Someone I know always asks if there is paprika in my recipe.  I threatened to “fix his wagon” and put paprika where he didn’t expect it.  Little did I know, apparently spicy and sweet chocolate dessert is “a thing” (saw it on a cooking challenge show) so I don’t feel so odd about the secret ingredient this special Foodie Friday retirement cake for broadcast legend Roger Neel.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News

Roger Neel Paprika** Chocolate Cake (Prep. Time about one hour plus icing and decorating time.  Serves 8.)

1 ¾ C. all-purpose flour

2 C. granulated sugar

¾ C. good quality unsweetened cocoa powder (Mexican is great if you can find it)

2 ½ Tb. Smoked or sweet paprika**

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

1 ½ tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 eggs

1 C. milk

½ C. vegetable oil

2 tsp. vanilla

1 C. boiling water*

Cream cheese frosting

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour 2 9” cake pans.  Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Stir well to combine, breaking up clumps of cocoa as best you can.  Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.  Start mixer at low speed until ingredients are moist then increase speed to medium and beat 2 minutes.  While the batter is mixing, you can boil your cup of water in the microwave for the two minutes.  When the two minutes is up, reduce the speed to low and slowly pour the boiling water into the batter.  The batter is very thin!  Pour evenly into the cake pans and place on center rack of oven.  Bake 30-35 minutes until toothpick comes out mostly clean.  It is important not to over-mix or over bake.

When cakes spring back and pass the toothpick test, remove to wire racks and allow to partially cool in the pans for ten minutes.  Carefully turn out cakes on to racks to continue to cool.  You may have to run a knife around the edge of the cakes and pat the bottom of the pans to encourage the super-moist cakes to come out.

When totally cool, fill and ice with cream cheese frosting (or butter cream). I think the cream cheese frosting better plays off the surprise little bit of heat from the paprika than butter cream frosting. You will need 2 containers or double a standard recipe for frosting to get adequate coverage.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News

** paprika is dried red pepper. It can either be sweet or with smokey notes and differing degrees of heat.  If you are brave enough to add it to the chocolate cake, note the properties of the paprika you are using and adjust the measurements for the recipe.

*boiling water allows the cocoa to “bloom” and release its flavor

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News