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Classic/Update: Devil’s Food Cake

Southern Devil's Food Cake

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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.

<a href=”http://answers.polldaddy.com/poll/2442797/” mce_href=”http://answers.polldaddy.com/poll/2442797/”>Which Devils’s Food Cake Do You Prefer?</a><span style=”font-size:9px;” mce_style=”font-size:9px;”>(<a href=”http://www.polldaddy.com” mce_href=”http://www.polldaddy.com”>survey</a>)</span>

Photos: Scott Phillips


Leave a Comment


  • ncmikey | 06/30/2010

    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!

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