This recipe started with a tub of leftover sour cream in the fridge and a yen for something with dark chocolate. Come fall, I crave the flavors of Mexican chocolate, with its notes of ancho chile and almond. The sour cream was a just a nice bonus that adds richness to the cake.
The recipe also features a couple of my baking secret weapons: ghee and whole wheat pastry flour. Of course, ghee is a common component of Indian cooking, but it also adds sublime depth to just about any baking recipe that calls for softened butter. Whole wheat pastry flour, which you can find in the baking aisle at most supermarkets, is a dead-easy way to boost the nutrition in a recipe without sacrificing texture. Try subbing it for some — or even all — of the all-purpose flour in a recipe.
A dusting of powdered sugar is just right for this simple cake. And if you want to get fancy, add a pretty lil’ shape. Just download a pattern from the Internet (like the basic autumn leaf I used here), cut it out, and — voila! — you’re a regular kitchen MacGyver.