Chocolate Spice Cake {Recipe}

A few weeks ago, I was in charge of bringing dessert to a couples dinner organized through church. It’s an informal monthly dinner with 4 other couples around our age – none of whom eat a vegan or vegetarian diet. I’m pretty sure one couple said their favorite food was meat when we first exchanged notes. Of course that means I’m supposed to WOW everyone with yummy plant-based food!

Chocolate Spice Cake via @FITaspire

Each dinner is potluck style, so I picked the entrée the first month. I made my Vegetable Lasagna and scaled back the spice for our guests. I know my tendency is to make things spicier than people sometimes are used to.

Last month,  it was our turn to bring dessert and I was feeling adventurous. I broke the “rules”, which I often do,  and created something new to share with the group. Certainly that’s the best place to test new recipes, right?

I feel confident that I’ve expanded my reputation for good, spicy food with this combination of chocolate and cayenne. I got several strange looks when I explained what was in the mix and may have made it a little spicier than necessary, but man was it good! Moist, chocolatey, with a finishing kick that is perfect for spice connoisseurs like Kirk and I!

Chocolate Spice Cake via @FITaspire

For those a little less crazy, I offered an range of cayenne pepper measurements, so you can adjust the flavors from subtle to spicy! I made my version with the full spice amount.

Chocolate Spice Cake {Recipe}
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: chocolate, cake
Serves: 6-8
For the cake
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ - 1½ teaspoon cayenne powder (adjust to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon cloves
  • 2¼ cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
For the glaze
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa
  • ¼ - 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
For the cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour through cloves. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining cake ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until completely mixed.
  3. Pour mix into a bundt pan coated with cooking spray and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  4. Remove and allow to cool. Flip over onto cake stand or plate for serving.
For the glaze
  1. Combine the maple syrup, cocoa, and cayenne and mix until fully integrated. Heat for 15-20 seconds in microwave, if desired. Drizzle over the cake and serve immediately!

My mouth is watering thinking of this cake, I could go for another slice right now! I’m actually fighting something off right now (hopefully just a cold) and a little spice always seems to help with that.

And since I know this isn’t the most traditional mix of ingredients, I have to join Laura’s Strange But Good link-up this week. If you haven’t checked out this weekly series on Fridays, make sure you drop by this week so see what other “strange” creations are shared!




Looking for a little less spice in your chocolate? Check out these other sweet creations:

Pumpkin Protein Breakfast Cake via @FITaspire


Chocolate Pumpkin Croissants for Breakfast via @FITaspire


German Chocolate Pancakes via @FITaspire



Questions for you:

  • What do you think of a dessert with a kick?
  • Do you make tried & true recipes or new experiments for guests?

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    • says

      You’re always so sweet – thanks! I knew you would like this with all the kick intended. And this would be a great oatmeal bake variation.

      And I just realized I never added the strange with good linkup – dang. I’m sick this week, that’s my only excuse!

    • says

      I’m glad I’m not the only one! :) One day I’ll figure out what “spicy” tastes like to normal people. If you like spice, you would love this. I love chocolate and spice together!

  1. says

    Oh yummy yummy. I always ‘over spice’ and ‘under salt’ for most people, but I figure, if it works for me, who cares? :)

    This looks amazing, and sounds delicious. Sometimes it’s fun not to tell people what is in there at all. When I made my Blueberry Mustard Stuffed Squash at Christmas, I definitely didn’t want to cop to the fact that the reason it was slightly pinkish brown was because of blueberries…
    Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen recently posted…Cookies. With Cream. [Plant Fusion Giveaway + #WIAW]My Profile

    • says

      Me too! I am getting better at salt, but I remember growing up and being told to skip that in recipes, so I’m still adjusting. I love that you keep it a secret, I should learn to keep my mouth shut. I’m no good at that! 😉

    • says

      I licked the bowl on that syrup. But let’s be honest, I licked the bowl with the cake too. This is why I don’t eat as much homemade dessert – I end up eating so much while I bake. 😉

  2. says

    Heather, I have to tell you, I almost never look at a recipe and think “Yes. I would make it just like that.” I am always immediately thinking about how I would change it (probably to a fault…), but this? I would make it. Exactly how it is. Maybe it’s because this is exactly how I like my baked goods (healthy and whole wheat, but without all sorts of weird things added and substituted), or the fact that I LOVE spicy chocolate, but I am ALL ABOUT this recipe, and your pictures look great!
    Ari @ Ari’s Menu recently posted…Chai Spiced Vanilla Bean “Buttermilk” MuffinsMy Profile

  3. Tina @ Best Body Fitness says

    I’m sure you’re veggie winning over all of those people. And I’m a big fan of spice, so I would happily eat up some of this cake.
    Tina @ Best Body Fitness recently posted…Good RemindersMy Profile

    • says

      I know that feeling, I never used to like cake – not even for my birthday. My tastes have changed for things like this though. The chocolate from Barcelona sounds right up my alley!

  4. says

    Mmmmm, chocolate! I’ve been on a chocolate kick lately. It’s actually starting to drive me a little bonkers. haha

    I usually make tried-and-true recipes for guests, but this past weekend was an exception. Luckily it turned out well. :)


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