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5 from 1 vote

Cayenne Chocolate Cake with Goat Cheese Buttercream, Roasted Cherries, and Coffee Ice Cream

This Cayenne Chocolate Cake is an extravagant combination of moist homemade cake spiked with cayenne pepper and cinnamon and layered with roasted cherries and goat cheese buttercream. It’s topped with an easy no churn Coffee Ice Cream, melding the flavors together in a trio of awesomeness inspired by Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream. 
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 35 mins


Coffee Ice Cream

  • 2/3 cup finely ground coffee
  • 2 + 1 cups heavy whipping cream, separated
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Roasted Cherries

  • 4 cups frozen or fresh cherries I used frozen dark cherries
  • 1 and 1/3 cups sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch

Cayenne Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 and 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoon Morton Coarse Kosher Salt 1 teaspoon if you're using regular table salt
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup boiling water

Goat Cheese Buttercream

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese, at room temperature (or 4 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, at room temperature (or 2 ounces)
  • 2 to 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)


Coffee Ice Cream (can be made up to 5 days a head of time)

  • The night before, combine 2 cups heavy whipping cream and the ground coffee in an airtight container. Stir to mix well, cover, and let it sit in the fridge overnight. 
  • Place a metal bread loaf pan in the freezer to chill overnight as well. 
  • The next day, place a fine mesh strainer with a layer of cheesecloth over a bowl. Pour the cream in and strain out the coffee. You’ll have to run a spoon in circles and squeeze the cheese cloth to try and get as much of the cream out. You should have about 1 cup, maybe a little more. 
  • Mix together the condensed milk and salt in a large bowl and set aside. 
  • In a glass or stainless steel bowl, add the coffee infused cream and 1 cup of fresh heavy whipping cream. Whip on high speed until firm peaks form. 
  • Add about 1 cup of the whipped cream to the sweetened condensed milk and fold with a rubber spatula until combined. Fold the rest of the whipped cream in until well blended. 
  • Pour into the chilled loaf pan, cover, and freeze for at least 5 hours. 

Roasted Cherries (can be made up to 5 days a head of time)

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Combine the cherries, sugar, and cornstarch in 9-inch square baking dish and toss to mix. 
  • Roast 30 to 45 minutes until the juice has thickened and is bubbly. Stir every 15 minutes until done. Let it cool completely before storing it in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Cayenne Chocolate Cake (can be made the day before)

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease two 9-inch round baking pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Dust the sides with flour. 
  • Measure and sift all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Whisk to mix. 
  • Whisk the eggs, milk, and oil together in a medium bowl. 
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry, whisking until just combined. 
  • Whisk in the boiling water. 
  • Pour into the prepared pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the cake starts to pull away from the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
  • Let the cakes cool ten minutes in the pan and then remove them and let them cool on wire racks. If you plan to frost the cake the next day, let the cakes cool completely and then wrap each layer in plastic wrap.

Goat Cheese Buttercream

  • Place the butter, goat cheese, and cream cheese in a large bowl. Beat until creamy and then add the powdered sugar gradually. For a more sturdy buttercream add all 4 cups of powdered sugar. I liked the flavor best at 2 cups powdered sugar. 
  • Once all the powdered sugar is added, beat on medium-high speed for 4 to 5 minutes until it’s fluffy. 

Cake Assembly

  • If you made the cakes the night before, take them out of the refrigerator and unwrap them from the plastic wrap. Or wait until the cakes have cooled completely. Place one cake on a portable flat surface like a cardboard cake round, the bottom side of a plate, or anything else you have on hand. I used a round wooden surface. 
  • Place that on top of a cake turntable or use your microwave plate and wheel to make a turntable (just take the wheel off, place it on the counter, and then put the microwave plate back on top of it). 
  • Use a pastry brush to coat the tops of the cakes with the roasted cherry syrup. 
  • Place about 1 cup of frosting on top of the cake and spread it around evenly. I tried to have about a half inch of frosting. Place the other cake on top of the frosting. 
  • Place 1 cup of frosting on top of the cake and start spreading it out in a thin layer, using a pastry scraper and the turntable to spread the frosting around. It’s okay if crumbs get loose and it’s messy-it’s the crumb coat. You should be able to see the cake peaking through the frosting. Use more frosting if necessary. 
  • Put the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the crumb coat to set. 
  • Take the cake out again, place it on the turntable and add big dollops of frosting all around. Take a pastry scraper, hold it vertically and at a slight angle to the cake, and start turning the cake around. Keep going until excess frosting no longer coats the scraper and the cake is smooth. 
  • To get the water color effect, put dollops of colored frosting (I used 3 different colors) all around the cake and simply repeat the previous instruction. 
  • Store the cake covered at room temperature or in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.  


Prep time doesn't include the overnight soaking time for the cream and ground coffee or the decorating time.
Author: Megan Wells
Course: Desserts