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Habanero Chocolate Cake

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Picture of Habanero Chocolate Cake
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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 I had originally made it for a coworker who loves Habaneros.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.)
 
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
Ingredients:
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)

Tools:
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

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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!

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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!)
ralegg6 years ago
I made this into Habanero Cake Balls by taking the finished habanero cake, smashing it up into a spongy powder, adding some liquid non-dairy creamer, forming the mix into balls, freezing them, melting chocolate and rolling the frozen cake balls in the chocolate and again refreezing them. I made this for a going away party at work and we were all making cultural foods, this worked great and everyone liked it (the best was how everyone slowly kept refilling their cups of pop and water after having the cake balls, I didn't tell them until everyone had tried one!).
ecogeeko (author)  ralegg6 years ago
Wow! That's a great idea! Kinda sounds like a habanero-chocolate truffle or something. I'm glad your office enjoyed them. =)
rainbowcake6 years ago
mmm 2 of my favorite things!! i gotta try this!!
Spicy chocolate, I say and ask people about that at school all the time. Same with sour chocolate. +1 vote. +1 rating.
Spicy chocolate is awesome. Sour + chocolate, super good. My PMS lunch in college would sometimes be a Toblerone bar and a large fresh squeezed lemonade. Little nutritional value but delicious.
People looked at me like I was a crazy person when I told them this, but the best white chocolate I think I have ever tasted (and one of the best chocolates overall) is lemon and black pepper flavoured (by a company called Kschokolat or something like that).

OM NOM NOM
A N M PKM6 years ago
I found that flavor (citron & poivre) here:

http://www.chocolat-frey.com/

Though Target used to carry that flavor, apparently they do no longer. Time for an email campaign?
Interesting. Have you ever tried making a cake from tomato soup? it's really good.
iglo12346 years ago
how many does this serve?
tabi6 years ago
As a matter of fact, chocolate is a prhispanic delicacy, it was here when the spaniards came. The aztecs used to make it with hot chilies and water (there were no cows to milk) and it migrated to Spain and Austria to become the hot cocoa we all have... ;) In some places like Oaxaca, Chiapas, Tabasco and Guatemala it is still made with hot water (it is called chocolate de agua, or water chocolate) as either a breakfast drink or a late afternoon one, spiked with powdered chile and/or cinnamon
Goodhart7 years ago
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.

Some info then: first, the Heat comes from capsicum, and despite rumors to the contrary, it is an "alkaline" substance (little known fact: alkalines can burn worse than acids sometimes).
Capsicum is also dissolved in oil. Part of the delay is from it's dispersion in the cake. Part of that is due to the milk fats in the milk used. And there are some fatty acids in milk too, so a little bit of the alkaline will be neutralized.
Personally, I wouldn't use the habaneros, but the jalepenos sound good. :-)

I have experienced Jalepeno chocolates already; I like the idea of using that in a cake.
Thoth Goodhart6 years ago
Its not an acid-base reaction that neutralizes some of the heat rather the milk protein casein is lipophilic (fat loving) and bind to the capsaicin molecule's hydrocarbon tail. By binding to it, it makes the capsaicin unavailable to bind to your taste receptors. Also casein has a higher affinity for capsaicin than the taste receptors on your tongue, that is why dairy helps cool your mouth off.
n0ukf Thoth6 years ago
The heat from the pepper is neutralized by sugar, as indicated by the Scoville measurement http://www.cosmicchile.com/xdpy/kb/scoville-heat-unit.html
Goodhart n0ukf6 years ago
That never seems to work for me :-) (like I hinted at below, the higher Cocao chocolates have a lot less sugar)
ecogeeko (author)  n0ukf6 years ago
That was a very insightful link, THANKS! I've heard some horror stories about that Mad Dog 347!
Goodhart Thoth6 years ago
Hmm, I find that pickles (with the vinegar) seems to work faster....but then that might just be me :-) Thanks for the info on why milk (especially whole milk) helps some too.
ALSO, the "hot" chocolate I have eaten are not milk chocolates but 73% or higher dark chocolates.. I like them :-)
I had some amazing drinking chocolate with habaneros last week, so this is looking better and better!
Jalapeno ice cream HAS GOT to be next! MMM!:)
Jay1176 years ago
lol "hot" chocolate cake.
depayton7 years ago
I made the Habanero cake. I used a recipe that called for .33 of oil and no milk. I put the cleaned habaneros in a food processor with the oil and completed the recipe. It was an amazing cake. Nice and warm with sweetness to counter act the hotness. Good job on the cake. I love it, I made my friends one.
myrrhmaid7 years ago
It's making me drool! Clever idea of making one like the thermometer on the salsa bottles! I have to try it someday!
hmm.. lol habanero?
idk but i know in most of my chocolate cakes i put just a tad of chili powder in! =) it well... idk you cant taste it, it just makes it like,... better!? haha
I'm so curious about eating this cake. I also love the decorations on top. Reminds me of the gelato displays.
The chocolate with habanero or jalapeno is damn fine stuff I'll be making this.
Mmm I havn't seen cakes yet, granted I can aquire chocolate with habaneros, jalapenos or something else in it, I have a notion its a chili of a variety...