Tag Archives: Cake

Dorie’s Devil’s Food White Out Layer Cake

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

Serves 12
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.


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Dorie’s Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake


We had a birthday in our house recently, and I decided it was a good occasion to make one of the cakes I had marked off from Dorie’s book. The Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie cake had all the ingredients that I usually love, so it was high on my list. Also, I had never made caramel before so I was curious to take on the challenge.


The cake part of the recipe was fairly easy – except I realized I didn’t have enough bittersweet chocolate so I substituted some unsweetened in its place. The caramel part was another story. It took forever for my caramel to change color at all. The recipe says that it would take 5 to 10 minutes before you notice a change in color. Nope. Not me. It took about 20 minutes before it started doing anything. In hindsight, I should have probably increased the heat to compensate for my old trashy oven, but I was too nervous to screw it up. So once it finally started changing, it happened all at once. I added the cream and butter and the whole thing went INSANE. It got all over my oven, all over my pan and myself. Seriously, I made a huge mess. And then the caramel that got on the elements set on fire. So yeah, not so successful for a first attempt.


Once I cleaned up a little and put out the fire, the caramel actually looked reasonably edible. So, I added the peanuts and managed to follow the rest of the recipe without incident. Although, the caramel was not that easy to work with, and it made quite the mess on my kitchen counters, pans, racks etc.


The final result looked quite nice, and a lot like the picture from the book, so I was happy about that. The taste was enjoyable, but I found the cake to be more dry than I had expected. I think if I make this again, I would use a different cake recipe, maybe even a brownie recipe, instead of this one. As for the caramel, if I make it again i would use a MUCH larger saucepan to try to avoid having to take apart my oven and scrape caramel off everything.


Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake

(Source: Baking: My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 stick(8 TBSP) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 large eggs
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
3 TBSP light corn syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract

2 cups sugar
½ cup water
1 ½ TBSP light corn syrup
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 TBSP unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup salted peanuts

  • Butter and flour a 8 inch springform pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together. Melt chocolate and butter together using a double boiler.
  • In a large bowl whisk the eggs and sugars together until well blended. Whisk in the corn syrup, followed by the vanilla. Whisk in the melted butter and chocolate. Still working with a whisk, gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. You will have a thick, smooth, shiny batter. Pour the batter into the pan and jiggle the pan a bit to even out the batter.
  • Bake the cake at 350F for 40-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out almost clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool he cake for 15 minutes, then run a knife between the cake and the pan and remove the sides of the pan. During baking the cake probably will have puffed to the top of the pan don’t be concerned if tit sinks a little or it if develops a crater in the centre. Cool the cake to room temperature.
  • When the cake is completely cool, invert it, remove the base of the pan and peel off the paper. Wash and dry the springform pan, and return the cake to it right side up. Refasten the sides around the cake.

To make the topping:

  • Put the sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, stir just to combine the ingredients and then put the pan over medium-high heat. Heat, without stirring , until the caramel turns deep amber., 5-10 minutes. Lower the heat a bit and, standing back from the saucepan add the cream and butter. When the spatters are less vehement, stir to calm down the caramel and dissolve any lumps. Stir in the peanuts, and pour the caramel and peanuts into a 1-quart Pyrex measuring cup or heat proof bowl.
  • Spoon the peanuts on top of the cake. Then spoon the caramel on top of those. You’ll have a layer about ¼ inch high. Allow the topping to set to room temperature-about 20 minutes before serving.
  • To serve, run a blunt knife between the caramel and the pan and simply remove the sides of the springform. If this isn’t the case, hit the sides with some hot air from a hairdryer or wrap the sides in a towel moistened with hot water.

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