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- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cake flour, plus
- 2 tablespoons cake flour (not self-rising)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 cup unsweetened non-alkalized cocoa powder
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons ancho red chili powder or 2 tablespoons new mexico chile powder
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
- 1⁄2 cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3⁄4 cup unsalted butter
- 3⁄4 cup unsweetened non-alkalized cocoa powder
- 6 tablespoons buttermilk
- 1 1⁄2 lbs confectioners' sugar
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons Bourbon
- 3 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 1⁄2 cups chopped walnuts
- For the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place a rack in the center of the oven.
- Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with circles of parchment or waxed paper.
- Lightly dust the sides of the pans with flour, tapping out the excess.
- For best results, use a mixer with a wire whip attachment.
- Combine the flours, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa and beat on low speed until well mixed.
- In a medium saucepan, cook 1 cup of the water with the chili powder over medium heat until simmering.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Add the softened butter to the dry mixture and beat thoroughly on medium-low speed.
- The mixture should be grainy.
- Raise the speed to medium and gradually add the remaining cup of water and the buttermilk.
- Add the eggs on at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Slowly add the hot water/chile mixture and continue to beat just until well combined--be sure not to overbeat.
- Pour the mixture into the pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centers of the cake comes out clean.
- To cool, set the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
- Then turn the cakes out onto the rack, remove the paper from the bottom, and immediately reinvert so that the risen tops don't flatten.
- Let sit until completely cool before frosting.
- For the frosting, combine the butter and cocoa in a large saucepan and melt over medium heat.
- Stir in the buttermilk.
- Add the confectioners' sugar a little at a time, stirring with a wired whisk between additions.
- Stir in the bourbon and vanilla.
- The frosting should stiffen as it cools.
- When it has reached a spreadable consistency, assemble the cake.
- If necessary, trim the tops of the cakes so they are level.
- Place one of the cake layers onto a 9-inch round cardboard cake circle.
- Spread 1 cup of the chilled frosting over the cake layer.
- Sprinkle 1 cup of the chopped walnuts over the frosting.
- Place the second layer of the cake onto the frosted base.
- Use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake.
- Finish the top of the cake by holding the spatula at a slight angle and making several strokes to smooth the top.
- To decorate the cake, press the remaining walnuts against the lower half of the side of the cake and on top of the cake.