This is a VERY Southwestern dessert combining the flavors of chocolate, coffee, cinnamon, and chile. It is gluten-free, but believe me, the calories have not been removed! Once you taste it, though, you will understand why we love it so much. I got the initial recipe from Chef Daisy Martinez, who had a short-run show on TV about five years ago and have adjusted it for our tastes and added to the instructions to make them more understandable by neophytes such as myself.
If you can, serve this with cinnamon ice cream or with rich vanilla ice cream with a little sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
1NOTE: 10 hours of cool-down and chill time are NOT included in the above preparation time
2Adjust an oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 375°. Prepare a 9-inch spring form pan by cutting a circle of parchment the size of the removable bottom of the pan. Fit the parchment circle into the bottom of the pan. You will be using a bain marie (water bath) in the baking, so put your water on to a boil. To assure no water seeps into your pan, tear off an 18-inch length of heavy duty aluminum foil, center the pan over the sheet of foil and crumple and crimp the foil all around the sides of the pan.
3In a medium saucepan over low heat, bring the espresso, brown sugar and the cinnamon sticks to a simmer. Simmer the mixture until the syrup has thickened a little and has become very fragrant, about 20 minutes. A cube or two at a time, stir in the butter, adding more as it melts. Stir in the cayenne pepper. Set aside.
4Place the semi-sweet and the unsweetened chocolates in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the hot coffee mixture and whisk until the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in the beaten eggs until they are completely blended and the mixture is smooth.
5Scrape the batter into your prepared spring-form pan. Set the pan in a large, deep, oven-proof skillet or roasting pan and set it on the oven rack. Pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the pan. The cake will bake from the edges inward. If you take a peek at it after about 40 minutes, the outer 1/2-2/3 will appear cooked while the rest will still be soft. Bake it until the center is set and barely wiggles when you shake the pan gently, 50 to 70 minutes.
6Carefully remove the cake from the water bath and place it on a cooling rack to cool it to room temperature, about 2 hours. Remove the foil and chill the cake in the pan in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Run a wet knife around the sides of the pan then pop the spring to release the sides. Place a platter on top of the cake and flip it over. Remove the bottom of the pan, and peel off the parchment. Keep the cake in your refrigerator until about half an hour before serving. Store any that might escape being eaten in the refrigerator.
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