This Mexican inspired dark chocolate cake forms its own rich chocolatey-cinnamon-vanilla taste as it bakes.
This Mexican inspired dark chocolate cake forms its own rich chocolatey-cinnamon-vanilla taste as it bakes. (NASHOBA VALLEY VOICE/DIANNE BORDONARO)

Surprise your Valentine on February 14 with a comforting dessert, this Mexican inspired dark chocolate cake forms its own rich chocolatey-cinnamon-vanilla taste as it bakes.

I used reasonably priced Nestlé Abuelita (or you could use the more expensive Taza Chocolate Mexicano) round tablets of solid dark chocolate primarily used for making Mexican hot chocolate. The addition of whole-wheat pastry flour adds a light nutty taste and fiber to the other health-conscious ingredients, pulling together a rich-tasting dessert without being rich in calories.

Indulge with a dollop of cinnamon cream and it's cupid's bow delivered straight to the heart!

DECADENT MEXICAN-CHOCOLATE CAKE

Serves 12

INGREDIENTS

Cake:

1 cup spring water

2 tabs Nestlé ABUELITA Mexican hot chocolate drink tablets, chopped (or 2 tabs TAZA Chocolate Mexicano, chopped)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1/3 cup natural sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 Tsp baking powder

1/4 Tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup almond or oat milk

1 large cage-free egg, lightly beaten

2 Tbsp cold-pressed canola oil

2 Tsp Pure Vanilla extract with Madagascar Bourbon

3/4 cup brown sugar

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Fresh mint leaves for garnish

Cinnamon Cream:

1 cup heavy cream

3 Tbsp confectioners' sugar

1 Tsp vanilla extract with Madagascar Bourbon

1/4 Tsp ground cinnamon

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 350ºF.


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Lightly coat a 1 1/2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; set aside.

Whisk milk, egg, oil and vanilla in a small bowl; set aside. In a small pan over medium heat, bring water to boil, add in chopped ABUELITA chocolate and whisk until completely dissolved. Remove pan from heat, add melted ABUELITA chocolate to milk, egg, oil and vanilla mixture and using an electric beater, mix for 1 - 2 minutes to incorporate all liquids and chocolate.

Gently make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and gradually pour in the wet ingredients, stirring to combine. Spoon into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Dissolve brown sugar and gently spoon over batter. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes until a cake-tester inserted in center is set and the top springs back when lightly touched.

Remove baking dish to wire rack and cool slightly. Serve slices of cake with a spoonful of cinnamon cream, sprinkle all over with confectioners' sugar and garnish with a fresh mint leaf.

To prepare cinnamon cream: Beat cream and confectioners' sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, for 1 minute. Add vanilla and cinnamon; beat to combine until cream forms peaks. Cream can be prepared for up to 1 day, cover and refrigerate.