The first sensation to hit me was the smell of soil, then the warmth embraced me, and then the color consumed my vision. The color green seemed so foreign to my eyes and nearly forgotten. I had left the muddy, murky, chilly outdoors and stepped inside a greenhouse, where fat, fluffy rabbits nestled in an enviable way, and the chickens were surely squawking the latest gossip. The downy chicks, the paper-thin seedlings, the climbing kale, the pop of pepper color in the corner, all of it seemed to say, “It’s time to emerge from hibernation!” It’s amazing what a dose of plants can do to your spirits!
This cake, like an early spring wander in a greenhouse, will tease your senses and bring you to life. Cinnamon, when used more robustly, adds quite a spiciness. Top that with a spicy chocolate, and you’ll start the feel the warmth that looms just around the corner.
Spice Up Your Spring!
Whole Wheat Cinnamon Spice Layer Cake with Chile Chocolate Sauce
About This Recipe: This recipe has three main components- a cinnamon simple syrup, a chile chocolate sauce and the cake itself- but none of them are very difficult. For the chili chocolate sauce, I used a dried Morita chile from my local Mexican grocer. You could also try the international section at your grocery store. You could use a variety of dried chiles, just do your research to prevent unwanted heat levels (whatever your heat level preferences may be). Cinnamon itself adds quite a kick to the cake too, so this is a very flavorful, spicy combination.
*Cinnamon Simple Syrup
2 cups water
4 cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 cups organic raw cane sugar
In a small sauce pot, combine water and cinnamon sticks, and bring to boil.
Simmer for 10 minutes. Use tongs to remove cinnamon sticks. Return water to a boil, add sugar, and stir until sugar is dissolved.
Chile Chocolate Sauce
1 dried chile (I used a Morita chile)
1 cup plus 1 1/2 Tablespoons organic heavy cream
1 cup plus 1 1/2 Tablespoons cinnamon simple syrup* (see recipe above)
4.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used Guittard 63% cacao)
1 Tablespoon hot paprika
dash of cayenne pepper
In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Turn off heat, and add dried chile; let stand until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain liquid; cut chili into small pieces.
Combine cream and simple syrup in a small saucepan set over medium heat; bring to a simmer.
Add chocolate, chili, paprika, and red pepper, stirring until chocolate melts to combine. Allow to cool.
Whole Wheat Cinnamon Spice Cake
2 cups organic whole-wheat pastry flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
3 Tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 1/2 cups organic turbinado raw cane sugar
1/2 cup organic coconut oil (solid)
3 large organic/cage-free eggs, room temperature
1 cup organic whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch round springform cake pans.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
Beat together coconut oil and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until combined, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add eggs and beat well, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture, beating until combined.
Add milk and vanilla and beat until just combined.
Divide batter between pans; smooth tops with an offset spatula.
Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, 33 to 35 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans on wire racks 15 minutes.
Turn out cakes onto racks to cool completely.
Place bottom cake layer on a plate. Frost with a layer of chocolate, and then top with the second layer of cake. Drizzle and spread chocolate sauce over the top and sides.
Garnish with a dusting of cinnamon, homemade whipped cream, and morello cherries.