This Spicy Chocolate Cake Recipe Is a Must-Try for Valentine’s Day

With the February holiday coming up, make this spicy chocolate cake recipe from Hudson's Nine Cakes to spice things up this year.

Are you over chocolate-covered strawberries and heart-shaped cookies, but still want to give a sweet treat to your special someone this Valentine’s Day? You’re in luck! Betsy Thorleifson of Hudson’s Nine Cakes bakery shared with us her spicy chocolate cake recipe that combines sweet, spice, and everything nice. With 15 years in business, both Thorleifson and her talented team of bakers have perfected each and every recipe so that nothing is too sweet, and you’ll always want to come back for more. This spicy chocolate cake recipe is the perfect example, using seasonal flavors to satisfy any sweet tooth.

Spicy Chocolate Cake

Course: DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time


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This recipe is courtesy of Nine Cakes in Hudson.


  • Spicy Chocolate Cake
  • ½ cup hot water

  • ½ cup cocoa

  • 2 tsp espresso powder

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 12 tbsp butter, softened

  • 1 egg

  • 1 egg yolk

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • ¾ tsp baking soda

  • ¼ tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

  • ½ cup sour cream

  • Chocolate Ganache
  • 3.5 oz. dark chocolate, finely chopped

  • ⅓ cup heavy cream


  • Spicy Chocolate Cake
  • Preheat oven to 325 F. Prepare your 8-inch cake pan with pan spray or butter and flour.
  • In a small bowl, add hot water, cocoa, and espresso powder. Stir until dissolved, then set aside until cool.
  • Combine all dry ingredients in a separate bowl: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon. Gently whisk together.
  • In the mixing bowl of your mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment: cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the bowl and then add the egg, mix to incorporate. Scrape your bowl and then add the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Mix on medium-high until eggs are incorporated, and look light and fluffy.
  • Add sour cream to cooled water and cocoa mixture.
  • Into the mixing bowl, add approximately half of the dry ingredients and mix on low to incorporate, scrape the bowl. Add all of the wet ingredients, and mix on low to incorporate, scrape the bowl.  Add the rest of the dry ingredients, mix on low to incorporate, scrape the bowl. Mix on medium speed for approximately 30 seconds to make sure it is thoroughly combined.
  • Pour cake batter into cake pan. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, rotate the pan halfway through the baking time.
  • Remove from the cake pan and place on your serving platter or cake stand.
  • Chocolate Ganache
  • Place chocolate into a heat-proof bowl. Using the stovetop or microwave, heat cream until piping hot. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let sit for a minute, then gently stir until smooth.
  • Pour onto the chocolate cake. When you get to the edges, you can use an offset spatula or the backside of a spoon to gently nudge the ganache over the sides so it drips down the sides in a beautiful way.
  • Add piles of fresh berries, and serve.

If you weren’t already planning on making this cake, perhaps Betsy Thorleifson can convince you. Pointing to this dessert as a baker’s take on one of her favorite winter treats, Thorleifson raves about her rich and inventive bake:

“Cayenne and cinnamon add complexity and a little adventure to an otherwise classic chocolate cake. The flavor combination is a nod to Mexican hot chocolate, one of my favorites! The spices provide a warming effect and are a beautiful contrast to the sweet, rich cake. A generous layer of chocolate ganache, suggestively dripping down the sides intensifies the chocolate flavor, and adds the most decadent visual component. Decorating with fresh berries gives a naturally abundant look, and their tart sweetness is a nice counter to the rich chocolate. This cake hits all of my favorite components: chocolate, more chocolate, spices, and berries! If you’re feeling extra, you can serve with a dollop of softly whipped cream on each slice, and pour a little more chocolate ganache over the cream (is there such a thing as too much chocolate?). Serve this cake when you’re looking for an outrageously decadent dessert that leaves you wanting more.”

Related: A Sweet Tooth’s Guide to Hudson Valley Chocolate Shops

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