On the weekend however, we celebrated my gorgeous friend Benny's 40th birthday with a Tex-Mex style BBQ and party. The birthday boy got up at 5am to light coals and hickory chips in smoking drums in order to cook the marinated brisket and sausage for about 8 hours! It was a mega effort and well worth it because I have never had such tasty, smoky, tender beef before - it was a real treat. There was also lots of white bread, corn muffins, 'slaw, beans and tangy potato salad all whipped up by Benny's smoking hot lady-wife.
For dessert we made a Mexican Chocolate Chilli birthday cake. I must send out a few shout-outs for this one as the designated baker hurt her back and it was last minute scramble to get a suitable cake baked to feed over 40 people! So to Kymmy for the tins and Mish for the recipe a big THANK-YOU.
I used some lovely Ancho chilli powder that I picked up at Gewurzhaus in Carlton and I am told it is the secret ingredient in a recent award winning cocktail...
This is a really low heat powder so I ended up doubling the amount in the recipe below and I think it could have even gone up a notch; use your own judgement and taste when making your version of this cake.
For the icing I substituted some of the cocoa powder with a chocolate spice mix that I also found at Gewurzhaus. It contained cassia, ginger, coriander and all sorts of other pungent smells and spices. The addition of this mix made the frosting top of the cake really sing with flavour, so again experiment with your own tastes.
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup cold water
2/3 cup icing sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2-3tbs warm water
Preheat oven to 175C degrees and grease and line an 8-inch round cake tin.
In a large mixing bowl combine all dry ingredients. Make two wells and pour the vinegar in one and the vanilla in the other. Pour the cold water over everything and whisk until just combined (doesn't matter if the batter isn't super smooth).
Bake for 30-35 minutes.
Once the cake has cooled completely, sift the icing ingredients to together in a bowl and add the water a little bit at time, stirring vigorously until the icing is nice and smooth and shiny.
Spread evenly over the cake, allow to set and serve.