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Ancho Chile Chocolate Cake Recipe


chocolate chips

This nearly flourless chocolate cake gets a hint of spice with the addition of ancho chiles, a dried form of the poblano. Paired with salted almond ice cream and almond brittle, this rich dessert covers all the bases in textures and flavors. 


For the ancho chile chocolate cake:

  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 3 dried ancho chiles
  • Simple syrup
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 ounces butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • Pinch of salt

For the salted almond ice cream:

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus more for the almonds
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar, not packed
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups fat-free milk
  • 1 ½ cups half and half
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup whole almonds

For the almond brittle:

  • 1 ½ cups almonds, blanched and sliced
  • 1 ½ cups butter
  • 2 ½ cups sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon salt


For the ancho chile chocolate cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the chocolate chips in a mixing bowl and set aside.

Roast chilies in sauté pan 1-2 minutes. Re-hydrate chiles with simple syrup. Peel and seed chiles, then purée and set aside. In a pot, bring juice and sugar to a boil and pour over chocolate. While mixer is on a low speed, add butter and chile paste. Add eggs one at a time. Add flour and salt.  Pour mix into baking containers (medium ramekins) and place in a water bath (put ramekins in baking dish and add water until 1/3 of the way up the side of the ramekins. Avoid getting water into the ramekins). Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the salted almond ice cream:

In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs until well blended. Set aside.

Pour the heavy cream into a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice and set a medium-mesh sieve on top. Set aside.

In a sauce pan on medium heat, melt the butter, stirring constantly, until it just begins to brown.  Add the the brown sugar and salt. Stir until the sugar completely melts. Slowly stir in milk and half and half. Heat until sugar is completely dissolved, but do not boil as it will cause curdling. Slowly pour half of the milk and sugar mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly. Then add warmed egg mixture back into the sauce pan with remaining milk-sugar mixture.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden or heatproof rubber spatula, scraping the bottom as your stir, until mixture thickens and coats the spatula, about 5-7 minutes.  Pour the custard through the sieve and stir it into the cream. Add vanilla and stir until cool. Chill in refrigerator. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay almonds on a roasting pan in a single layer, coat with melted butter. Bake until lightly toasted, about 6-8 minutes. Let cool. Chop almonds and set aside.

Pour chilled cream mixture into ice cream maker and churn for 25 minutes or to desired consistency. Add chopped almonds and churn for another 5 minutes. Serve immediately or place covered in the freezer. 

For the almond brittle:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread almonds on a baking sheet and toast until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

In a heavy sauce pan over medium-high heat, combine butter, sugar, water, and salt. Stir constantly. Brush side of pot down with a wet pastry brush to remove sugar crystals. Boil, without stirring, until sugar is melted, and mixture is a caramel color, about 8-10 minutes.

Remove from heat and immediately add almonds, stirring quickly to combine. Working quickly, pour mixture on baking sheet, spreading evenly. Allow to cool, then break into pieces.

Scoop ice cream onto brownie and gently push in a chunk of brittle.