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Sassy Cake

(recipe, Warren Brown)


Sweet flirts with heat in this orange, mango, and cayenne cake. For an alcohol-free version, substitute 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice for the tequila, orange and lemon liqueurs, dark rum, and vanilla extract.


  1. 2¼ cups plus 2 Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
  2. 1 Tbsp. potato starch
  3. ¾ tsp. salt
  4. ¼ tsp. baking soda
  5. ¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  6. ½ cup Mango Purée
  7. 1 cup sour cream
  8. 2 tsp. tequila
  9. 2 tsp. orange liqueur
  10. 2 tsp. lemon liqueur
  11. 1 tsp. dark rum
  12. 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  13. ½ tsp. pure orange oil
  14. 1½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  15. 2½ cups plus 2 Tbsp. extra-fine granulated sugar
  16. 1 Tbsp. orange zest
  17. 5 large eggs
  18. 2 large yolks


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Set the rack in the middle of the oven. Grease a Bundt pan.
  2. Combine the flour, potato starch, salt, baking soda, and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Whisk for 10 seconds to blend. Set aside.
  3. Measure the liquid ingredients (from the mango purée to the orange oil) into a separate bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, and orange zest on the lowest speed for 3 to 4 minutes. The acids from the orange zest will break down the sugar and the creamed mixture will appear a little wet.
  5. With the mixer still on the lowest speed, add the eggs one at a time followed by the 2 yolks, fully incorporating after each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl.
  6. Add the dry-ingredient mixture alternately with the liquid mixture in 3 to 5 additions each, beginning and ending with the dry mixture. Move swiftly through this step to avoid overworking the batter. Don’t wait for the dry or liquid mixtures to be fully incorporated before adding the next. This step should take a total of about 60 seconds.
  7. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl all the way down. Don’t miss the clumps hiding on the bottom of the bowl. Mix on medium speed for 15 to 20 seconds to develop the batter’s structure.
  8. Fill the Bundt pan about three-quarters full by depositing the batter with a rubber spatula in small clumps around the prepared pan instead of by pouring it into one spot. Level the batter with the rubber spatula. Bake any leftover batter as cupcakes.
  9. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes. Once the top of the cake doesn’t jiggle in the center, test for doneness by inserting a bamboo skewer. When the skewer shows just a touch of crumbs or comes out clean and the cake is a light gold color on top and browned around the edges, the cake is done.
  10. Cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove the cake by inverting the pan onto a flat surface. Allow it to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.