Dead Easy Chocolate Snack Cake – Spiked with Chile

by Jacqueline Church on January 29, 2014 · 4 comments

When I was freshly diagnosed with my dairy allergy, I was lamenting to a friend that my days of cake were behind me. Not so fast, she said. You’ve gotta try this recipe for “Amazon Cake.” No dairy needed.

Well, I’ve no idea what part of the “Amazon” this thing hails from, but tongue firmly planted in cheek, I gave it a whirl and added some geographic flair.


Chocolate-chile Spiked Snack Cake

If you recall the boxed “Snakin’ Cake” of the ’70s this is something like that. Needs no frosting. A dusting of confectioner’s sugar if you like. Or ice it, you could even make a double batch and frost it. Here, I’ve added a hint of heat, a bit of Kahlua, and some espresso. You may easily omit all three – using a full 1C of water.  Ancho chile is a mild chile with chocolatey undertones, it pairs well with chocolate.


  • 1 ½ cups sifted flour (I use 1 C AP and 1/2 whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
  • 1 C cold water minus 1 TBSP
  • 1 TBSP Kahlua
  • 5 tablespoons corn oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • Confectioners’ sugar (optional)


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, sugar and salt.  If using, include espresso powder, chile here.
  3. In a large liquid measuring cup, measure 1C of cold water, replace 1 TBSP of it with 1 TBSP of Kahlua, if using.
  4. Whisk together the oil, vanilla and vinegar with the water.
  5. Whisk into the dry ingredients, blending until completely lump-free.
  6. Pour into a greased 9-inch round cake pan.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top springs back when pressed gently.  Cool before removing from pan (yes this matters)  and dusting with confectioners’ sugar, or frosting if desired.


Yield: 6 to 8 servings.


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Yen-Yen January 29, 2014 at 4:57 pm

This looks delicious and I can easily omit certain ingredients to make a kid-safe one too (maybe a sleep inducing spice instead of espresso!). I’ve never used corn oil. How does it affect the flavor of a cake? Can I substitute the same amount of coconut oil instead?


Jacqueline Church January 29, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Yeah and it’s very easy to adapt so I’ve used it this recipe with many different types of oil . The original recipe calls for corn oil in fact today I used with rice bran oil cause that’s what I had on hand. Mostly just want to neutral flavored oil so I think coconut would do fine. The original recipe had no chili and it you could omit,take out the Kahlúa and take out the espresso even, and it will be fine just as it is quite good. It’s also pretty easy to sneak in some good healthy whole-grain flour so experiment &enjoy


Jeff Parker January 30, 2014 at 10:56 am

Looking amazing… Very similar to a recipe that my mom used to make (minus the chile). Okay, her’s was probably Snackin’ Cake. :) I have everything on hand, so guess what I’m doing when I finish my breakfast?! Thanks, Jacqueline!

P.S. Thanks for the reminder about Snackin’ Cake. Totally forgot about that.


Jacqueline Church January 30, 2014 at 12:55 pm

That’s the best, it’s so easy to whip up from the pantry. Be sure to let it cool before cutting. The texture also improves, as does taste, on day two, but I’m never patient enough!


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