A reinterpretation of a Hot Chocolate drink in cake form. Layers of Spiced Tablea Chocolate Cake are coated with Marshmallow Frosting and more chocolate!
There seems to be a recurring theme among my Christmas recipes this year, although it wasn’t intentional on my part. I didn’t realize I had made two reinterpretations of hot chocolate! I managed to make only two recipe though, which kind of makes me sad in a way. So I’m just glad I made them count, because both recipes involve chili and chocolate. Two of my favorite things in the world! This Spiced Tablea Chocolate Cake is my special post for Christmas so I had to make it extra. We’re talking marshmallow frosting and a full coat of shining, shimmering chocolate ganache.
For the chocolate base, I used tablea. These are chocolate tablets made from roasted cocoa beans mixed with muscovado sugar and then shaped into tablets. I am really proud of the growing chocolate industry here in the Philippines so I am always so excited to incorporate Filipino ingredients into the recipes I make here. This is my very first time using tablea in any dessert I have made, and I must say I am really happy with the result. I think you will be too!
The tablea I used here was a gift from my Auntie Nenen, and it is a local brand called Enriqueta’s which I believe is from the province of Antique. Using the recipe I found from Yummy.ph, I began to make my very first Spiced Tablea Chocolate Cake. The “spiced” in the name actually comes from the chili powder I added into cake batter. That’s the only tweak I did with this recipe though.
The cake batter has you using both cocoa powder and crushed tablea, so the result is a very classic-tasting chocolate cake with the most sublimely moist crumb ever! The flavor is like a grandmother’s old-fashioned classic chocolate cake, with a noticeable sweetness within the chocolate flavor. I personally prefer a less sweet and darker chocolate cake, but this was pretty good in its own right, and I actually cannot get over the moist crumb of this Tablea Chocolate Cake even as I sit here writing about it.
Once my cake has cooled, I went to work on my marshmallow frosting. It’s actually really easy when you use a stand mixer. It starts by having you melt the sugar into egg whites over a double broiler. Then you pour this syrupy mixture into the stand mixer bowl and start letting it rip. It will take about 10 minutes to get to the stiff marshmallow texture we’re after. I’ve never tried making this by hand before and I do not want to attempt it. (And neither should you; at least not on Christmas!)
This glossy white marshmallow frosting is super gorgeous and super fluffy. It goes in-between and all over, creating a beautiful contrast against the Tablea Chocolate Cake once you slice into the cake layers. I wanted my cake to have more layers and more contrast between frosting and cake so I made it into a three-layer cake, but you are welcome to making just two layers if you want.
The last component of the cake is actually the chocolate ganache coating. There are actually two ways you can do this part. You either coat the entire cake with a shiny layer of chocolate, or you make this drip effect down the sides of your cake. For the drip effect, I suggest you halve the recipe so that the chocolate does not go to waste (unless you plan on using it as a topping for ice cream or something).
Now the ganache will set once fully cooled, so my suggestion is, if you are not used to frosting cake layers yet, make the ganache after you’ve frosted your Tablea Chocolate Cake. Let it cool down so that it doesn’t melt the marshmallow frosting. Once ready, pour the chocolate on top of the cake and use a spatula to gently nudge the ganache over the edge, allowing it to drip down the sides.
If you’re covering the entire cake with a chocolate coating, then smooth out the sides of the cake too. You can decorate the cake more festively than I did, or just dump a bunch of marshmallows on top if you’re tired already haha!
Let the cake sit for at least 30 minutes before slicing, so that both frosting and chocolate coating have time to set. Pop it in the fridge if you’re in a hurry. Make sure to slice the cake with a clean knife so that the chocolate coating does not stick onto your knife like a sheet. I super hate it when that happens!
And well, I know making a cake takes some work, but I promise this is so worth it. It can be a great Noche Buena dessert, full of chocolate flavor sandwiched between sweet and fluffy marshmallow. This Spiced Tablea Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Frosting has the kind of a flavor combination that brings people back to childhood, and maybe, just maybe, it tickles that child-like Christmas spirit awake.
Tablea Hot Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Frosting
Makes one 3-layer 9-inch cake (Serves 8 to 10)
For the cake
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- ¾ cup tablea chocolate, ground or chopped finely
- 1 cup newly-boiled water
- ½ cup 1 stick butter, cubed and softened
- 1-¾ cups sugar
- 3 large egg, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1-¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1-½ teaspoons baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ to ½ teaspoons chili powder
- 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
For the frosting
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large egg whites, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar, optional but helps
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
For the chocolate ganache
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 cup bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- Marshmallows, or other toppings, to decorate
Make the cake
- 1. Heat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease three 9-inch round baking pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper, then grease the paper.
- 2. In a glass measuring cup, mix together cocoa powder and tablea in the boiling water. Stir until completely smooth. Set aside to cool.
- 3. In another bowl (or the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
- 4. Gradually pour in the cocoa mixture. Beat until well-combined.
- 5. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and chili powder. Add this into the wet mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk. Beat until blended.
- 6. Divide the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for about 10 to 15 minutes before removing from pans and allowing to cool completely on the wire racks.
Make the frosting once the cakes have cooled
- 7. In a bowl over simmering water (double boiler method), whisk together the egg whites and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Immediately pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- 8. Begin whipping the egg whites at low speed for 1 minute. Add the cream of tartar, corn syrup, vanilla extract, and salt. Whip for another 1 minute.
- 9. Gradually increase the speed to medium and whip for 2 minutes, then increase again to high and whip until very stiff peaks form, another 6 to 7 minutes. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated into the frosting, then whip for another 30 seconds just to make sure. Set aside.
Make the ganache
- 10. In a small thick-bottomed saucepan set over medium heat, mix together the cream, cayenne pepper, and chili powder. Once it begins to simmer, remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Whisk until smooth and shiny ganache forms. Let cool a few minutes before using.
- 11. Place your first cake layer on a serving plate. Use a spatula to spread a thick layer of marshmallow frosting on top and gently place the second layer. Spread another thick layer of frosting and place the final layer of cake on top. With the leftover frosting, frost the rest of the cake, smoothing the tops and the sides.
- 12. Take the cooled ganache and pour it on top of the cake, using a spoon to push the chocolate down the sides of the cake. Take a clean spatula and spread the chocolate ganache to fully coat the cake. Before the ganache sets, decorate the cake with marshmallows, or as you wish.
- 13. Let the cake sit at least 30 minutes before slicing so that the frosting and ganache have set. This cake is best at room temperature, in my opinion.
I hope you all have a lovely holiday with your loved ones! Merry Christmas!