Being named after a saint has at least one advantage – you get an extra birthday each year. Like a birthday, your Saint’s Day or Name Day is an excuse to have a feast. The tradition of celebrating your Saint’s Day was originally a Catholic one, and it has spread through Europe. But even if you’re not named after a saint, you can still enjoy a slice of cake.
St James’ Day fell earlier this month, and James decreed that I should bake a chocolate cake in his honour. Since he’s also a fan of chilli, pepper, and all things spicy, the “Hot” Chocolate Cake from the book Death By Chocolate seemed like the perfect recipe.
Death By Chocolate, written by Marcel Desaulniers, features recipes from the dessert menu at the Trellis Restaurant in Virginia. You don’t need to have been to the restaurant to know you need this book on your shelf – the photography is mouth-watering. And while some of the recipes are time-consuming works of art, others can be baked easily enough.
This “Hot” Chocolate Cake is spiced with cayenne and black pepper. The pecans on top compliment the cake perfectly with their nubbly nuttiness. Enjoy this cake warm, with a little cream or icecream. Don’t worry if it isn’t your Saint’s Day – any winter’s day will feel warmer if you celebrate with a spicy chocolate cake.
“Hot” Chocolate Cake
From Death by Chocolate: The last word on a consuming passion, by Marcel Desaulniers. I’ve adapted this only very slightly. One of the beauties of recipes from this book is the precise beating times, which ensure you get a very airy cake.
285g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarb soda
145g couverture chocolate
2 tabs orange juice
1tsp orange zest
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
225g brown sugar
240mL sour cream
115g pecan pieces
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
Combine the flour, baking powder and bicarb soda in a bowl and set aside.
Combine, over a double saucepan, the chocolate, coffee, orange juice, orange zest, cinnamon, cayenne and black pepper. Allow to heat without stirring for about 5 minutes, then stir until smooth and remove from the heat.
Grease and flour the pan. The original recipe calls for a rectangular 9 x 13 x 2 inch pan, but I used two 22cm round springform pans.
Combine the brown sugar and butter in your electric mixer and beat on low for 2 min, then high for 3 min. Scrape down the bowl and then beat for a further 4 min.
Add the eggs, one at a time. After each egg, beat on high for 1 min and scrape down the bowl before adding the next one.
Add the melted chocolate and beat on high for 30 sec. Scrape down the bowl, add the flour, and beat on low for 30 sec.
Whisk the sour cream vigorously, then add it to the cake mixture and beat on high for 10 seconds. Give the mix a final stir with a spatula.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin(s) and sprinkle with chopped pecans.
Bake in the preheated oven at 180 degrees Celcius until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 35–40 min. After removing from the oven allow to cool in the tin for 15 min before removing the cake.