chipotle and morita chiles will not smell of fruit; these chiles are smoked which changes the smell. Better chipotle and morita chiles generally do follow the other rules in my opinion. Brown leathery chipotle chiles should be avoided, but are available in abundance.

  1. Before using dried chiles, place them in a warm skillet and heat until they become pliable or for about 2 minutes. Move the pan rapidly while warming the chiles; if they sit in one place and overheat they may become bitter.
  2. Cut or tear warmed chile apart and remove stem and seeds.
  3. Cut the pod portion of the peppers into smallish pieces and place in a grinder and grind to a fine powder. If chile sticks to the roof of the ginder, free it occasionally with a spoon and continue grinding.
  4. Decide how much of your chile powder to use. Giving an accurate measurement for the amount of powder to use is difficult. Chiles vary widely in heat and taste. I recommend that you use 2 tablespoons, but if you find that the powder is very hot to the taste, you can reduce the amount of chile to 1 tablespoon, or 1 1/2.

Preparing the Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 deg. with the oven rack in the center postion.
  2. Lightly grease the the bottom of a 9" spring form pan with butter and line it with a piece of parchment paper.
  3. Butter the parchment and the sides of the spring form pan and dust with a couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder evenly, tap extra cocoa out of pan and discard.
  4. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler (this is important - if you do not have a double boiler use a metal mixing bowl floating in a pan of boiling water, or if you can not do this use the microwave on half power) with water at a bare simmer. Stir with your trusty spatula until smooth. Heat the chocolate slowly, there is no rushing this step, burning the chocolate or the butter is easy to do an will ruin the desert.
  5. Remove heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  6. Combine eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt and 2 tablespoons of water in a large mixing bowl.
  7. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until the mixture is very foamy, and doubled in volume.
  8. Set mixer to low and begin to very slowly mix in the chocolate mixture.
  9. Once all of the mixture has been added increase the speed of the mixer to medium high and continue mixing until mixture is well blended ~ about a minute.
  10. Add 1/4 cup cocoa powder and chile powder and blend on medium low until blended ~ about a minute.
  11. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake until an inserted toothpick comes out wet, with smally gooey clumps ~ about 40 to 45 minutes with most ovens. Be careful not to overcook.
  12. Let cool in pan on a rack fro 30 minutes
  13. Carefully remove spring form and invert using a wire rack placed on the top of the cake.
  14. Remove the pan base and the parchment and let the cake cool completely.
  15. Transfer the cake to a serving plate and cover, and refridgerate until the cake is quite cold - 6 hours to overnight.

Preparing the Glaze:

  1. Melt the chocolate and butter in your double boiler and stir with your spatula until the chocolate is smooth.
  2. Stir in the chile powder and mix throughly.
  3. Pour the warmed glaze over the chilled cake and spread using the reverse side of your spatula to with in about a quarter inch of the edges.
  4. refridgerate cake until glaze is set ~ about 45 minutes.
  5. Before serving, remove cake from fridge and allow cake to return to room temperature ~ about 30 minutes.

To Serve:

  1. Cut the cake into very thin slices using a heated knife.
  2. Place several raspberries (optional) on the plate and serve.