Spicy chocolate torte with sour cinnamon sauce & sugared pepitas

This decadent cake is inspired by the life of artist Frida Kahlo and her sometimes turbulent relationship with her lover, Diego Rivera. It is dense and complex like Frida, with heat from chilli and spice. It’s the perfect, dramatic end to a Day of the Dead feast. Photography by Jani Shepherd / Gatherum Collectif.

  • 50 mins cooking
  • Serves 10
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Spicy chocolate torte with sour cinnamon sauce & sugared pepitas
  • 300 gram dark chocolate, broken up
  • 3 tablespoon strong espresso
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus extra for dusting
  • 225 gram caster sugar
  • 225 gram butter
  • 3 tablespoon tequila
  • 160 gram ground almonds
  • 8 eggs, separated
  • dried chillies, cinnamon sticks and red edible flowers, to decorate
Sour cinnamon sauce
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 cup unsweetened yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoon icing sugar
Sugared pepitas
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 6 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • pinch cayenne pepper
Chocolate ganache
  • 250 millilitre cream
  • 250 gram dark chocolate, broken up


Spicy chocolate torte with sour cinnamon sauce & sugared pepitas
  • 1
    Preheat oven to 180°C fanbake. Grease and line two 26cm cake tins.
  • 2
    In a large saucepan over low heat melt together the chocolate, espresso, cayenne, cinnamon, sugar and butter. Stir well.
  • 3
    When melted, add the tequila, ground almonds and egg yolks, one at a time and beating well after each. Set aside to cool.
  • 4
    Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold a little into cooled chocolate mixture to loosen, then gently fold in the rest.
  • 5
    Divide mixture between the tins and bake for around 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the centre. Cool in tins then turn out.
Sour cinnamon sauce
  • 6
    Mix all ingredients together until combined. Serve chilled.
Sugared pepitas
  • 7
    Preheat oven to 180°C fanbake. Stir all ingredients in a bowl. Spread mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Bake until pepitas are golden and very slightly puffed (about 10 minutes).
  • 8
    Stir gently to separate, leaving some clumps if desired. Leave to cool then transfer to a bowl or airtight container.
Chocolate ganache
  • 9
    Heat cream until almost boiling. Remove from heat, add chocolate and let stand for 1-2 minutes.
  • 10
    Stir to combine and keep stirring until mixture becomes smooth and glossy. Set aside to cool slightly.
To assemble
  • 11
    Place a cake carefully on a cake stand and spread with some of the ganache. Add the next layer and top with more ganache, letting it dribble down the sides a little. (If it’s too thick to spread, warm it slightly in the microwave.)
  • 12
    Decorate with dried chillies, cinnamon sticks and red edible flowers, then dust with a little cinnamon.
  • 13
    Serve slices of torte with a dollop of the sour cinnamon sauce and a sprinkle of sugared pepitas.


Please note that this recipe makes a two-tier cake. (Photograph shows double the quantity, with each cake cut in half to make a giant four-layer version).