Classic/Update: Devil's Food Cake - FineCooking.com

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Classic/Update: Devil's Food Cake

By Fine Cooking Editors, editor

December 29th, 2009

by David Guas and Elizabeth Falkner
from Fine Cooking #103, pp. 76-79

 

The sinful chocolate classic faces off against a contemporary reinvention. Which will, um, take the cake?

 

The classic

southern devils food cake
  The Classic: Southern Devil's Food Cake
   

Native New Orleans pastry guru David Guas gives us the best-ever classic. Devil’s food cake was created in America at the turn of the 20th century as the counterpart to the popular angel food cake—it’s as dark and rich as angel food cake is light and airy. In a nod to tradition, this classic devil’s food cake is made with cocoa powder and not chocolate. A simple, luscious ganache of semisweet chocolate, cream, and butter does double duty as filling and frosting. Want to know his secret? A bit of mayonnaise in the batter—a southern touch of goodness that makes the cake extra moist.

The update

devils food cake verrine
  The Update: Devil's Food Cake Verrine
   
San Francisco pastry chef Elizabeth Falkner takes the classic apart and puts it back together in an unexpected way: a decadent parfait-like treat of cake, mousse, and chocolate sauce topped with crunchy, salty cocoa nib streusel. In this update, devil’s food cake becomes a verrine, which in France is a dish made of various components layered in a glass (verre is the French word for glass). The Chocolate cake is baked in a square pan and cut into small cubes that are tucked inside the glass, nestled between chocolate sauce and mousse. This version gets its own devilish spike from Nocino (an Italian liqueur made with unripe walnuts), though dark rum works just as well.

Photos: Scott Phillips

posted in: Blogs, classic/classic update, David Guas, devils food cake, Elizabeth Faulkner
Comments (6)

ncmikey writes: lorihowe wrote "Did you use unbleached, all purpose flour? This flour can cause real problems in baking, especially when the recipe calls for room temperature butter. Your cake will almost always sink within 5-10 minutes after coming out of the oven to cool. Unbleached flour contains very smooth particles which absolutely cannot hold softened butter in suspension"

I do use unbleached flour all the time and had never connected this result with that fact. I will certainly try bleached flour to see if I get a different result. We really love the cake itself and want to find a way to make it work. Thanks for the tip! Posted: 2:18 pm on June 30th

tunko writes: I have not seen the recipe so I did not get to try it as yet. Looking forward to bake this cake....the classic looks sinfully delicious Posted: 4:32 pm on January 21st

lorihowe writes: I just got through baking this amazing cake with no problems. I did, however, see the comments of ncmikey. I experienced no problems with "sinking". Did you use unbleached, all purpose flour? This flour can cause real problems in baking, especially when the recipe calls for room temperature butter. Your cake will almost always sink within 5-10 minutes after coming out of the oven to cool. Unbleached flour contains very smooth particles which absolutely cannot hold softened butter in suspension. You will find bleached flour will eliminate this problem. I used, White Lily, All Purpose, Bleached flour. As for this cake, not too difficult to make and SINFULLY delicious!!!! Posted: 9:49 pm on January 20th

Jbelle75 writes: Check your altitude, sometimes even as low as 2000 feet might start to affect your recipes. You may need to adjust the leaveners (reduce). Pie in the Sky is a great resource. Good luck! Posted: 9:02 pm on January 20th

sisterduck writes: Have you tried wrapping the cake pans? You can buy cake strips for about $10 at King Arthur Baker's Catalog. Or you can do it the old fashioned way, soaking strips of old towel and tying them around the edges of the cake pans. It normally is done to keep the cake from forming a dome in the center, but it might help with the opposite problem, too. Posted: 6:03 pm on January 19th

ncmikey writes: I have baked this cake twice now (the traditional devil's food cake) and both times the cake has sunk in the middle of each layer when the cakes have cooled on the racks. However when I cut the layers in half they are fully cooked, just sunken in the middle. The first time I baked the cakes for 50 minutes and the second time for 55 minutes. I have followed the recipe to a "T". Any suggestions?

BTW the cake is very moist and delicious I would just like the layers to be level when they are cooled. Posted: 5:46 pm on January 12th

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