Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Recipe: Mocha Cayenne Cake with Cardamom Glaze

One should not confuse the craving for life with endorsement of it. – Elias Canetti 

All in all, a very quick cake to pull off.

I had a craving last night for chocolate and peppermint but instead of going to the store I went to the cupboard. It’s all part of my redoubled drive to “make” rather than “buy.”

I was prepared to bake to save some dough, pardon the pun. I thought I must have peppermint extract in my pantry “somewhere”. 

Homemade cardamom extract. Recipe link
is above at right.
I looked high and low. No peppermint extract. That’s why this cake isn’t a peppermint cake. So what to do…what to do…

I had some homemade vanilla extract (boring…) and some clove (already did that…) and some cardamom extract. I made all these extracts in the start of the Spring. They are at full strength now. For my vanilla, cardamom and clove extracts click the word links.

So cardamom it was. Close enough for government work, as the saying goes. But the cake. What about the cake?

I was torn between cookies, cake and brownies. Cookies can be quick to mix and bake but are a lot of work sometimes when you’re craving at 8pm. So I wanted something dense.

Besides me, what would that be? There are cake recipes that use melted butter rather than creaming butter and sugar. This reduces the prep time, but also the rise of the cake and makes a denser, almost fudgey, end result.

That sounded about right. That way I would get all the qualities I wanted: fast, chewy and delicious.

Of course the odd-ball ingredient in all of this is cayenne pepper. Have you ever had a Mexican Coffee? If not, the recipe is here. They’re great! Cayenne, in coffee, cookies or cake, adds an interesting spiciness that you can’t get any other way.

This cake  – a dense little wonder – is a cross between cake and brownie. You could bake it in a regular cake pan if you wished. I baked mine in a bundt pan just for the fun shape.

There’s a reason people say “that’s the icing on the cake.” The glaze helps boost the cardamom taste three-fold.

So was my craving to save satisfied too? I would say this cake probably cost about half the purchase price of a store-bought pound cake, or less. Is it better? Oh, please...

I guess I’ll have to figure out how to make my own peppermint extract soon. I don't want that kind of disappointment again if I can avoid it.

Mocha Cayenne Cake with Cardamom Glaze
Prep: 10 min  |  Bake: 30 min  |  Yield: 1 small cake
1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 tsp cardamom extract
1/2 cup strong coffee (made double strength)
1/2 cup milk
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp cardamom extract

As you can see, this is not a fluffy cake. If you like dense and delicious,
this one's for you.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the flour, sugar, cocoa and baking powder in a bowl and whisk until there are no lumps, and the dry ingredients are all combined.

Add the butter, eggs, cardamom extract, coffee and milk and whisk until smooth. Make sure the butter and coffee aren't too hot or they'll cook the eggs. Warm is best, not hot. That's all there is to it.

Prepare the bundt pan by buttering and coating with confectioner sugar. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Another clue to a “done” cake is that it will start to pull away from the sides of the pan, and a finger pressed lightly on top will not leave an indentation.

Mix together the icing sugar, milk and cardamom extract. Let the cake cool slightly and then drizzle with the glaze.

Best served warm but is more than adequate the next day. I had some for breakfast...


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