so, the chocolate cake. it was pretty good, if i can toot my own horn. i wanted it to have the flavor of mexican hot chocolate (one of my favorite treats in the world), so i experimented a bit. first i tried melting a couple abuelita tablets to substitute for the cocoa powder and water mixture from the recipe. this was a bust as the chocolate was way too gritty. so instead i stayed true to the recipe and added 2 teaspoons of freshly ground mexican cinnamon. i also boiled a couple cinnamon sticks in the water. you can find mexican cinnamon down the "latin foods" aisle at the grocery store. all of the spices are sold in packets. i don't like to get the cinnamon that's already ground; you get so much more flavor from the sticks. and yes, there is a difference between regular cinnamon sticks and the mexican cinnamon sticks; the mexican cinnamon is softer and little more papery, not to mention the flavor being completely different. i ground the sticks in my magic bullet. can i just tell you that i love that thing? i bought it at costco and it works so well, especially for the price. then i sifted the cinnamon a bit -- you need to do this to pick out the tiny "sticks" (when you do this, you'll see what i mean).
between the layers of cake, i used marshmallow creme as the filling. still going for that hot chocolate flavor, ya see? it was very yummy, just know that it will run a bit when it is cut, but it won't make the cake soggy. for the frosting, i added about 2 teaspoons (you'll really just have to add to taste) of mexican cinnamon to my chocolate buttercream. i also used mexican vanilla in both the cake and the frosting. so there you go, a mexican hot chocolate cake. seriously delicious.
and here's the quick chocolate buttercream recipe, in case you need one:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
6 cups confectioners' sugar
6 T milk (plus more, if needed)
2 t vanilla extract
1/4 t salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips, melted and cooled to room temp
beat together butter, sugar, milk, vanilla and salt with flat paddle attachment*. scrape down sides of the bowl; continue mixing for a couple more minutes. add in chocolate and mix until combined. add more milk if frosting is too dry.
*i like to use the whisk attachment to make my frosting really light and fluffy, rather than rich and dense. it's personal preference, however. and it depends on the cake.