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When I was trying to decide on a recipe for this week, I thought it was time for a classic chocolate cake. However, while scanning the pantry to see if I needed to stock up on any ingredients, my tin of Aztec Hot Chocolate stared back at me, as if to say “I Dare You”.  Never one to turn down a challenge, instead of reaching for the Unsweetened Cocoa, I pulled out the Spicy Aztec.  A little nervous about recipe improvisation when cayenne pepper was involved, I was pleasantly surprised when the cake turned out with a strong likeness to our famous hot chocolate.

I realized the chocolate cake would need the perfect frosting.  Since we’re making a cake from hot chocolate, I decided to go with the theme, and make a Cinnamon Marshmallow Frosting I came across in Vermont’s own Eating Well Magazine. And with a last-minute nod toward our Organic Spicy Aztec Bar, I pulled out my stash of pepitas – the Mexican pumpkin seeds that are sprinkled throughout our Aztec Bar – and scattered those on top.

Cake
2 c flour
1 ¼ c Lake Champlain Chocolates Aztec Hot Chocolate
1 c sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper (use less if you like less heat)
2 heaping tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2/3 c vegetable oil
2 tbsp white vinegar
4 tsp vanilla extract
2 c warm water

Preheat oven to 350º.  Grease two 9” cake pans and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, spices, baking powder and baking soda.  Make sure they are well-incorporated.  Separately, combine the vegetable oil, vinegar, vanilla and warm water.  Add the wet ingredients to dry, mixing until just combined.  Do not over mix.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely in cake pan on cooling rack.

Frosting
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup water
4 teaspoons dried egg whites (see Note), reconstituted according to package directions (equivalent to 2 egg whites)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish

Eating Well’s Ingredient Note: Dried egg whites are pasteurized so this product is a wise choice in dishes that call for an uncooked meringue.

Bring 2 inches of water to a simmer in the bottom of a double boiler.  Combine 1 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup water in the top of the double boiler. Heat over the simmering water, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Add reconstituted egg whites, cream of tartar and pinch of salt. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until the mixture is glossy and thick, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the top pan from the heat and continue beating for 1 minute more to cool. Add vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and beat on low just to combine. Spread or pipe the frosting onto the cooled cake and sprinkle cinnamon on top, if desired.

Frosting recipe doubled for two-layer cake.  


Chili Made With Chocolate? - Definitely!

Posted on July 15, 2008 8:02 AM by Leann

For whatever reason, go to any tropical destination and you’ll find hot and spicy food being served regardless of the temps. Seems a little counterintuitive but there comes a time when you need to stop fighting it. So, in the spirit of going with the flow and embracing the summer heat, here is an awesome spicy chili recipe from Epicurious.com. (Please visit them so they don’t get mad at me for sharing their recipe!)

And of course, it uses chocolate. Come on, this is  a Chocolate Blog. What do you expect?!

It has a lot of ingredients but with the exception of toasting some chiles, it’s basically just add, stir and cook. And as any cook knows, part of the fun is making a recipe your own so feel free to experiment.

Pinto-Bean Mole Chili
2 medium dried ancho chiles, wiped clean
1 dried chipotle chile, wiped clean
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and cooled
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
Rounded 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 medium onions, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 medium zucchini and/or yellow squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 pound kale, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped (3 tablespoons)
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained, reserving juice, and chopped
1 1/4 cups water
3 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed

Slit chiles lengthwise, then stem and seed. Heat a dry heavy medium skillet over medium heat until hot, then toast chiles, opened flat, turning and pressing with tongs, until pliable and slightly changed in color, about 30 seconds. Tear into small pieces.

Pulse cumin seeds and chiles in grinder until finely ground. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in oregano, cinnamon, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.

Cook onions in oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute, then add chile mixture and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Stir in zucchini and kale and cook, covered, 5 minutes. Add zest, sugar, chocolate, tomatoes with their juice, and water and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Stir in beans and simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt.

It’s very popular to use chocolate in savory dishes these days. I’ve seen it with chicken, fish and even barbecue ribs. If you have a favorite chocolate dish, sweet or savory, feel free to share it with us!

Mangia!

PS - Thank you, Epicurious.com for the use of your recipe. Nutritional info available at Epicurious.com. Photo credit - Romulo Yanes