Saturday, February 22, 2014

February Birthday Cakes ~ Mexican Chocolate with Lime & Cream Cheese Frosting

I had a LOT of names to write this month.  It's spring, so we have a lot of new hires at work.  I didn't have an updated list of employee birthdays, so I just brought my writing icing with me.  Good thing ~ I kept finding more people to add.  I hope I got everyone.

This month I wanted to try something different.  Kirk sent me his grandmother's recipe for Italian Cream Cake some time back and I had my heart set on that one, but I didn't have any buttermilk.  Darn.

So I looked through my bookmarked recipes on and found one ~ Mexican Chocolate Cake.  It sounded perfect ~ very chocolatey with cinnamon and a little kick from some cayenne.  I get to try out my fancy new Korintje cinnamon!  Bonus!

 It was lovely.  I can't say how moist and tender and YUM this one was!  Absolutely fabulous.  And so easy!  Preheat the oven, grease a pan, dump all ingredients together, and mix.

The recipe didn't call for mixing dry ingredients together, then wet, THEN mixing them both together, but I did it anyway out of habit (Ha!  I'm developing cake-baking habits!).  I don't know if it made any difference.

I didn't like the glaze that the original recipe called for.  I was wanting a frosting I could decorate.  I thought about it for a while and decided cream cheese would be good.

Then inspiration struck.  Lime!  Cream cheese and lime!  It was perfect - nice and thick for beautiful spreading, creamy cheesy goodness to compliment the chocolate, and tangy lime to oh-so-slightly cool off the cayenne kick.  Perfect!

I found out that there are a lot of people at work who are gluten-intolerant, so I decided to try to make a gluten-free version.  There's a new girl named Jennifer who works at a bakery that does a lot of gluten-free things, so I asked her advice.  One thing she said was that flour made from garbonzo beans was great, so I looked for it at the grocery store.  Lo and behold, they had it!  Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour.  Sub for regular flour one-to-one.  Perfect!  Easy.  I like easy. 

I made a double-tier regular cake and a single-tier gluten-free one, and they were both gone in hours despite the bosses buying pizza for everyone that day.  25 pizzas and they still finished off the cakes?  I'd say they were a hit. 

Mexican Chocolate Cake
(halve the recipe for one 8" cake)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
4 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or ground mexican chili powder)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups cold water
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
Heat oven to 350*F. Lightly coat two 8" round cake pans with vegetable cooking spray. Combine all cake ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until smooth. Pour into pans and bake 25 to 30 minutes (until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean). Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely.

Lime & Cream Cheese Frosting
1 pkg cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
5+ cups confectioner's sugar
4Tbsp. lime juice

Combine all ingredients except the sugar and beat the hell out of them 'til they're smooth and creamy.  Add sugar a cup at a time, blending well between each addition.  Keep adding sugar until you have the consistency you want.  

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