red chile cheesecake

Secret Sweet and Spicy Holiday Cakes

Lois Manno Baking, Cooking with Chiles at the Holidays, Desserts Leave a Comment

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By Dave DeWitt

Recipes

I heard a rumor that some holidays were approaching, so being my usual politically-correct self, I’m not going to associate these recipes with any particular religious, ethnic, or patriotic holiday.  It’s a mix-and-match dessert cake scenario.

For centuries, cakes have been some of the most traditional desserts served on important occasions.  From weddings and baptisms and even funerals, cakes have helped us commemorate the beginnings and endings of life’s important moments.  As food historian Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat observed, “In Little Red Riding Hood’s basket, like the butter, the cake shows her respect and love for her grandmother better than any words can do.  In all the folk rituals where gifts are solicited, from Roman times on, cakes have been given to children, who represent both our past and out present.”  That’s a lot of pressure to put on one little dish!

But despite Twinkies and prepackaged cakes at supermarkets, dedicated bakers like my wife Mary Jane have preserved the old recipes as well as experimenting with new ones.  And this experimentation requires the use of chile peppers in one form or another.

Why don’t you serve these to guests without telling them what’s in the desserts?  That should stimulate the conversation and liven up the party.


dark-chocolate-cheesecake-with-red-chile-ganache
Dark Chocolate Cheesecake with Red Chile Ganache
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Mary Jane’s recipe is based on one by the Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten), but the shoeless TV cook wouldn’t dare to use red chile powder! You will need a springform pan for this cake since it would be difficult to get it out of a regular cake pan in one piece. If desired, you can use semisweet chocolate instead of bittersweet in the filling, and the cake will be slightly sweeter.
Servings
8-10
Servings
8-10
dark-chocolate-cheesecake-with-red-chile-ganache
Dark Chocolate Cheesecake with Red Chile Ganache
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Mary Jane’s recipe is based on one by the Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten), but the shoeless TV cook wouldn’t dare to use red chile powder! You will need a springform pan for this cake since it would be difficult to get it out of a regular cake pan in one piece. If desired, you can use semisweet chocolate instead of bittersweet in the filling, and the cake will be slightly sweeter.
Servings
8-10
Servings
8-10
Ingredients
The Graham Crust:
The Chocolate Filling:
The Red Chile Ganache:
Servings:
Units:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. To make the crust, place the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse until combined. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan. Bake the pan for 12 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Put the bittersweet chocolate in a ceramic bowl set over a pan of simmering water, or use a double boiler. Add the espresso and stir until the chocolate is just melted. Set aside until cooled to room temperature.
  3. To make the filling, cream the cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and almond extracts, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the bowl and beater, as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, and the cooled chocolate mixture. Mix thoroughly and pour into the cooled crust.
  4. Bake for one hour. Turn the oven off and allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door opened wide for 1 1/2 hours. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature, until completely cooled.
  5. For the ganache, place the semisweet chocolate in a ceramic bowl set in a pan of simmering water, or use a double boiler. Add the red chile powder and stir it completely into the chocolate. Add the cream and stir into the melting chocolate. Set aside until cooled to room temperature.
  6. Remove the cake from the springform pan by carefully running a hot knife around the outside of the cake. Leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan for serving. Drizzle the ganache over the top of the cheesecake.
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Green chile fruitcake
Not Your Aunt Bertha’s Fruitcake
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Before you go on to another recipe, stop and give this a try! This is not the famed “traveling fruitcake” recipe—the the mythical fruitcake that never spoils and is never eaten! Nope, this is a green chile fruit cake, new and improved, and sassier than ever.
Servings
12 servings
Servings
12 servings
Green chile fruitcake
Not Your Aunt Bertha’s Fruitcake
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Before you go on to another recipe, stop and give this a try! This is not the famed “traveling fruitcake” recipe—the the mythical fruitcake that never spoils and is never eaten! Nope, this is a green chile fruit cake, new and improved, and sassier than ever.
Servings
12 servings
Servings
12 servings
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Units:
Instructions
  1. Position the oven rack in lowest third of oven, and preheat to 250 degrees F. Grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the pecans and fruits with 3 tablespoons flour. In another large bowl, cream the butter with the sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Stir in the green chile, vanilla, lemon and banana extracts. Sift the 1 3/4 cups flour with the baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and stir until blended. Mix the fruit mixture into batter.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake until it turns golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 2 1/2 hours. Cool in the pan on a rack for about 15 minutes. When the 15 minutes is up, turn it out onto the rack to cool. Dust with powdered sugar.
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Mandarin Orange Walnut Piquin Cake
Mandarin Orange Walnut Piquin Cake
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This citrus delight is simple to prepare and and just tart enough to complement the sweet-hot glaze. It is also nice when made in a bundt pan.
Servings
8 slices
Servings
8 slices
Mandarin Orange Walnut Piquin Cake
Mandarin Orange Walnut Piquin Cake
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This citrus delight is simple to prepare and and just tart enough to complement the sweet-hot glaze. It is also nice when made in a bundt pan.
Servings
8 slices
Servings
8 slices
Ingredients
The Glaze
Servings: slices
Units:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, eggs, oranges and juice from the can, walnuts, baking soda, salt and vanilla. Mix by hand, being careful not to over mix. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 45 minutes.
  2. Place the brown sugar, butter, milk, salt, vanilla and piquin powder in a sauce pan. Stir the mixture and bring it to a boil. Let the glaze cool for about 5 minutes, then drizzle it over the cake.
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Red-Hot-Chiles-Carrot-Cake
Red Hot Chiles Carrot Cake
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This recipe is from David Paul’s Lahaina Grill in Lahaina, Maui. This dessert may make you sing and is a guaranteed hit at any fun affair. It’s also a really pretty cake, and is especially attractive when you save an assortment of chiles to garnish the platter.
Servings
8 slices
Servings
8 slices
Red-Hot-Chiles-Carrot-Cake
Red Hot Chiles Carrot Cake
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This recipe is from David Paul’s Lahaina Grill in Lahaina, Maui. This dessert may make you sing and is a guaranteed hit at any fun affair. It’s also a really pretty cake, and is especially attractive when you save an assortment of chiles to garnish the platter.
Servings
8 slices
Servings
8 slices
Ingredients
Frosting
Servings: slices
Units:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Whip the butter, sugar and the vanilla together until creamy. Add the eggs in four portions until the eggs are absorbed. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon and add the dry mixture to the wet mixture in four portions.
  2. Next fold in the carrots and the piquins. Place the batter in a 10″ round greased and floured cake pan, and gently tap the filled pan to remove any air bubbles.
  3. Bake for approximately 1 hour. Test the center of the cake with a toothpick; when it comes out clean the cake is done.
  4. Place the cake on a wire rack to cool. When cool, cut the cake into three layers. Moisten the layers with the syrup and schnapps.
Frosting
  1. Place the water and sugar in a large sauce pan and, using a thermometer, heat the mixture to 121 degrees F. Let the mixture cool to 95 degrees F., then using an electric mixture, whip the egg whites into fluffy peaks. Add the liquid sugar to the egg whites in a slow, steady stream. Add the butter and cream cheese in small chunks. Whip the mixture into a smooth, creamy consistency. Frost the cake between the layers and assemble. Frost the outside of the cake. Coat the outside of the cake with chopped pistachios.
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chocolate chile cake
Red Chile Chocolate Cake with Pineapple Mango Chipotle Glaze
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This cake was made at the Pace Salsa Chef’s Challenge at the 2012 Fiery Foods and BBQ Show. Recipe courtesy of chef Kaitlin Armstrong.
Servings
8-10 slices
Servings
8-10 slices
chocolate chile cake
Red Chile Chocolate Cake with Pineapple Mango Chipotle Glaze
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This cake was made at the Pace Salsa Chef’s Challenge at the 2012 Fiery Foods and BBQ Show. Recipe courtesy of chef Kaitlin Armstrong.
Servings
8-10 slices
Servings
8-10 slices
Ingredients
Servings: slices
Units:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease and flour the pans.
  3. In a large bowl, sift or whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and cocoa. 
Add 1 cup and 2 tablespoons of pineapple juice and 1 cup and 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Mix for 1 minute.

  4. Add eggs, 3/4 cup of pineapple juice and the vanilla. Mix 5-6 minutes with a whisk, 3-4 minutes with a hand mixer.

  5. Pour into pans, bake, test by placing and removing a toothpick through the center at 25 minutes. When toothpick comes out clean, loosen from pans and then put back in the pans. Let cakes cool for 15 minutes. Keep in the pans, wrap in foil, and put in the freezer for at least 2 hours.
Glaze
  1. Place first two ingredients into medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until brown sugar is dissolved. Put mixture into food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Mix together cornstarch and water.
  3. Place salsa mixture back on heat. Bring to a slow boil. Whisk constantly while adding cornstarch mixture to avoid lumps. Glaze should coat the back of a spoon with only a slight drip.
  4. Bring cakes out of the freezer and pour pineapple glaze over the top of each layer, stacking each layer on top of the previous layer.
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