Ever since Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking: From My Home to Yours arrived in my house, I have had a slight obsession with the cake that graces its cover. I had my first family dinner in the new house not too long ago, and decided it would be the perfect time to whip up this gorgeous cake. There are a lot of ingredients and steps in this cake, but it wasn’t overly complicated, and the delicious results were well worth the time spent. The chocolate is deep and rich, and the icing is the perfect compliment.
No matter what I do, my cakes never bake up even. Is this normal? Is my house on a tilt and I never noticed? Anyway it is easily fixed with a large serrated knife, plus it makes for delicious scraps that just need to be eaten. You wouldn’t want to waste all that perfectly good food would you?
The icing was really fun to make, and a lot easier than I had anticipated. It turned out beautifully light and fluffy and smooth. I almost like the look of the cake without the crumb coat better, but it was too much fun to pass up.
As you can see, I put a layer of wax paper around the edges of the cake as I iced it to keep the cake stand clean. Once I was finished, I pulled them carefully away and voila! A Cake that looks like I have steady hands.
I definitely recommend putting it in the fridge before serving, it gets a fudge-like consistency and holds together much easier when slicing.
Devil’s Food White-Out Cake
From Baking: From My Home to Yours
For the cake:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cup buttermilk or whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup boiling water
4 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped, or 2/3 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
For the filling and frosting:
1/2 cup egg whites (about 4 large), at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
GETTING READY: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour two 8-x-2-inch round cake pans (I only had 9-inch).
TO MAKE THE CAKE: Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the sugars and continue to beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate. When it is fully incorporated, add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. At this point, the batter will be thick, like frosting. Still working on low speed, mix in the boiling water, which will thin the batter considerably. Scrape down the bowl and stir in the chopped chocolate. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the cake pans to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then invert and cool to room temperature right side up.
If the cakes have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. With the same knife, slice each layer horizontally in half. Set 3 layers aside and crumble the fourth layer; set the crumbs aside.
TO MAKE THE FILLING AND FROSTING: Put the egg whites in a clean, dry mixer bowl or in another large bowl. Have a candy thermometer at hand.
Put the sugar, cream of tartar and water in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, cover the pan and boil for 3 minutes. Uncover and allow the syrup to boil until it reaches 242 degrees F on the candy thermometer.
When the syrup is at about 235 degrees F, begin beating the egg whites on medium speed with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer. If the whites form firm, shiny peaks before the syrup reaches temperature, reduce the mixer speed to low and keep mixing the whites until the syrup catches up. With the mixer at medium speed, and standing back slightly, carefully pour in the hot syrup, pouring it between the beater(s) and the side of the bowl. Splatters are inevitable — don’t try to scrape them into the whites, just carry on. Add the vanilla extract and keep beating the whites at medium speed until they reach room temperature, about 5 minutes.
TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE: Put a bottom layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or on a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. Using a long metal icing spatula, cover the layer generously with frosting. Top with a second layer, cut side up, and frost it. Finish with the third layer, cut side down, and frost the sides and top of the cake. Don’t worry about smoothing the frosting — it should be swirly. Now, cover the entire cake with the chocolate cake crumbs, gently pressing the crumbs into the filling with your fingers.