This article was originally published by The Mennonite

January recipe: Chocolate custard cake

Chocolate custard cake is our favorite chocolate cake. This fabulous cake is flourless, supremely decadent, dead simple to make, and perfectly balances the subtle spiciness of ancho and cinnamon with a dark fudgy texture. But perhaps the most eloquent endorsement is the bite mark on the stained recipe page by our late greyhound, Leo, who always had a nose for a good cake recipe. We have adapted this recipe from genius baker David Lebovitz.

Yield: Serves 8-10


   Chocolate cake:

  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (chips or roughly chopped into smaller pieces)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ancho powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)

   Espresso whipped cream:

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. For the chocolate cake: Assemble your equipment: a large roasting pan and springform pan. To prep the springform pan, grease it with cooking spray or butter and wrap aluminum foil tightly around the bottom to make a seal (which is necessary for the water bath cooking method to come).
  3. In a large bowl, melt the chocolate and butter together over a water bath.  Although truthfully, I’ve used the microwave with good results as well. Keep stirring the mixture to help the chocolate melt and to prevent burning or separating.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until smooth.
  5. Pour the egg mixture to the chocolate, and whisk to combine. Mix in the vanilla, cinnamon, salt, ancho, and espresso and pour the cake batter into the prepared springform pan.
  6. Set the springform pan in the roasting pan and carefully pour very hot water into the roasting pan until the water hits about 1/3 of the way up the springform pan. Carefully transfer the roasting pan to the oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until it appears set.
  7. Remove the roasting pan from the oven, and the cake from the water bath (careful, the water is hot)!  Take off the foil wrap, and set the springform pan on a cooling rack.
  8. We try to make the cake in the morning to give it adequate time to cool, usually at least 2 hours. Once cooled, unmold the cake by cutting around the edge of the cake with a small sharp knife and then releasing the sides of the pan. This cake is best served the day it is made, we find the texture is not quite as good after it has been refrigerated overnight.
  9. For the whipped cream: Combine the cream, sugar, vanilla, espresso powder, and cinnamon in a large bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Serve immediately in large dollops beside the cake.


  • This cake will not have a smooth top, but look rather craggy and crunchy. This is normal.
  • The quality of your chocolate does make a difference in this recipe and we recommend buying a good quality chocolate that you enjoy eating.

 The Hungry Hounds is the food blog of Paul and Rebecca Shetler Fast, country representatives for Mennonite Central Committee in Haiti. Learn more about MCC Haiti at their blog,

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