Chocolate Cake with a Belizean Twist

This cake involves several steps, but the beauty of it is you do not need a mixer and each part can be made ahead of time. The candied cacao nibs can be made a few days ahead of time and kept in an airtight container as can the cake and chocolate syrup. The nibs, when candied, are like candied nuts with a chocolatey/spicy twist. They are also good on yogurt, tapioca, ice cream, and in granola.

Candied Cacao Nibs
1 cup cacao nibs
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg white

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil that has been sprayed with non-stick vegetable coating. This will keep the sugar from sticking.
  2. Whisk the egg white until foamy then add the brown sugar and whisk again for about 30 seconds. It should become pale. Add the nibs and stir.
  3. Pour mix onto the prepared baking sheet and spread to a thin, even layer. Place in the oven and set a time for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, using a rubber spatula, stir the mix. It will begin to puff like candy. Reset the time for another 10 minutes and continue doing this until all the sugar and whites are dried up and the nibs are dry, no moisture left, to the touch. Total time is approximately 45 minutes.
    Allow to cool and store in an airtight container for up to one week.
    Yield: 1 cup
    Cake Ingredients:
    1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    ¾ cup Ixcacao Belizean Cocoa powder
    3 tablespoons instant custard powder, such as Clabber Girl’s Hearth Club or Bird’s Eye
    2 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
    1 ½ teaspoons of baking soda
    1 cup milk
    ½ cup coconut or vegetable oil
    2 eggs
    ½ cup rum, I used Traveler’s Gold, which is a Belizean Rum.
    ½ cup hot coffee
    1 teaspoon vanilla from Belize Spice Farm and Botanical Gardens (2 teaspoons if you are using other)

    Glaze Ingredients
    1/4 cup water
    8 ounces butter
    ½ cup rum, I used Travelers’ Gold Belizean Rum
    ½ teaspoon Belizean Spice Farm Vanilla or 1 teaspoon regular strength

Cake Instructions:
(may be made up to 3 days in advance, best on day of or next day)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a 10” Bundt or tube pan by coating the inside with non-stick vegetable coating.
  2. Using a large mixing bowl, sift the dry ingredients together.
  3. Combine wet ingredients, mix well and add into dry ingredients. Stir with a whisk for about 100 strokes until the batter is smooth. If using a hand mixer, on medium for 1 minute.
  4. Cover the bottom of the baking pan with ½ of the candied cocoa nibs. Pour the batter over the nibs.
  5. While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze for the cake, but do not cook. In the last 5 minutes of baking, turn the heat on the sugar, water, and butter in a two-quart heavy saucepan. Cook to boil, then turn off the heat and add vanilla and rum. Set aside.
  6. Bake the cake for 45 minutes, testing doneness with a cake tester. Bake until the tested comes out clean, sometimes that may be almost 1 hour.
  7. Remove the cake from the oven and set on a cake rack. With a toothpick, chop stick or similar, poke holes in the warm cake and pour ½ of the hot glaze into the cake. Allow syrup to soak in before pouring remaining syrup on cake. Try to complete this while the cake is still warm.
    Allow the cake to rest in the pan until completely cool, then turn out onto the serving plate. At this point, it make be kept covered up to three days.
    Yields: 10-12 servings

Chocolate Syrup
½ cup sugar
4 ounces of unsweetened Belize Chocolate Company couverture
4 ounces of butter
½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
¼ cup of milk

  1. Stir the cornstarch into the saucepan and set aside.
  2. In a heavy bottomed, two-quart saucepan, heat the chocolate, butter, and sugar, stirring constantly until chocolate is smooth and the sugar is melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the cornstarch/milk mixture. Return to low heat and stir constantly until smooth and starts to thicken, about (1-2 minutes).
  3. Remove from heat. Serve warm over cake slices and garnish with candied cocoa nibs.
    Sauce may be kept refrigerated for up to one week.
    Yield: about ¾ cup of sauce

©Amy Malik Feb2021