With a river of romance on the horizon, Ambar restaurant at the Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park in Downtown El Paso (DTEP) is feeding their clientele with purpose. That purpose, as we learned is to awaken the senses with a naked Chocolate Mole (pronounced mole-eh) Cake. We were invited to not only witness the construction of the cake but to taste the results by Pastry Chef Marisol Puentes.

Chef Puentes oversees the dessert and pastry program at the hotel in the Ambar restaurant introducing menu items like this naked Chocolate Mole Cake that blends her French culinary technique with traditional Mexican cuisine.

Pastry Chef, Marisol Puentes-Ambar restaurant at the Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park

Mole is a traditional chocolate marinade/sauce that is normally used in savory Mexican cuisine. For this cake the mole is infused in the cake batter with choice aromatics like cinnamon and star anise. “You can smell [these aromatics] the moment the cake comes out of the oven,” Chef Puentes told us adding, “Chilies, pumpkin seeds and peanuts give flavor to the cake since they complement the chocolate perfectly.”

Witnessing the construction of the cake (find a video on our Instagram account), you can see Chef Puentes has thought through each ingredient and the interplay each will have in relation to each other.

By the time we saw the dry ingredients drop into the metal mixing bowl, there was a curiosity. When we breathed in the first scent of freshly baked cake extracted from the industrial oven our mouths were salivating. Even then, you could tell the cake wasn’t overly sweetened.

After a gentle frosting of the cake, a crowning of raspberries and plating, Chef Puentes emerged with a freshly baked cake. For our purposes, this cake was half the size of a normal full cake order. A cake can be ordered in full for a group to share, or by the slice.

Hot coffee on the ready, the first taste was almost surprisingly subtle. The recognition of the chocolate spiced and flavored for mole is instantaneous but the sweetness is there. It’s elusive like a lover making you chase for it. The slightly sweeter raspberry frosting cut the strength of the chocolate with velvet gentility and once you find a nested fresh raspberry in the center of the cake layers, the acidity erupts with summer enthusiasm like a welcomed party crasher.

Rounding out of the familiar Mexican flavors and newly introduced fruit sweetness with coffee is the way to go. I suggest a simple black house-blend, but to each their own.

Look for this seasonal dessert soon, before its no longer available and ask for the apple empanadas too, you’ll thank us later.

Call for reservations (915) 440-7666 or book online.

DIRECTORY of more Downtown El Paso restaurants and bars!

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