Today was the day of the Mexican Six Nations Fiesta. Some friends needed an excuse to cook a massive batch of pork pibil and apparently England vs. France in the Six Nations and a 5-day early birthday bash was a good enough reason.
It was amazing. Nachos with great guacamole and fresh chilli con carne followed by delicious pork pibil with great rice and some orange marinated red onion - DELICIOUS!
My role in the event was to provide a birthday cake. Taking my cue from the mexican theme rather than the rugby I made a chocolate cake with ancho whipped cream taken from Mexican (Tausend. M and Williams, C., Simon & Schuster Source, pp100-101)
I've very mixed opinions about this cake. It's supposed to be made with Mexican chocolate which is very different to European chocolate in that it is flavoured with cinnamon (and sometimes almond). The cake also had vast quantities of almond and some ancho chillies.
The cake itself was dense and yet light. Although the flavour of the cinnamon and chilli didn't really come through. You could tell it was not a "pure" chocolate cake as there was a depth of flavour that seemed much longer than simply chocolate. (Although one of my friend picked up the cinnamon, so maybe it's just my cursed palette). Consequently I may have over-egged (or over-chillied) the cream icing (hence the slightly odd colour). The chilli in the cream did add a definite kick, but I'm not sure if I liked it or not.
Someone commented that a chocolate cake should just be left as a chocolate cake and I'm inclined to agree. I think the whole delight is to revel in the decadence and luxury of chocolate cake.
Anyhoo, it was all eaten with a good level of "mmmmmmmmmmmm" all round, so I can't complain too much. Here's the recipe if you want to give ti a go.
NB. I found the poblano chillies really difficult to get hold of and was forced to shop in evil Tesco.
Chocolate cake with Ancho whipped cream
3oz dark chocolate, grated
5.5oz ground almonds, toasted
1.5oz plain flour
2 ancho/poblano chillies, ground
8oz caster sugar
6 large eggs, separated
1/4tsp almond extract
For the whipped cream:
3floz double cream
1tsp chilli powder
10floz double cream
1tsp vanilla essence
3tbsp icing sugar
1. In a bowl mix together the chocolate, ground almonds, flour, cocoa and 1tbsp of the chilli.
2. In another bowl, cream the butter and 4oz of the sugar together.
3. Add the egg yolks one at a time beating until smooth.
4. Add the Kahlua, almond extract and chocolate mix and beat until smooth.
5. In a clean bowl add the salt to the egg whites and whisk until frothy. Add the remaining sugar gradually and whisk until stiff.
6. Vigorously beat a third of the egg whites into the chocolate mix until combined. Then gently fold in the remaing egg whites.
7. Fill a greased 9" spring-form cake tin and bake at 180°C for 40mins (or until a skewer comes out clean from the middle).
8. Once baked allow to cool completely.
9. While the cake is cooling, make the ancho cream. Whisk 3floz of the cream and the chilli powder until combined. Add the remining cream, vanilla extract and icing sugar and whisk to soft peaks.
10. Once cold coat the cream with a thick layer of the cream. Top with grated chocolate.