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
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.