Chocolate Chile Cake with Chocolate Avocado Buttercream

Ancho (Ahn-cho) Chile (Capsicum Annum) means Wide Chile Pepper. This chile ranges from 3 – 4 on a heat scale of 1 to 10. An Ancho is the dried form of a Poblano Pepper and often is mislabeled as a Pasilla or Mulato Pepper. Anchos have sweet fruity flavor with hints of cherry, prune, and fig. Anchos, combined with the Pasilla and Guajillo, form the Holy Trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces. Scoville heat units are 1,000 to 3,000.

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For the Cake
2 c flour
2 c sugar
¾ c unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
2 tsps baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1½ tsps kosher salt
1 Tbsp instant espresso powder
1 Tbsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp ancho chile powder*
½ tsp chipotle chile powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1¼ c whole milk, room temp
½ c vegetable oil
2 eggs, room temp
2 tsps vanilla

For the Buttercream:
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 c unsalted butter, cubed and softened
1 ripe avocado; halved, pitted, and pressed through a fine-mesh sieve
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch kosher salt
1 c confectioners’ sugar


*To make ancho chile powder: grind dried chile in a coffee or spice grinder till a fine powder.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Oil and line two 9″ cake pans and set aside.
Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, instant espresso, cinnamon, allspice, chile powders, and cayenne in a medium bowl. Whisk until the mixture is even.

In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Dump the dry ingredients on top, and fold gently to combine. Be careful not to overmix.
Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake about 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool, in pans, on a wire rack for ten minutes. Run a butter knife around the edge of the pan to ensure there is no sticking, then turn out onto long sheets of plastic wrap. Wrap each cake tightly in plastic wrap and stash in the refrigerator to cool completely before continuing.

While you wait for the cake to cool, make the frosting.

Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, mixing well each time, until the chocolate is smooth and evenly melted. Set the bowl on a rack to cool to room temp, about 10-15 minutes.

In the meantime, fit your stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat the butter until fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the avocado, vanilla, and salt. Beat, scraping the bowl occasionally, until fully incorporated. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar on a low speed, being sure to scrape the bowl. Add the cooled chocolate and mix until fluffy and well-incorporated.

Assemble/frost the cake.