Spice Up Valentine’s Day With a Luscious Cake

BY Lynda Balslev TIMEFebruary 7, 2022 PRINT

It’s never a bad idea to spice things up on Valentine’s Day. After all, in many successful relationships, a little intrigue and an element of surprise keep things exciting. Now, before you jump to any conclusions (after all, this is a food column), I am talking about cake.

In this recipe, chocolate is teased with a little spice, resulting in a luscious flourless cake, perfect for Valentine’s Day or any day when you crave a rich chocolate dessert. Don’t be deterred by the spices. Laced with chile powder, cayenne, and cinnamon, this dense fudgy cake has a kick of smoke and heat cloaked in chocolate.

While the spices may sound, well, savory, and yes, spicy, they are restrained and add just enough complexity to thoroughly complement the intensity of the chocolate and round out its flavor, providing a playful je ne sais quoi moment for the happy recipients. Now that’s an exciting cake.

Flourless Chile-Chocolate Cake

Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, plus cooling time

Serves 8 to 10

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, cut in pieces
  • 12 ounces semisweet (65 to 70 percent) chocolate, chopped
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • Powdered sugar or whipped cream for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the parchment.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.

Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate, vanilla, chile powder, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne and stir to combine. Pour into the springform. Bake until cake is set and the top begins to crack, about 40 minutes. (The center will still be moist.)

Transfer the pan to a rack and cool completely. Remove the side of the pan. The cake may be made up to one day in advance. Cover and refrigerate.

Cut into wedges and serve sprinkled with powdered sugar or top with whipped cream.

Lynda Balslev is a cookbook author, food and travel writer, and recipe developer based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives with her Danish husband, two children, a cat, and a dog. Lynda studied cooking at Le Cordon Bleu Ecole de Cuisine in Paris and worked as a personal chef, culinary instructor, and food writer in Switzerland and Denmark. Copyright 2021 Lynda Balslev. Distributed by Andrews McMeel Syndication.
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