Chocolate-cayenne cake with raspberry filling

The pseudo Black Forest Cake was a success a couple of weeks ago (yes, posting here is very sporadic) and I was talking about it with one of the grad students as part of a broader conversation about cooking. This inspired her to make Colombian empanadas, and I found one at my desk on Friday. Yum!

To reciprocate, I thought I’d make another cake and bring her a slice. I did the chocolate genois again using the sous vide water bath. But not being content with making the same thing twice, I decided to play with the flavors. I like the Lindt dark chocolate bars with chili, so I went for a little spice in the chocolate.

Chocolate-cayenne genoise

Dry stuff

3/4 cup cake flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Sifted together.

Wet stuff

6 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat this together over the 115F water bath until peaks form.

1/2 stick butter, melted


  • I avoided the microwave exploding butter this time, but I did make two butter-related mistakes: I didn’t take it out of the freezer early enough and it wasn’t fully melted by the time I needed it. Then I overmixed the 1 c aliquot of the foam with the melted butter… note to self: do this by hand, not with the stick blender whisk! So I lost some volume. It was thinner than last time (compare the pic from the last post; that’s after it’s was cut in half!), which made cutting it it half a little bit harder.
  • Last time I only put parchment on the bottom of the springform. This time I decided to put parchment on the sides too. I was puzzled about how to get the parchment strips to hold up until I realized I could stick them to sides of the pan with softened butter.


Cake Syrup and Raspberry filling

The Framboise based cake syrup was good last time, but there was way too much of it. The recipe called for 8 oz of sugar and water and then an equal volume of liqueur. Way, way too much. The problem, of course, is being able to heat and dissolve a small volume. I decided to use a measuring cup as my cooking vessel.

1 oz sugar
1 oz water

I put the whole measuring cup in water in a small saucepan and heated it to dissolve the sugar. I added an equal volume of Framboise. Part of this was used to dampen the bottom layer of the cake.

I decided to modify this recipe for a raspberry cake filling. Instead of just frozen berries, sugar, and cornstarch, I used some of the syrup and some raspberry preserves.

1 cup frozen raspberries
2 tsp cornstarch (reduced from the 1T in the recipe)
~50 ml of the framboise cake syrup from above
1/4 cup raspberry preserves.


Non-dairy chocolate ganache

Recipes like this one suggest replacing the heavy cream with coconut milk. The first problem I had was using Martha Stewart, who suggests 8 oz chocolate with 1.5 c heavy cream. That’s about 12.5 g by weight. In hindsight, other sites suggest closer to a 1:1 ratio. I ended up making a way too think ganache and thickening it by mixing in pieces of Lindt 90% over a 110F sous vide bath. The final result may have been a bit too thick and possibly could have been used a a higher temperature for pouring over the cake. But the final result looked pretty nice.


The irregularity around the edges could be improved. I wonder if I should have trimmed it or primed it with something before pouring the ganache icing over it.

The bigger problem is that the loss of volume was not uniform. Once we sliced into it and ate it, there was maybe a 1/4 inch tough and eggy layer where the batter must have separated and settled out. Presumably this was due to the overmixing when I incorporated the butter.