The Fort Chocolate Chile Cake with
Chocolate Frosting and Port Cherries
This cake is best when enjoyed directly after the final preparation.
Chocolate Chile Cake
- 2 tablespoons New Mexico medium-ground red chile powder (preferably Dixon)
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour (not self-rising)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsweetened, non-alkalized cocoa powder, such as Hershey, Nestle, or Ghirardelli (do not use Dutch process)
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup unsweetened non-alkalized cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon buttermilk
- 1 1/2 pounds (5 to 6 cups unpacked) confectioners' sugar
- 3 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup Mondavi Portacinco (or your favorite port)
- 1 cup Bing cherries, seeded and stemmed
- Day before - Port Cherries: For the cherry mixture, heat port over medium temperature till warm,
but not boiling. Pour warm port over cherries and soak overnight.
- Chocolate Chile Cake: Heat the oven to 350 degrees F and place a rack in the center of the
oven. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans or one 9 x 13-inch pan. Lightly dust the
sides of the pan(s) with flour, tapping out the excess, and line the bottoms with
circles of parchment or wax paper.
- In a medium saucepan, cook the chile powder in 1 cup of the water over medium
heat until simmering. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the vanilla, and set
- Using a mixer with a wire whip attachment for best results, combine the flours,
sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa, and beat on low speed until well mixed. Add
the softened butter to the dry mixture and beat thoroughly on medium-low speed.
The mixture should be a uniform, grainy texture. Raise the speed to medium and gradually
add the remaining cup of water and buttermilk. Add the eggs one at a time, beating
well after each addition.
- Slowly add the hot water: chile mixture and continue to beat just until well
combined; be sure not to over-beat. Pour the mixture equally into the pans and bake
for 35 - 40 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of each layer
comes out clean.
- To cool, set the pan(s) on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Then turn the cake(s)
out onto the rack, remove the paper from the bottom, and immediately re-invert so
that the risen tops don't flatten. Let sit until completely cool before frosting.
- Chocolate Frosting: Combine the butter and cocoa in a large saucepan and melt over
medium heat. Stir in the buttermilk. Add the confectioners' sugar a little at
a time, stirring with a wire whisk between additions. Stir in the vanilla. The frosting
will stiffen as it cools.
- For 9 x 13-inch cake: Place the cake on a large serving plate. Lightly grease
the ends of chopsticks. Poke holes in the cake with chopsticks, approximately one
hole every inch. Drain the port off of the cherries, reserving the liquid. Pour
2 ounces of the reserved port evenly over the cake. Spread the frosting over the
top and sides of the cake, being sure to fill each hole with frosting. Top the cake
with the cherries.
- For 9-inch cake rounds: If necessary, trim the tops of the cakes so that they
are level. Place one of the cake layers on a 9-inch round serving plate. Lightly
grease the ends of chopsticks. Poke holes in the cake with chopsticks, approximately
one hole every inch.
- Drain the port off of the cherries, reserving the liquid. Pour
1 ounce of the reserved port evenly over the cake.
- Spread 1 cup of frosting over
the cake layer, allowing the frosting to fill the holes. Place the second layer
of cake on the frosted base. Poke holes in the second layer, pouring 1 ounce of
the reserved port over the top. Use the remaining frosting to cover the top and
sides of the cake. Finish the top of the cake by holding the spatula at a slight
angle and making several strokes to smooth the top.
- To decorate the cake, pour the drained cherries over the cake.
Yield: 12 servings
Source: The Fort, Denver, Colorado
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