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Paula Disbrowe | Food Editor

The flavors of this dense, super-rich cake meld and deepen upon standing for a day. Black pepper and cloves lend a delightful gingerbread fragrance, and the mini chocolate chips dissolve, creating a fudgy texture.

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, plus more to grease the pan
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened (not Dutch process) cocoa powder, divided use
1 1/2 cups strong brewed coffee
1/2 cup whiskey
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Grease a 10-inch springform pan, then dust with 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, tapping out excess.

2. Heat the butter, coffee, whiskey and remaining cocoa powder in a heavy medium saucepan over low heat until the butter is melted, whisking occasionally. Add the sugars and whisk until dissolved. Remove from heat and transfer the mixture to a large bowl to cool.

3. While the chocolate mixture cools, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, black pepper and cloves in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla.

4. Whisk the eggs into the cooled chocolate mixture until combined. Add the flour mixture and whisk until smooth (but don’t overmix), then stir in the chocolate chips.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, set on a baking sheet and bake until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean, about 50 minutes–1 hour.

6. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack. (If you’re going to leave the cake in the pan overnight, cover it with a dish towel so it doesn’t dry out.) Using the tip of a knife, loosen the cake from the pan, then remove the outer ring. Wrap the cake in plastic so it doesn’t dry out. After a day, store it in the fridge, where it will last up to a week.

From Cowgirl Cuisine: Rustic Recipes and Cowgirl Adventures from a Texas Ranch (William Morrow, 2007), used with permission

October 2016 Recipe Contest