Happy Diez de Mayo! Chocolate Chipotle Cake

A little late on the holiday, so I’m celebrating Diez de Mayo today 🙂

After searching around, looking for something to spark my “I must make THAT!” reaction, I found my answer on Epicurious in the form of a Chocolate Chipotle Cake with Vanilla Custard Sauce and a Sweet Tomatillo Sauce.  Very different, but sounded delicious (and had wonderful reviews).

I think the most complicated part of this recipe was finding the ingredients – seriously.  Tomatillos are becoming somewhat more common, so that was easier than I expected – but chipotle peppers?  Um… not so much.  This is what I needed:

And this is what I got:

TOTALLY the same thing.  Really.

Anyhoo, I made do with what I had – which consisted of rinsing those canned chipotles off for about 20 minutes, making sure that the adobo sauce was completely gone before I attempted to do anything else with the chipotles, as I’m not entirely sure how adobo sauce pairs with chocolate.

(Unfortunately several of my pictures for this did not turn out at all, so I’m working with what I got here)

The creation of this cake is super simple – even though technically (according to the original recipe) this is supposed to be made in several ramekins and not be a cake.  But me being the baking student that I am, I used some of my new knowledge on how cakes bake to convert the temperature and time, and luckily this came out just fine.  Honestly, this cake could be considered a one-bowl (and one-pan) cake.  The only thing you do outside of your mixing bowl is heat up orange juice and sugar to make a syrup – other than that, nothing is mixed separately (no meringue, etc.)



This cake provided such a unique flavor and texture.  The cake itself was very dense and rich – almost like a cross between a flourless chocolate cake and a mousse (the density of the cake and the creaminess of the mousse).  As for the taste – it tasted initially like a rich chocolate cake, and then at the end you were treated to a spicy kick in the back of the mouth that built up when you weren’t expecting it.  In my opinion, you needed the vanilla custard sauce to cut the bite of the cake a little.  The sweet tomatillo sauce didn’t really provide much extra – it was very sweet, and not many people seemed to like it.

From the reviews that I read online, I was expecting this to be the best chocolate cake I had ever tasted – but not so much.  My quest for the perfect chocolate cake continues!

Recipes below (with my alterations included)…

Chocolate Chipotle Cake (adapted from Epicurious.com)

  • 1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 10 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I use Ghirardelli 70%)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut up into small pieces
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  1. Preheat oven to 300.  Take a 8-inch cake pan and spray well with cooking spray, then coat inside of pan with sugar as well as you can.
  2. Put chipotle peppers in a sieve or colander and rinse until the water runs clear.  Place peppers in a food processor with a small amount of water (around 1 tsp) and process until a paste forms.
  3. Place chopped chocolate in a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment. Put sugar and orange juice in a sauce pan and bring just to a boil; add to chocolate and mix until melted.
  4. Add butter in pieces to chocolate and whisk on medium-low until melted.
  5. Add eggs one at a time, letting first egg fully incorporate before adding the next.
  6. Add in 1-2 Tbsp of chili paste (to taste – you can freeze the remainder), flour, and salt, and mix until combined.
  7. Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake for approximately 2 hours, or until a pick goes into cake and comes out relatively clean – this is a fudgy cake, so the pick will never be perfectly clean.
  8. Allow cake to cool in pan for approximately 15 minutes, then flip out onto a cooling rack.  The cake should come out cleanly – I merely had to top the bottom of the cake pan and it popped right out.
Vanilla Custard Sauce (adapted from Epicurious.com)
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  1. In a bowl whisk the eggs and approximately half of the sugar until they are frothy.
  2. In a saucepan, place half-and-half, the remaining sugar, and the vanilla extract over medium heat, bringing just to a simmer.  
  3. Stream approximately half of the warm cream mixture into the eggs while whisking.  Pour the egg mixture back into the remaining cream in the saucepan, and replace over medium heat.
  4. Stir mixture with a wooden spoon and allow to thicken.  When mixture starts to coat the back of a spoon, remove from heat.  Pour through a sieve into a bowl.
  5. Place the bowl containing the custard mixture into an ice bath, and continue to stir until the mixture is thickened and completely cool.*
  6. Chill in an airtight container until ready to be served.
* I have made custard, creme anglaise, and pastry cream several times, and this recipe did NOT turn out like those – it was more of a gravy-like consistency than an actual custard.  I’m guessing this is the intention because it is called a “custard sauce”.
Sweet Tomatillo Sauce (adapted from Epicurious.com)
  • 1/2 pound fresh tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and chopped into a small dice
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1 1-inch piece of cinnamon stick
  1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, and allow to simmer for approximately 15 minutes, or until tomatillos are tender.
  2. Remove the cinnamon stick and discard; place remaining ingredients carefully into a food processor and run until smooth (there will still be seeds present).
  3. Chill in a covered container until serving.

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