Spicy Chocolate Cakes
- 2 cups sifted cake flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup milk
- Confectioners' sugar for dusting
Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 325°F. Grease and flour a standard 12-well muffin pan.
Over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, salt and cocoa powder. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth, 30 to 40 seconds. Gradually add the granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl, then fold in the vanilla.
Reduce the speed to very low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour, beating until just blended and no lumps of flour remain; stop the mixer occasionally and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Divide the batter among the wells of the prepared pan.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto the rack to cool slightly. Dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving.