Yet another casual idea that grew to epic proportions.
I originally decided to make a chocolate chili cake came back in February, in honor of a fellow Borner Farmer’s birthday and her passion for spicy food. I knew it would also be well received by the hot pepper aficionados here at Chrysalis Earth Farm. I pieced together a recipe for a chocolate chili loaf cake, based heavily on a “Chocolate Yogurt Cake” from BakedBree. Alas, the timing didn’t work out quite right… the rest of the household was feeling under the weather, had already overdosed on sweets, and was heading out of town for a week.
And so the thought sat simmering on the back burner for a month, with a pinch of this inspiration and that tossed in every so often, until it finally emerged transformed into Hot Red Velvet Cake. Pulling the final beet bed to make room for salad mix firmly planted the idea to incorporate beets into my mind… especially since it allowed for such a catchy name!
I am admittedly playing fast and loose with what is generally considered “red velvet cake” — a vibrantly red chocolate layer cake with cream cheese frosting or roux icing. (If we had any cream cheese in the house, it would have been easy and awesome to make a cream cheese glaze.) As I dug a little deeper into the matter, I realized that what we know of now as a “red velvet cake” is merely a by-product of the food industry. Ben Starr provides a fascinating history of red velvet cake and a carefully developed recipe for an authentic “mahogany velvet cake.” I was happy to return to the roots of this classic cake: non-alkalized cocoa powder, and its natural brick red color.
Along the way, I stumbled upon a recipe from A Beautiful Plate that convinced me to make a bundt cake. Seemed particularly appropriate considering I originally welcomed my soon-to-be friend with a parsnip bundt cake three years ago. And, besides, it’s just so much easier to pop a bundt cake out of the pan and glaze it than carefully construct a layer cake.
And so, in gratitude to the many sources of inspiration that came together in this truly unique and delicious cake, and especially for the fantastic woman who taught me to appreciate hot chilies, I present to you: Red Hot Velvet Bundt Cake!
Red Hot Velvet Bundt Cake
1 3/4 cup flour (I combined whole wheat, spelt, and oat flour. I imagine all-purpose or whole grain pastry would work well.)
2/3 cup cocoa powder (non-alkalized if possible)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons ground chili of your choice (I used just one teaspoon since Buena Mulata was what I had on hand — a Caribbean pepper almost as hot as habanero. It gave the cake a distinctive kick without overpowering it.)
6 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup honey (or sweetener of choice)
6 oz. plain yogurt
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
1 cup beet puree (great way to beets too tiny even for pickling!)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2-3 teaspoons water (just enough to make glaze pourable)
In a small bowl, combine together dry ingredients. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sweetener until light and fluffy, then beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in half the dry ingredients until smooth. Whisk together the yogurt, water, and vanilla extract, then incorporate into the batter. Gradually mix in the beet puree and remaining dry ingredients until smooth. Preheat oven to 350F and grease bundt pan thoroughly. Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 45-55 minutes. Allow to cool about 10-15 minutes, then flip onto plate and allow to cool completely. Once cooled, whisk together glaze (you want it to be very thick) and pour over cake before serving. Truly exceptional!