This cake has such an interesting flavor. It's not a super sweet cake but rich, smooth, velvety, and decadent! Instead of one-note sweetness, it has a complex flavor-depth from the chocolate, warmth sweet plum-raisin-like flavor from the Ancho powder and a slightly spicy kick from cayenne pepper. The addition of Ancho powder also enhances the whipped cream, with which I usually serve this cake. Together, they make one delicious and different dessert. Star Anise, orange peel and zest, Ancho Chili powder, vanilla, liqueur and whipped cream are my additions to Daisy Martinez’s recipe, which I have seen on Food Network back in 2009; show “Viva Daisy!” Since than I baked it a few times and loved it. —Kukla
12 generous or 16 smaller servings
For the cake batter
• 1 cup strong espresso coffee
• 1 packed cup dark brown sugar
• 3 cinnamon sticks
• 3 Star Anise
• Peel of 1/2 large orange, white pith removed
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
• 2 teaspoons Ancho chile powder (I used Williams- Sonoma brand)
• 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed
• 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
• 8 large eggs, well beaten (I beat them in a blender)
• Zest of the remaining 1/2 orange
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 tablespoon Godiva or any other chocolate or coffee liqueur
For the Ancho whipped cream
• 1 cup cold heavy cream
• 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
• 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
• 2 teaspoons Ancho chile powder
• Finely grated bittersweet chocolate for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 or 350 degrees F. depending of how hot is your oven.
Prepare a 9-inch spring form pan: Cut a circle of parchment the size of the removable bottom of the pan. Fit the parchment circle into the bottom of the pan. Tear off an 18-inch length of aluminum foil.
Center the pan over the sheet of foil and crumple and crimp the foil all around the sides of the pan. (The foil will prevent water from seeping into the pan during baking.) Set the pan aside.
In a medium saucepan, bring the espresso, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, Star Anise and orange peel to a simmer over very low heat. Simmer until the syrup is very fragrant, about 20 minutes. Discard cinnamon sticks, star anise and orange peel. Stir in the butter until melted; then stir in the cayenne pepper and Ancho powder.
Place chocolate in a deep bowl. Pour in the hot coffee syrup and whisk until the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in the beaten eggs until completely blended and then orange zest, vanilla and liqueur.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Set the pan in a large, deep, oven-proof skillet or a roasting pan and set on the oven rack. Pour in enough water to come halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake until center is set and barely wiggles when you shake the pan gently, 50 to 60 minutes.
Cool the cake to room temperature. Remove the foil and chill the cake in the pan at least 8 hours, (I chilled mine overnight). Run a wet knife around the sides of the pan then pop the spring to release.
Place a platter or a cake stand on top of the cake and flip over. Remove the bottom of the pan, and peel off the parchment. Serve chilled or at room temperature with garnishes of your choice. Keep refrigerated.
For the Ancho whipped cream
To make the whipped cream, place Ancho powder, cream, and vanilla in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Gradually bring up to high speed. When you can faintly see the whisk's trail, begin adding in confectioners' sugar until desired thickness is reached.