Mexican Chocolate Cake

Monday, February 20, 2012

mexican chocolate cake

So every once in a special while my friend hosts Taco Night at a nearby bar.  They don’t normally allow outside food in, but Jake charms them and this Polish (yes, Polish) bar lets Jake bring in 100 tacos for his friends to feast on.  So in honor of Tacozawa night, I did this week’s Project Pastry Queen project a little early and was able to bring Mexican Chocolate Cake to go with the tacos.  In a testament to Rebecca’s recipe, the cake got more compliments than the tacos, which I’m pretty sure is a first!

The cake is light in texture but rich in flavor and the glaze is…well, it’s the icing on the cake.  Except for the little problem I had with the glaze seizing up on me (turning super gritty to the point of no return-it was my fault for having the heat on too high) and having to start over on it, this cake is super simple and took almost no work at all.  The cinnamon in the batter makes this a very fun and refreshing change from your normal chocolate cake and at Tacozawa I was even told from someone whose family is actually from Mexico that this cake tasted extremely authentic.  Bring it to your next gathering and it’ll be the talk of the party!

Note: I used E. Guittard Cocoa Rouge for the cocoa powder in this recipe and it was absolutely delicious.  I think it’s the reason my cake almost came out jet-black and so rich in chocolate flavor.  I highly recommend it!

Check out the other PPQers take on this recipe here and thanks, Jen, for a fantastic choice this week!

Mexican Chocolate Cake
From The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup high-quality cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar (sift first, then measure the 2 cups of sugar out)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and heavily grease a 9″ tube pan or a Bundt pan (this was my first foray into owning a Bundt pan and, as you can see, I went for the vintage shaped pan instead of the more traditional shape).  If you don’t have baking non-stick spray, use butter and then sprinkle the inside with flour, tapping the excess out of the pan.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat and whisk in the cocoa until smooth.  Add the water to the cocoa butter mixture and whisk until smooth, then turn the burner off.
  3. Add the sugar, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla to the cocoa mixture and whisk until ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.
  4. Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt all at once and whisk until everything is, again, fully incorporated (Rebecca warns it’s okay if there are some small lumps, but I didn’t encounter any).
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and slide it in the oven to bake for 40-45 minutes, until firm yet springy to the touch and the edges start to pull slightly away from the pan.
  6. Take the pan out (leave the oven on) and let the cake cool for 20 minutes in the pan, then invert the cake on to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  7. Once you take the pan out of the oven, spread the pecans out on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for 5-7 minutes.  Let them cool for a few minutes and then coarsely chop them.  I like lots of big pecan pieces so I didn’t chop them up too much.
  8. Melt the butter over low heat in a medium saucepan, then turn off the burner.
  9. Add the milk, cocoa and powdered  sugar and whisk until glossy.  (Warning:  My glaze seized and turned super gritty at this point so that it was completely unusable, and all of this happened super fast.  I think it was because I accidentally overheated it, which is why I had you turn off the heat in the last step.)
  10. Whisk the vanilla, salt and pecans into the glaze.
  11. Carefully move the cake onto your desired serving dish and pour the warm glaze over the top of the cake.  Enjoy-and be sure to have a glass of milk on hand!


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