Who doesn’t love a hefty slice of dark chocolate cake? This one has an appropriately diabolical twist: a hint of ancho chile powder for warmth and complexity, but that won’t light anyone’s tongue on fire (chileheads can add a teaspoon of cayenne). Spread the layers with sweetened whipped cream or buttercream and sliced strawberries; top with toasted almonds. For something more traditional, get Ina Garten’s Devil’s Food Cake recipe.
• To make a plain devil’s food cake, omit the ancho chile powder and optional cayenne.
• To make a chocolate-mocha cake, omit the ancho chile powder and optional cayenne. Substitute hot coffee or espresso for the boiling water.
• To make a chocolate chocolate-chip cake, omit the ancho chile powder and optional cayenne. Stir in 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips along with the last addition of the flour mixture.
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