Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Delight of the Week - Devil's Food Cake


Back in May, my Best Friend came up for a visit. Since it was very close to her birthday, I asked her what kind of cake she might enjoy as a birthday treat. True to her chocolate loving heart, she asked for a Chocolate Cake.


I dove into my cookbook collection and began hunting for the perfect chocolate cake recipe. As soon as I opened one of my Nigella Lawson cookbooks, I knew I had found a winner.


This cake is fun to make and delicious to eat. We gobbled up half the cake while my friend was visiting and then threw the rest out into the compost bin to keep ourselves from a sugar high. The raccoons loved the treat as I found chocolate cake crumbs all over the back porch in the morning.


Nigella's Devil's Food Cake


1/2 cup best-quality cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 cup boiling water
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons) soft unsalted butter, plus some for greasing
3/4 cup superfine sugar
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs

1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cubed
11 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (or 2 cups chips)
Special equipment: 2 (8-inch) round cake pans


1. Begin by making the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottoms of both cake pans with parchment paper and butter the sides.

2. Place the cocoa and 1/2 cup dark brown sugar into a medium bowl and pour in the boiling water. Whisk to mix, then set aside.

3. Cream the butter and superfine sugar together, beating well until pale and fluffy.

4. Stir the flour, baking powder and baking soda together in another bowl and set aside for a moment.

5. Add the vanilla extract into the creamed butter and sugar - mixing all the while - and then drop in an egg, quickly followed by a scoopful of the flour mixture, then add the second egg.

6. Keep mixing and incorporate the rest of the dried ingredients for the cake then finally mix and fold in the cocoa mixture, scraping its bowl out well with a spatula. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans and put in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Take the pans out and put them on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes, before turning the cakes out to cool.

7. As soon as the cakes are in the oven, get started on your frosting: put the water, 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar and 1 1/2 sticks butter in a pan over low heat to melt.

8. When this mixture begins to bubble, take the pan off the heat and add the chopped chocolate, swirling the pan so that all the chocolate is hit with heat, then leave for a minute to melt before whisking till smooth and glossy.

9. Let it stand for about 1 hour, whisking now and again by which time the cakes will be cooled, and ready for the frosting.

10. Set one of the cooled cakes, with its top side down, on a cake stand or plate, and spread about a third of the frosting, then top with the second cake, regular way up, and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides, swirling away with your spatula.
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