Introduction: Habanero Chocolate Cake
I know what you're thinking..."That sounds gross!" But it is surprisingly good! Some of you may have heard of jalapeno chocolate cake or jalapeno chocolate candy; these were indeed inspirations for this cake. I had originally made it for a coworker who loves Habaneros. I think he was just kidding when he requested a Habanero cake but thought it would be a fun novelty cake even if it wasn't edible. Here I show how to reproduce that cake, along with a jalapeno section, and a confetti cake section for the more faint of heart in the office. (Read: if the Habanero cake is inedible you still have some cake to celebrate with.)
Step 1: Materials
2 boxes of chocolate cake mix & necessary ingredients instructed on box
1 box of confetti cake mix & necessary ingredients instructed on box
6 Habaneros (3 for cooking 3 for show)
5 Jalapenos (3 for cooking, 2 or show)
1 bunch of cinnamon disks (1 wrapped for show)
Enough frosting for your cake (This will depend on how many layers and how much frosting you like on your cakes)
Baking pans for cake (use what ever shapes you want)
Rigid cardboard covered with foil (or equivalent serving tray)
Food processor (a blender might work in a pinch but I haven't tried it)
Mortar and pestle
Frosting bag with your favorite tip.
Step 2: Bitter Batter!
Next time I make this cake i want to make it in the shape of the thermometer shown on the side of hot sauce bottles.
For some variety you could even bake flat sheets of every flavor and cut them into the shape of a pepper, flame, or any shape that inspires you.
First the boring part: mix the batter for your confetti cake and pour it into a circular baking pan. This would be the "bulb" of my spice-o-meter cake. Place in oven and bake as instructions on box show.
HABANEROS!!! That is the real reason you are reading this isn't it! Well here it is: mix a box of chocolate cake mix just as the instructions show BUT... do this first:
Measure out how much milk is needed in the batter, pour that into your food processor (or blender) and add 3 Habaneros (I would recommend you remove the seeds unless you want to be sweating bullets from these miniature hot and spicy grenades!)
Blend the milk/pepper mace...um...I-mean flavoring until the pepper bits are about the size of sand from 60 grit sand paper. (this is not an exact science after all you just want to mesh all of the flavor into the milk)
For those of you chemists (or molecular gastronomists) out there you may recognize that the milk will counteract the heat from the peppers. This is another aspect that makes this cake so much fun! More on that later!
So, you have this milk/pepper mixture, use all of that (since it was measured before it was blended) in the chocolate cake mix. If you feel so daring you can incorporate this into your own cake recipe but an "Out of the Box" cake mix is a little easier and that is how I had originally made the cake. Let me know how it turns out if you use your own cake recipes' in conjunction with this.
Use the same strategy for the Jalapeno cake as you did for the Habanero cake.
Step 3: Great Presentation
Once all your cakes are made you can set them up on your platter and cut them to size to form the shape you want. If you used a square pan you may want to cut the cake in half and double-decker it for the stem of a spice-o-meter. Alternatively you use bread pans for the but you may have to use less batter. I have made this cake twice and there is always some carving and creativity that comes into it at this point to get what you want.
Add frosting to cover the whole cake. I like to use a white frosting then sprinkle colored sugar on it to get the different levels of heat. The colors are rarely in order because I match the color to the decorative objects but I usually have the traditional colors of yellow red and green.
My favorite toping on confetti cake is the crushed cinnamon candy on vanilla frosting. This is where you get to use the mortar and pestle, just unwrap and smash the cinnamon disks to small bits/powder and sprinkle them on top. The crunchy sweetness on top of the cake really compliments the little candies in the cake. If anyone knows where I can get green colored cinnamon disks that would be best for decorating as the following:
For an accurate spice-o-meter you might leave off the decorations (peppers and wrapped candy) so that you can use the traditional color scale, green for the confetti cake (mild) yellow for the jalapeno (medium) and red for habanero (hot).
Step 4: The Unsuspecting Victim!
I label this step "The unsuspecting victim! " because this cake will bite back.
You're thinking "well duh...its' a habanero cake!" However even when you fully acknowledge that when you take a bite you will taste some chocolate, some heat, some habanero...then is smooths out to just rich flavorful chocolate with the flavor (not heat) of the habanero...then just when you think the heat is out of your mouth and you go to get another forkful... WABAMM!!!!!!!!!! The heat hits you! (but don't tell anyone this, you will love to see their reaction)
Now back to that phenomena of the milk vs. habanero pepper acid. I have not done any extensive research on this but it is my hypothesis that this neutralizing chemical reaction will go on as long as you have the cake around. If you taste it right out of the oven it will totally knock you over. Let it sit a few hours and it will only knock your socks off. If you serve it the following day or two latter most people can eat it but it still has some bite to it. Let is sit for 3 or more days and it is pretty low on the heat scale but sill retains a lot of the habanero flavor.
So, enjoy this cake and just as much if not more, enjoy watching people's faces light up with surprise! Just remember... serve it with a tall glass of milk!
(Goes well after an OgreBurger!)