I love discovering new flavors and new flavor combinations. Don’t you? And just when it seems that I’ve seen every combo out there, a new exotic why-didn’t-I-think-of-that flavor look pops up out of nowhere. About a year ago that new taste sensation was paprika and mango.
I have to admit I was a little skeptical at first. It seemed like an odd match, paring a traditional European spice with a tropical fruit…..until I tried it. Dried mango coated in paprika. It was exciting and unlike anything I had ever tasted. And it became the inspiration for this cake.
Paprika is loaded with carotenoids (what provides the rich deep red color), lutein, vitamins A and E, and iron. It’s best stored in a cool dry place.
In case, you’re not familiar with paprika, it’s a deep red spice ground from dried peppers. It’s mainly produced in Spain, South America, California and Hungary. In Hungary, paprika is the national spice with a 200-year-old history.
Hungarian paprika is ground from milder varieties of peppers or capsicum annium. The most commonly used variety is the tomato pepper which tends to be a bit spicier than other varieties of paprika (such as those from Spain) yet not on the same heat level as chipotle or cayenne. It’s more subtle but still punches your taste buds. For this cake I used Hungarian paprika, but you can use any paprika you want.
There are three layers to this bold and beautiful cake. Each layer is infused with paprika and has its own textured and flavor role in this cake. They all seem to melt into one another, each entangled with the deep chocolate, paprika, mango, and spices.
The bottom or first layer is like a delicious chocolate brownie. Made from nuts, cacao powder, and assorted spices and sweeteners, this layer sets the stage for the other two less dense layers.
The second layer is a combination of the chocolate brownie mixed with fresh mango and additional spices. It literally oozes with deep tropical flavors and texture.
The top or final layer is a smooth and creamy mango frosting, almost like thick sweet spiced mango pudding. It’s refreshing and succulent; perfect for balancing out the deep chocolate layers while adding a smooth melt-in-your-mouth sensation. You simply can’t go wrong with mango Mango Coconut Cannoli.
I lavished my cake with the frosting and then garnished with paprika-coated dried mango slices. When the cake was cut and served, a slew of adjectives flowed. Spicy, rich, so chocolatey and intense all over; even in the frosting. It was a an experience, not a cake. Shouldn’t all meals be an experience?
The slices disappeared so quickly I didn’t even realize how many there were. Eight I think. Everyone had been patiently waiting for the last swipe of my frosting knife so a sense of anticipation had been in the air. Mango, spices, chocolate..what’s not to love? Food can be such a delicious adventure.
This cake is easily to make. And best of all there’s no baking or even dehydration involved. It took about an hour from start to finish (not including the setting time) after which the cake was ready to serve. By the way, did I fail to mention that this cake is also extremely healthy? The ingredient list reads like a health tonic formula including the star nutrient performer, paprika. But it’s in the taste department where this extravagant cake really excels. I hope you enjoy it.
This recipe is raw, dairy and gluten-free, and serves 6 – 10 persons.
Hot Chocolate Cake with Paprika Mango Frosting
If you are unsure as to the origins of your paprika or how hot you want your cake to be, you can test as you go along. You can use smoked paprika although I prefer unsmoked for this recipe.
Hot Chocolate Cake (Bottom Layer):
- I use vanilla-flavored stevia to keep the amount of added sweetener on the lower side. I suggest sticking to a granulated (natural) sweetener for better texture.
- You can use either cacao or carob in this recipe. Carob imparts a sweeter flavor. Cacao is slightly more bitter and deeper in color. Both work very well. I used carob for the photos. Chocolate would have made the cake slightly darker.
- 3 cups raw walnuts
- 2 cups dates of choice, pitted
- 1/2 cup cacao or carob powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger (optional)
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 vanilla beans or 1 tsp vanilla or vanilla-flavored stevia to taste
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- stevia of choice to taste (optional)
- 2 – 4 Tbsp water as needed
- Add all ingredients except water to a food processor.
- Process until fine and crumbly.
- Add the water. Start out with 2 tablespoons and work from there. The mixture should be slightly sticky and adhere between your fingers (like brownies) but not be too mushy.
- Add half of the cake mixture to a greased 7-inch spongiform pan, smaller brownie pan, or cake pan of choice. You can line with parchment paper if you want but I found that it’s fairly easy to slide onto a cake plate when transferring.
- Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan forming a thick even layer.
- Set aside or refrigerate until ready to add the next layer.
- Keep the remaining half of the mixture in the food processor to make the second layer.
Chocolate Mango Filling (Middle Layer):
- 1/2 of the Hot Chocolate Cake mixture (about 2 cups already in the food processor)
- 1 cup chopped fresh mango
- 2 Tbsp cacao or carob powder
- 1/2 tsp ground paprika
- 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla or vanilla-flavored stevia to taste
- 2 – 3 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
- 3 – 4 Tbsp light honey or other natural light sweetener to taste
- Add the ingredients to the food processor (with the remainder of the Hot Chocolate Cake mixture).
- Process until fairly smooth and thick. The mixture will have some texture to it.
- Spread evenly over the Hot Chocolate Cake layer.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour before adding the top layer.
Paprika Mango Frosting (Top Layer):
I like to add 1/2 tsp orange-flavored stevia or orange essential oil or orange extract for extra zesty sweetness and flavor.
- 1 cup cashews
- 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh mango
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 2 tsp ground paprika or to taste
- pinch of cayenne
- 3 – 4 Tbsp honey or other natural light sweetener to taste
- 2 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
- stevia to taste (optional)
- Add all ingredients except coconut oil to a blender and blend until very smooth.
- Add the coconut oil and blend again until well incorporated.
- Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for 1 – 2 hours or more until thick and spreadable. You are now ready to frost the cake.
- Spread frosting over the top of the cake creating a nice thick layer. I just swirled it around and had it loose and casual but you can frost however you want. I then garnished with paprika coated dried mango slices and dusted with cacao powder but that’s optional.
- Slice and enjoy.
- Yields one-7-inch cake.
- Can be stored refrigerated up to 5 days.