RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Let's Get Spicy

If you want to give me a ghost chili paste explosion that obliterates my palate, go ahead and I'll try it.
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Claire Lower
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If you want to give me a ghost chili paste explosion that obliterates my palate, go ahead and I'll try it.

Hey cats and kittens, and welcome back to a dark and rich installment of Recipe of the Week. Last week we talked chocolate, and the winner was one of my favorite recipes to come out of this entire column.

Was there even life before this cake?

Was there even life before this cake?

This gorgeous beast was brought to our attention by Bridget, and our lives will be forever the better for it.

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I love the way this buttermilk chocolate cake (from Paperseed) tastes SO MUCH that I've made it just for myself to eat alone:http://thepaperseed.com/?p=266 It's also a great birthday cake, staying super fudgey without drying out even if it sits around for a few days. I make it with Droste cocoa, and even though I really don't like coffee adding it makes the chocolate more chocolatey and delicious. Also: I double (...okay, triple) the amount of vanilla because vanilla in baked goods makes everything better. I've even made this when I didn't have buttermilk on hand by using a bit of vinegar to make a buttermilk approximation. The cake comes out amazing every time, and if you're a chocolate fan I can't recommend it enough. Here's a photo of the last time I made it, when I added Chambord instead of vanilla and put raspberry jam in the chocolate between the layers.  

Everyone listen to me: this cake is truth. This is my favorite chocolate cake I've ever made, and I have made a lot of chocolate cakes. It's dark, rich and fudgey without being too sweet, and (I know some of you are going to cringe) but it's as moist as all get out. I'm sorry if you don't like the word "moist" but that's the word that must be used here. 

Don't be put off if the batter looks a little thin after adding the coffee, that coffee not only adds extra moisture, but a really great deep and complex flavor. In short: the coffee is very important.

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I didn't try try the Chambord and raspberry jam this go around, because I just wanted a pure chocolate cake in all of its unadulterated glory. This is what I got, and I am beyond grateful for it.

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I love this cake so much, someone could accuse me of having "too much love" for it, which is why your trophy, dear, glorious Bridget is "Too Much Love" by Belle & Sebastian.

Now we are going to shift gears completely and get hot and spicy. 

I will admit I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to spicy food. I like a "kick" of heat, but Scoville units for the sake of Scoville units seem less about flavor and more about macho posturing. I'm all for a challenge, but there's a big difference between a well-spiced, balanced dish that brings a bit of pain, and a ghost chili paste explosion that's meant to obliterate your palate. 

One time I made hot sauce but it was too hot.

One time I made hot sauce but it was too hot.

But hey, this is your column, so if you want to give me a ghost chili paste explosion that obliterates my palate, go ahead and I'll try it. What I would really like is a dish that is complimented by spice rather than overwhelmed by it. The only rule I guess it that your recipe has to have some heat; everything else is completely up to you. Tacos, wings, pasta, actual hot sauces, and even desserts are all fair game.

I'll leave you to it.