Saturday, 6 August 2011

Chocolate, Chilli and Orange Ripple Cake

It wasn't until after I'd decided to make this Alice Medrich recipe again that I realised the instructions also contained the 'jinx' phrase 'whisk until pale and thick'. I guess it proves that jinxes are just figments of the imagination - this time the recipe worked really well!

I made this cake about 4 months ago, but decided that it was too large for my bundt tin, and that the flavours were a bit too subtle. This time I reduced everything by about 20% - some ingredients were more accurately recalculated than others - and changed the black pepper for cayenne (chilli) pepper. I also used the grated zest of a whole orange in the plain batter.

Here is the revised recipe:
4 1/2 tablespoons cocoa
4 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 tablespoons water

320g plain flour
2 scant tsp baking powder
pinch salt
320g caster sugar
200ml light olive oil
4 cold eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200ml cold semi-skimmed milk
finely grated zest of one large orange

Pre-heat the oven to 180C and prepare a 10-cup bundt tin (a tin which is at least 2.4 litres in capacity).
Put the first 4 ingredients into a small bowl and mix until they form a smooth paste; set aside.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a small bowl; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, oil and vanilla until well blended and smooth. Whisk in the eggs 1 at a time, then continue whisking until the mixture is thick and pale - about 3 minutes with an electric hand whisk.
Reduce the whisk to a slow speed, then mix in 1/3 portions of the flour alternately with the milk, whisking only as much as necessary to make a smooth batter.
Weigh out  400g of the batter into a bowl and mix in the cocoa paste mix.
Mix the orange zest into the plain portion of the batter.
Using 1/3 of each batter at a time, layer them alternately into the bundt tin, starting with the orange batter.
Bake for about 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean; cool for 15 minutes in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Dust with icing sugar before serving.

As before, the texture of this cake was really good - moist with a close even crumb. Using cayenne powder instead of black pepper, and more orange zest boosted the flavour just the right amount. The cayenne wasn't overpowering, but by the time you'd eaten a whole slice you were certainly aware of the warmth of the spice. Last time I didn't really notice the black pepper at all.

This is one of the best  pound cake recipes using oil that I've tried. I'll have to try it as a basic pound cake, without the chocolate ripples, to see if it works as well as a plain cake - it will then be more adaptable when wanting to try other flavours. I'm just worried that leaving out the cocoa and extra sugar will affect the balance of the cake too much.


Foodycat said...

So did you ripple the batters at all, or is it just the rising action through the layers that does that? It looks so good! And I think the flavours sound much better.

Katie said...

This looks and sounds amazing. I've been attemping to use fresh chilli in cakes and find on baking all the flavour dissapears. Seeing this I think I'll try using cayenne. Love the flavours of choc, orange and chilli altogether. Your marble is perfect too.

Aveen said...

Looks absolutely wonderful. I love the idea of chocolate, orange and chilli all together. Love the shape of your bundt tin too!

Suelle said...

No extra rippling, Foodycat - just pour in the layers, one on top of the other, then let the movement during baking make the patterns.

Ruth said...

It looks fantastic!! I will have to try it. I have a bundt tin that I rarely use so no excuses for me!!

Dom at Belleau Kitchen said...

It looks stunning Suelle. I had the same question as foodycat but you answered! I have fond memories of this cake as an old aunt used to make it and I've always wanted to recreate it. The texture really looks fabulous too!

Suelle said...

Thank you, Dom! I think the secret to these cakes which ripple themselves is a batter which is thin enough to pour. Most classic British recipes make batters which are much thicker, which then only produce marbled clumps with the assistance of a skewer or the blade of a knife, As in this recipe

Chele said...

Love the ripple, so perfectly done! My sis in law would love this cake, it is jam packed with all her favourite flavours.

C said...

It really does look stunning, and the flavour combination sounds amazing. I must get round to making this recipe soon, it definitely looks a winner!

Baking Addict said...

Your cake looks really beautiful! I have to give this a go. Lovely flavour combination.

Anonymous said...

The ripples in this look so perfect! I think you might have inspired me to go out and buy a bundt tin, just to try this recipe...

celia said...

You really are the queen of marble cakes, Suelle! Yours looks positively art nouveau! :)

Choclette said...

I've said it before Suelle and I'm saying it again, you really are the queen of marbling. This looks exquisite. Really like the sound of the flavours in this too. I still haven't tried baking with pepper, but chilli is a firm favourite.

Joanna @ Zeb Bakes said...

How do these olive oil cakes compare to butter? what would you say the main difference is, texture, taste? I really ought to try one of these and widen my horizons a bit...

I dreamt I lived in marbled halls and ate Suelle's cakes every day... tra la!

Suelle said...

Joanna - with the right recipe - such as this one, the texture is very good, and the cake stays moist. Like all cakes, there's a wide variation in how good the recipes are!

I think the main difference is in the flavour, but in a cake with strong flavours, even that isn't too noticeable to me. Someone with a more refined palate might notice the difference more.