The Love Goddess Cake combines the light, sweet texture of a towering chocolate layer cake with a subtle kick of chile. But that description doesn’t come close to capturing the effect. On first bite, the chiles’ heat is subdued, and you get a delicate cake with a surprising depth of flavor. Then, seconds later, there’s a sensation of fireworks.
Serve it with a coffee-flavored tequila liqueur to continue the roasted flavors.
From the story: Deep, dark inspiration
In a small pan, bring the cream to a simmer over high heat. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl and pour the hot cream over it. Let the mixture stand until the chocolate softens, about 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth.
Whisk in the chili powders. Let the mixture stand until completely cooled, about half an hour. With an electric mixer at medium speed, beat in the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until smooth. Do not overbeat. Cover with plastic wrap and keep at room temperature until ready to use.
Whipped cream frosting
Pour the whipping cream into a chilled medium mixing bowl. With an electric mixture on medium speed, slowly beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer to high and beat until stiff. Do not overbeat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-inch round pans (2 inches deep). Line the pans with parchment and dust with flour. Tap out the excess.
Whisk the cocoa and boiling water in medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in the room-temperature water and let stand until the mixture cools.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and chili powder.
Beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixture at high speed until the mixture is light in color and texture, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the ground vanilla beans or extract.
On low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions of the cocoa mixture, scraping the bowl often until smooth.
Spread the batter evenly in the pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove the cakes from the pans and cool completely.
Place one cake layer upside-down on a cake plate. Spread with all of the chocolate filling. Top with the other cake layer, right side up.
Spread a thin layer of the whipped cream frosting over the top and sides of the cake to affix any crumbs to the cake so they won’t mar the white frosting. Then continue to frost the cake, trying not to disturb the first coat. Refrigerate (up to 8 hours ahead). If chilled, let stand 30 minutes before serving. Just before serving, decorate with flower petals.
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