So many flavors in Thai cooking straddle the line between sweet and savory - coconut, ginger, kaffir lime, lemongrass, even chile - so I didn't think twice about translating one of my favorite Thai dishes, green curry, into something sweet. I came up with this recipe several years ago for a challenge to create a dessert with eggplant in it - the cake was really a sweet and chocolatey version of green curry with eggplant - and have since modified the recipe to omit the eggplant in the cake batter as well as the topping so as to simplify the recipe a bit.
The cake is a simple chocolate cake, although the texture of it is wonderfully light and fluffy, with a small crumb that is moist. For good measure, though, I soak the cake with a ginger simple syrup. The filling of the cake is a rich and deeply flavorful dark chocolate ganache infused with kaffir lime leaves and Thai bird chiles. The herbaceousness of the kaffir lime hits your tongue first, and as you swallow, the sweet heat of the chile creeps up. The heat is not overpowering, but it's definitely present. The cake is topped off with a classic Swiss meringue buttercream infused with a bit of green curry paste. What? Yes, green curry paste. You'd think that green curry paste in frosting would be really strange, but you'd be remiss to not try it. The kaffir lime and chile in the paste echo the flavors of the ganache filling, and the lemongrass, ginger, and galangal play off the flavors of the ginger soaking liquid. But there are two other ingredients in the paste - garlic and shallots - that lend a hit of earthiness and a savoriness that really rounds out the cake. And because cake is more fun with sprinkles, this one is topped off with peanuts that are dusted in coconut milk powder. The peanut sprinkles are totally optional, but because they're really easy to make (if you can find coconut milk powder), I always add them to lend a bit of crunch and contrast to the lush, silky cake.
This cake has earned a spot as one of my favorites - give it a try and it might be one of yours, too.
Don't be afraid of the long list of ingredients here. Raspberryeggplant has put together a very thoughtful recipe making use of bright and vibrant Thai flavors in every part of this delicious cake. The gingery cake is delicious alone, but the spicy ganache and curry buttercream take it to new heights. Not only are the flavors spot on, but the delicate texture of the cake and whipped buttercream are perfect together. —Stephanie Bourgeois