Sinfully Delicious Devil's Food Cake
First post! It took long enough for me to do this, but I’m sure everyone knows that life has a way of getting in the way sometimes! This time last year I was settling into my first starter home in the lovely city of Baltimore, ringing in the New Year with my husband. Unfortunately, or fortunately, not sure which, life has a funny way of putting a wrench in plans. This year I began the New Year in CALIFORNIA! Weird right?
Let’s talk about cake. Chocolate cake. More specifically, Devil’s Food Cake. This is something best made for a crowd of people. Perfect party cake. The cake itself is dense and chocolatey, and then topped with a sweet and light buttercream frosting. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or enjoy a small piece with a glass of milk in your pajamas on the couch. This will satisfy any sweet tooth; except for those few chocolate hating people out there in the world. Who are you? I have heard of your elusive existence, but do not know any closely. I am just going to put this out there, sorry, but we cannot be friends. It just won’t work out.
When baking the cake, make sure you take the cake out of the oven sooner rather than later. This is the key for ooey gooey deliciousness. If you are using the good old toothpick trick to test for doneness, do not, I repeat, DO NOT wait for the toothpick to come out clean. In fact, make sure there are crumbs on there. The cake will continue to cook slightly after bringing it out of the oven, and as it cools this will ensure that it remains incredibly moist. I have to admit that I let my cake go a bit too long. This was my first cake since moving, which means a new oven. Ovens can be finicky, temperatures can very slightly, and you can get hot/cold spots in there. But the more you bake the more you learn about your tools.
Devil’s Food Cake – adapted from King Arthur Flour
12 Tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups All-Purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder (I used good old Hershey)
2 tsp. baking powder
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups milk (whatever kind you have in the fridge; I used 1%)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans (AKA rub butter all over the inside of the pans, then dump some flour into them and shake until every inch is coated; discard any extra).
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, and baking soda and set to the side. Place the butter, sugar, and salt into a large mixing bowl (I used my KitchenAid for this, but you can also use a handheld electric mixer) and cream together until light and fluffy. This can take a good 5 minutes, and the batter should take on a light yellow appearance; when in doubt keep mixing for another minute or two. Add one egg and beat until incorporated; repeat this with the remaining three.
In a separate bowl, mix together the milk and the vanilla. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating on medium speed until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add half the milk, and beat again until combined. Repeat these steps with another 1/3 of the flour, the remaining milk, followed by the rest of the flour; mixing until incorporated between each addition. Pour the batter evenly between the two greased cake pans.
Bake the cakes in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out semi-clean (crumbs can stick to the toothpick but no raw batter) when inserted in the middle. I always like to set my timer for 5 minutes before (so 25 minutes) and begin testing so that the cakes do not overcook. There is nothing worse than a dry cake! Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then invert them onto a cooking rack and allow to cool completely before frosting. If you try to cut and icing them before they are cool the cakes will crumble and the icing will melt. Be patient!
To assemble the cakes, cut off any cake bumps on top to get a flat surface. Place the first cake layer on a nice plate and put 1/3 of the buttercream frosting on the top and spread evenly. Place the other cake layer on top of this. Coat the entire outside of the two layer cake with a thin layer of buttercream and let sit for 10 minutes. This is called the crumb layer and does not have to be a perfect layer. The goal is to get the crumbs contained so the next layer of icing can be perfect white. Once the cake has sat, use the remaining frosting to cover the outside evenly. You can do some decorative swirls with your knife to add texture. As long as the cake is covered (saran wrap, aluminum foil, cake dome, etc.) it will stay fresh for several days.
Easy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
6 Tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1/8 tsp. salt
4 to 5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 to 1/3 cup milk
Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a medium bowl. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, shortening, and salt till fluffy (I used my kitchen aid, but you can also use a handheld mixer). Add half of the sugar mixture, and beat on low until well combined. Add the vanilla and half of the milk, beating until fluffy. Add the remaining half of the sugar, beating on low, followed by the milk. Increase the speed and beat until light and fluffy. You may need to alter the sugar and/or milk amounts slightly in order to get that desired consistency. You want the icing to spread easily, maintain shape, and not crumble.