A slice of Mexican Chocolate Cake with a cup of Turkish Tea…

It is Sunday again! And tomorrow, it will be Monday again!  Argh!! I still have the school day syndrome even at 34! A little uneasiness and tummy ache when Sunday evening rolls in! I am not sure if I will ever grow out of this… ever! I normally don’t get the Monday blues, when it is here, it is here, you can not do anything about it and you’d better get on with your week.

But Sunday! The high expectation of the last day of weekend! You want to relax, get ready for the week but also want to finish the last load of laundry, find something to cook, clean the house, finish some of the projects you have started, feel productive and efficient while enjoying the day! Good luck! That is all I can say!

When I woke up this morning, a quick revisit of my to-do list set me straight on today’s post. If I am going to be painting the bathroom cabinets to finish the last touches of our bathroom facelift attempt, steam-cleaning the carpet and the couches, dropping of the Goodwill box, and cooking something for the week, this One Big Table cookbook post had to be easy and had to be something that will keep me going all day!

I would like to tell you now, as I sit to write this post with my semi-gloss trim painted hands, this is it! Nothing can beat cold Sunday errands like this Mexican spiced chocolate cake with Turkish tea! Have been eating all day long during my breaks!

The cake is moist, chocolaty and spicy. The recipe calls for chocolate sauce on top made with spiced chocolate and heavy cream. I really did not want to go out to the grocery store just to buy spiced chocolate, and a quick Google search gave me a couple of options. I was going to go with cinnamon-chili powder to spice it up and then I thought about visiting Spice Sherpa‘s page to see what spice could be the best. She was talking about cardamom being the new cinnamon and how we should use it more often! Until now I have only used cardamom in Indian dishes and spiced chai, but today I decided I’d try it in the chocolate sauce. And I am glad I did. It is a sharp spice, but I think it pairs well with chocolate.

Then I paired the cake with Turkish tea. If you go to Turkey, no matter where you visit, you will be offered a glass of Turkish tea! It is a sign of hospitality in our culture. Even if you say “No”, you’ll probably have to drink it at the end… because as a culture we’re also quite insistent. When you are offered something to eat or drink in Turkey and you say “No” at first, we assume you are just being polite and shy, and so we’ll keep offering and insisting until you give up and say “Yes”! So save yourselves and us trouble and  just accept the drink, even if you take only one sip :)

The traditional Turkish tea is a black tea grown in the Rize region of Turkey near the Black Sea. In Turkey, tea is usually steeped in concentrated form, in a small kettle stacked over a bigger kettle (You may have noticed the Turkish kettle set in my logo. In Turkish, you would call one of these a çaydanlık, though in other places you sometimes see it referred to as a samovar… I think that’s a Persian word?). Water is boiled in the lower, bigger kettle then poured over the tea leaves in the small kettle. Then, more water is added to the bigger kettle and brought to boil while the tea leaves in the small kettle steep well, sitting over the big one. When serving, the concentrated tea from the small kettle is poured first up to 1/3 to 1/2 of the glass, then topped with hot water from the bigger kettle. Everybody prefers their tea in a different way, ranging from light (less steeped tea, more water) to dark (more steeped tea, less water) colors. While many tea kettles are made of stainless steel, in my personal opinion, the taste is better if the smaller kettle is made of porcelain. Sometimes I also add whole cloves and a dash of Earl Grey tea leaves as well to give that extra bergamot smell.

Would you like to have a slice of cake with a cup of tea? :)

Patricia Tsai’s Torta De Chocolate (from One Big Table cookbook)

  • 3/4 cup and 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces chocolate (chopped)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Chocolate sauce: 3 ounces spiced chocolate (if you do not have, you can add 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder or 1/2 teaspoon cardamom), 2 tablespoon heavy cream.

Note: The recipe calls for a food processor… Every step is done in the food processor starting with pulsing the sugar and chocolate until finely chopped, adding boiling water and processing 20 seconds. Every step below is said to be processed for 20 seconds or so in the food processor. I don’t have a big one to make this and also I really do not like cleaning the food processor. So I chopped the chocolate as small as I could, mixed with sugar, then added the boiling water in the bowl. Then mixed it until it all melted. If you have hard time melting it, you can also place it over simmering water, bottom of the bowl not touching the water.

1. Chop the chocolate finely, mix with sugar in a small bowl. Add boiling water and stir until all chocolate pieces melt. Let it cool for 5 minutes. (This is not called in the original recipe but I did not want the eggs to get cooked as soon as I add to this mixture so I let it cool for a short while)

2. Add eggs and beat with an electric mixer until all combined.

3. Add butter, sour cream, vanilla and mix.

4. Add flour, cinnamon, baking soda, powder and salt. Stir until all combined.

5. Line a 9-inch round pan with parchment paper and grease the paper and the sides of the pan.

6. Pour the batter into the pan and bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 30-35 min or until a toothpick inserted in it comes out clean.

7. After the cake cools, you can serve it with whipped cream and/or fresh fruit drizzled with chocolate sauce. The recipe says the cake can be frozen for a month.

Turkish Tea

  • Turkish tea leaves (The amount depends on how many people you will serve. If I am serving 4 people, I add 6 heaping tablespoons of Turkish tea to the kettle – so amount of tea = number of people plus 2 heaping tablespoons)
  • Whole cloves
  • Earl Grey tea leaves (1 -2 teaspoons) or one bag of Earl Grey tea
  • Sugar (optional)

1. Put everything except the sugar in the small kettle and fill the 3/4 of the bigger kettle with water. There is no water in the small kettle in this first step.

2. Put the big kettle on the stove and stack the small one on top of it. Bring the water to a boil.

3. Pour the boiling water into the small kettle until 3/4rd of it is full. (You can choose to put less if you prefer very concentrated tea)

4. Fill the big kettle with water again and stack the kettles back on the stove.

5. Bring the water in the lower kettle to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for another 15-20 minutes.

6. Fill the glasses half way with the tea first, then add water to your liking. You can use a little mesh strainer to keep the tea leaves out of your glass.

7. Add sugar if you want the sweet touch.


  1. by serpil Caputlu-Wilson
    1:48 pm
    Dec 19, 2010


    I sounds, looks great…Looking at the spice cake and tea..i can smell it and almost taste it. :)) like i said you are wonderful and keep up the good work!

  2. by Ilke
    2:04 pm
    Dec 19, 2010

    Serpil, Thank you! Thanks for leaving a comment. I hope you are doing well! Have not seen you for ages!

  3. by Meltem Atay
    2:44 pm
    Dec 19, 2010

    Not only a great blog , but also perfect pictures ! Cogratulations and I look forward to seeing the future blogs!
    Best wishes from NY !
    Visit my new blog at : http://turkishhomecooking.blogspot.com/

  4. by Ilke
    3:02 pm
    Dec 19, 2010

    Thank you very much, Meltem. Thanks for visiting. I am looking forward to reading your posts!
    Stay warm in NY :)

  5. by yonca
    2:42 pm
    Dec 20, 2010

    We all love chocolate cake here.I would love to have a slice of your delicious Mexican Chocolate Cake right now with my tea:)

    Thanks for stopping by and your sweet comment!

  6. by Ilke
    8:09 pm
    Dec 21, 2010

    Hi Yonca, I loved visiting your blog and reading your little one’s adventures with the tooth :) So familiar !

  7. by Rich
    7:22 am
    Dec 21, 2010

    You are making me very upset with myself for not having had breakfast this morning – that looks like the best breakfast ever! And I still get the Sunday Syndrome, too. I’m not sure it does go away …

  8. by Ilke
    8:09 pm
    Dec 21, 2010

    Hi Rich! I don’t think it goes away, unless you are working at a job which you REALLY, REALLY love and can’t wait to get up and go!

  9. by Kristi Rimkus
    7:35 pm
    Dec 21, 2010

    I love this post! The Turkish tea presentation is so pretty, and the cake so decadent. If I had this to look forward to after my chores, I’d be a happy, happy person!

  10. by Ilke
    8:04 pm
    Dec 21, 2010

    Thanks Kristi! I did eat a lot of the cake while running around. I feel like if I don’t sit down to eat, there is no calorie associated with it :)

  11. by Sabrina Modelle
    1:43 am
    Dec 22, 2010

    Ilke, it seems as though we are on the same page! I just made a Mexican Chocolate Cake with ganache frosting. It definitely helped me beat the blues. I like this recipe, and I may have to try it because if you ask me, you can’t have too many Spicy Chocolate Cakes.
    Beautiful photos too.
    -Sabrina (the tomato tart)

  12. by Ilke
    4:29 am
    Dec 22, 2010

    I saw yours when I was visiting your page, how funny! I guess once in a while everybody gets the craving :) I’ll try yours and the butternut squash soup!

  13. by briarrose
    7:26 am
    Dec 22, 2010

    Oh this looks wonderful. A slice of this cake would hit the spot right about now. ;)

  14. by Monet
    2:03 pm
    Dec 22, 2010

    This cake looks moist and decadent..I would love a slice right now too! And I adore turkish tea. We spent a lot of time in the Middle East last year, and it is so very good! Thank you so much for sharing with me and your kind words on my blog. Happy Holidays!

  15. by Joshua Burgin - Just Eat!
    4:55 am
    Dec 23, 2010

    Oh, my! I’ll definitely take a slice and cup of tea! Wonderful post!

  16. by Amy
    8:21 pm
    Dec 23, 2010

    This cake sounds amazing…with that delicious sauce! It looks beautiful as well :)!

  17. by Jennifer McAliley
    8:42 pm
    Dec 29, 2010

    You have such pretty dishes and serving pieces. In all you posts, the dishes are so unique! I love these little glasses! Please take me to Turkey with you some day! :)

  18. by Ilke
    4:08 am
    Dec 30, 2010

    Jennifer, you are always welcome to come with me! I think you and I should go together without the guys first. Shopping is much easier that way :)


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