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Devil’s Food Chocolate Cake

March 17, 2010

When I ran across this recipe for Devil’s Food Chocolate Cake, I started thinking:

What makes it “devil’s food?”  What’s the difference between Devil’s Food and regular chocolate cake?  I mean, Devil’s Food sounds richer (does that mean I associate richness with the devil?).

Here’s what I gathered, mostly from Wikipedia.

Devil’s Food uses hot water (rather than milk) in the batter.  Devil’s food calls for unsweetened cocoa more often, rather than melted chocolate, making it richer in chocolate flavor.  Devil’s Food often has a coffee component (although this particular recipe does not).

Devil’s Food may or may not actually be the same as Red Velvet. This will surely throw an entire wrench in the theory that Red Velvet cakes are NOT chocolate cakes, instead they are cakes that use cocoa for coloring.  I can believe that: as you can see this cake does have a red tint to its interior.

The recipe, however, called for over 1 cup of cocoa powder, so I am quite sure that there was more use to the cocoa than just the red tint.

Technicalities aside, this cake was damn good.  Up there with the best.  And I don’t prefer chocolate cake.  The frosting was awesome, too.

And although the origins of Devil’s Food, Red Velvet, and general chocolate cake are obscure, what isn’t obscure is that the circumference of the cake divided by the diamter will always be approximately 3.14.  So, in celebration of Pi Day on 3/14/2010, I give you Pi Cake.  (See what I made on Pi Day 2009!)

This cake was more delicious the 2nd day after baking, cooling, and frosting.  The batter makes enough for nearly three 8″ cake rounds.  I made two 8″ rounds and 6 cupcakes.  The frosting makes enough to cover a three layer cake.  I think it is the best chocolate frosting I’ve ever had.  When first made, it is easy to work with and spreadable.  Once cooled and set, it has almost a fudgelike character to it.  I think if made, and fully cooled, you could pipe and decorate with it.

One Year Ago: Vegetarian Nutloaf and Potato Candy

Devil’s Food Cake (Martha Stewart)

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
1 1/4 cups unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

6 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
6 tablespoons hot water
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
Generous pinch of coarse salt
1 pound semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans, line bottoms with parchment paper, and butter paper. Whisk together cocoa powder and hot water until smooth.

Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside. Melt butter and sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Remove from heat, and transfer to a mixer. Beat on medium-low speed until cooled, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla and cocoa-powder mixture. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with flour. Beat until just combined.

Divide batter between pans, and bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.  My rounds were completed cooking at 35 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack, peel off parchment, and let cool completely.

Make the frosting: Whisk together cocoa powder and hot water until smooth. Beat butter, sugar, and salt in a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce to medium-low speed; slowly add melted chocolate and cocoa-powder mixture, and beat until combined. If frosting is not set, let stand, stirring occasionally until thickened, 20 to 30 minutes.

Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cake layers to make level. Transfer one cake layer to a cake stand, and spread with 1 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer, and coat top and sides with remaining frosting, spreading it in a swirling motion. Cake can be refrigerated overnight. Before serving, let cake come to room temperature, and carefully press flame tuiles onto side of cake.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 17, 2010 2:14 pm

    My understanding was always that it’s called Devil’s Food because it uses cocoa, which gives it a reddish hue. Anyway, I’m curious about this cake now, because usually I’m all about the melted chocolate in chocolate cakes. But you can’t go wrong with sour cream in cake, so I believe this one is great.

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