Mexican Chocolate Cake

When my good friend Greg Atkinson, author of The Northwest Essentials Cookbook, (Sasquatch Books, 1999) called to ask me what I thought of Mexican chocolate cake, I laughed and responded that there was no such thing, of course. Well, apparently Greg has been making a Mexican chocolate cake for over 10 years that he likes to make for Halloween. He shared his recipe in the October 19, 2003 issue of Pacific Northwest, the Seattle Times Magazine. If you would like to read the accompanying article, log on to

Makes 12 servings

  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Grease the sides of a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with baker’s parchment. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor, grind the almonds and chocolate chips with the cocoa until very, very fine. Stir the ground-chocolate mixture together with the flour and allspice and set aside.

Separate the eggs into yolks and whites. Put the whites in the work bowl of an electric mixer and the yolks in a separate mixing bowl.

Whisk the egg yolks with 1/2 cup of the sugar and the vanilla until light and fluffy, then whisk in the oil and set aside. Beat the egg whites with the vinegar and salt until the whites hold stiff peaks. With the mixer still running, stream in the rest of the sugar and continue beating for a few seconds to dissolve the sugar.

Fold one third of the egg whites and half the ground-chocolate mixture into the bowl with the yolks. Fold in another third of the whites with the remaining chocolate mixture, then fold in the last third of the whites to make a light, fluffy batter.

Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan and bake for 30 minutes or just until the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Turn the cooled cake upside down onto a larger pan or directly onto a serving platter and peel away the baker’s parchment.

Coat the cake with chocolate glaze, then pipe the powdered-sugar glaze over the chocolate glaze in a spiral pattern. To form the lines of the web pattern, draw a knife across the glaze from the center of the cake outward at regular intervals.

For the Chocolate Glaze

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

Put the chocolate chips and the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool.

For the Powdered Sugar Glaze

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons half-and-half, or as needed

Put the powdered sugar and half-and-half in a small bowl and stir until smooth. If the glaze seems pasty, add a little more cream. The glaze should be soft enough to flow steadily in a thick stream from the spoon, but not too runny. Put the glaze into a self-sealing food-storage bag and snip off one corner to create a simple pastry bag.

Reprinted from Pacific Northwest, The Seattle Times Magazine, Oct. 10, 2003

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