Wednesday, July 29, 2009

my first cayanne pepper! and i put it in a cake...

so in honor of our lovely housemate Pacifica, who will soon be leaving us for grad school in Arizona, i decided to make a special cake tonight. this may not seem that relevant to gardening, but actually the cake recipe called for a cayenne pepper, which i picked from my garden this weekend.

cayenne pepper turning red

pepper seedlings, three months earlier.

the first time i met Pac was during her house interview with us after we discovered her (she discovered us) on craigslist. she mentioned during her interview that she makes really good spicy chocolate cookies, and that was when i knew it was meant to be!

over the past 11 months, i've come to find out that Pacifica also shares my love for margaritas, so for this recipe i decided to combine two of her favorites: spicy chocolate and margaritas.

chipotle chocolate cake with a lime tequila cream cheeze frosting and a chocolate cayenne fudge swirl.
and its vegan.

here is the recipe, in 4 parts:


1 cup soy milk 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder, Dutch processed
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (powder)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 chipotle peppers, seeded and minced (I used chipotles in adobo sauce)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease large baking dish (9x13)
2. Whisk together soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla extract to the soy milk mixture and beat till foamy. Stir in chipotle peppers. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt. Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat till no large lumps remain.
3. Pour into cake pan, filling three quarters of the way. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.

(adapted from cupquake blog, which they adapted from vegan cupcakes take over the world)


8 Tbsp earth balance/vegan margarine

8 oz tofutti (or other brand) vegan cream cheeze

2 Tbsp lime juice (approx 2 fresh limes)

1 Tbsp margarita mix
(or just use more lime juice)
1 Tbsp Tequila
1 tsp lime zest (or more to taste)

5 cups powdered sugar (use vegan version)

In a large bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, lime juice, margarita mix, tequilla and lime zest. Beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

2. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and continue beating until smooth. If icing is too thin, add more powdered sugar, a couple tablespoons at a time.

(adapted from hostess blog)


1/3 cup soy milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp earth balance/vegan margarine
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayanne pepper powder
1 cayanne pepper, deseeded and diced-- and home grown! :-)

Melt the margarine in a saucepan over med-low heat. Add the cayenne pepper and sautee for 5 mins over med/med high heat. Add the soy milk and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and add the chocolate and maple syrup. Stir over low heat until melted, then remove from heat and let cool slightly.

(adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance)

4- All together now...

once the cake is cool, pour the cream cheeze frosting on top while the cake is in the pan. spread evenly. add the fudge swirl by dribbling on top in horizontal lines across the cake. use the tip of a knife to cut through the lines vertically to make the marble image. zig zag the knife up and down the whole cake until it looks the way you want it. be careful not to do too many zig zags (you don't want to just mix the icings together).

slice and enjoy!

serves 15 or so
total cooking time was 1 hr 20m

a couple of notes about this recipe:

- the icings are runny, which is perfect for this marble-in-the-pan style cake. but if you plan on doing this in cupcake form instead, there will be some modifications needed. to make the cream cheeze frosting less runny, here are a couple of suggestions
-- add the liquid ingredients last and only add what you really need
-- add more lime zest instead of juice if its already looking too runny
-- use half shortening and half margarine to help it keep its hold
-- check the ingredient list on the margarine. if you are deciding between two different types in the grocery store, pick the one with less water (lower on the ingredient list)

- there are lots of different options for decorating this cake. one option is to make them as cupcakes, omit the fudge, and instead roll the edges of the cupcake in crystallized sugar and sea salt mixture (more sugar than salt). that would be more true to the margarita themed cupcake.

- the recipe calls for some spice, and some really like it hot, but some don't. the current recipe is a happy medium. but if you are like me and really really really like spicy chocolate, experiment with the quantities of the spice (meaning, go ahead and double the cayenne)

- i suppose you don't HAVE to use a home grown cayenne, but its much cooler if you do. ;-)


we'll miss you, pac.


  1. Wow, this looks amazing. Somehow, though I love spicy and I love chocolate I have never tried spicy chocolate. Apparently, I have not yet really lived.

  2. I will miss you, too, Em!!!! To all other readers, this cake was probably one of the most amazing things I had tasted. Ever. I even ate it for breakfast. And I think it's spicier the second day.

  3. to lifelove'nwine, i recommend trying a spicy hot chocolate as your first spiced chocolate experience (like in the movie chocolat). its easy to make and easy to adjust if you want more or less of a kick.

    here's a good recipe to start with:
    8 oz. Whole Milk
    4 TBS Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa
    2 tsp Dutch processed cocoa powder
    1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
    1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

    or if you're feeling lazy, order some from the chocolate bar in NYC-

    SO yum!

  4. Em, such a great idea; creative, gorgeous pictures, totally cute. LOVE it. (but very said I missed the spicy chocolate cake :( ).