To be completely honest, I really don't know all that much about Cinco de Mayo. I mean, I know it is about Mexican heritage, and commemorates a Mexican victory against the French, but honestly, my Mexican history is not really that strong. What I do know about Cinco de Mayo, though, is that it is a great excuse to eat Mexican food. Not that I really need an excuse, but hey.
Last year for Cinco de Mayo, I tried my hand at tres leches cake. Yum, that was super tasty. This year, I wanted to try something different. Just because. And I wanted to celebrate with an entire meal, not just with dessert.
So for dinner tonight, I made enchiladas. Not that there is anything overly special about enchiladas, but I honestly almost never make them, usually opting for fajitas or tacos - something more "I'll make the components, everyone can build them themselves" style. And, in full celebration style, I decided to try my hand at making my own enchilada sauce. I used this recipe from one of my favorite food bloggers. Seriously, I have made so many things from her site and she has never ever let me down. The only change I made was that I omitted the green chilies. Then the blender did all of the work for me. Once all of the ingredients were blended together, then simmered for a while, it was time to tackle dessert.
I found several recipes for Mexican chocolate cake and knew that that was what I wanted to try this year. I settled on this recipe, since it looked pretty simple and had received good reviews overall. It was definitely interesting, watching this cake come together. For starters, when all of the dry ingredients were mixed together, the sugar was mixed in with them. Yes, sugar is dry, but in most recipes, it is treated as a wet ingredient. Secondly, in most cake recipes, there is usually about twice as much flour as sugar. This one had equal parts flour and sugar. Thirdly, it uses both butter and oil, rather than just one type of fat. Very interesting. But what makes it "Mexican," as far as I understand, is the combination of chocolate and cinnamon. Which is a super yummy combination. So, despite all of the little oddities of the recipe, I persevered.
The cake actually took longer to bake than I had expected - one commenter had indicated that, if baking the cake in two round pans (which is what I wanted to do), to cut the baking time to 22 minutes. Mine took closer to 28 minutes to bake completely, and, even at that, did not turn out of the pans all that cleanly, but they smelled wonderful and looked moist and delicious, so I wasn't too worried.
I made the pour-over frosting detailed in one of the comments, a simple combination of butter, milk, cocoa and confectioners sugar, which is heated together, mixed up, then poured on top of the cake. I added a few shakes of cinnamon to the frosting, too, to mirror the flavor of the cake. I have to say... once I poured on the frosting, it was very hard to wait for dinner.
So, in addition to the enchiladas, to round out our fiesta, I also made rice and beans (I know, more Puerto Rican than Mexican, but hey...) and homemade guacamole, served with tortilla chips. The enchiladas were delicious, and the meal was a lot of fun. Little miss kept wishing us a happy Cinco de Mayo and asking us "is this a fiesta??" And, of course, loading up chips with guacamole.
As for the cake? It was very, very sweet. The flavor combination of the chocolate and the cinnamon was really delicious, and little miss and my sister in law, who joined us for the fiesta, loved it. I was pleasantly surprised with the light yet moist texture of the cake itself, but I have to say - a little piece is plenty for a cake this sweet. I am not complaining - it was definitely delicious. Just very sweet.
Here's hoping that all of you had a fun and delicious Cinco de Mayo, too!
Mexican Chocolate Cake
2 cups flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup margarine, softened (I used butter)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup sour milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a 12" x 18" cake pan (or two 8" round cake pans).
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda and cinnamon. Add the margarine (butter), vegetable oil, water, sour milk, eggs and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Spread evenly in pan(s).
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool.