Saturday, January 9, 2010

Devil's Food Cake

  It has been a while since my last entry.  I figure I owe you, dear reader, something scrumptious.  So with that in mind and also to fulfill a promise to my Facebook friends I am going to give you a recipe for Devil's Food cake which taste's, at least to me, like Devil Dogs minus the filling [and I've got a recommendation for that too.]

  I found this recipe by chance.  I was at the town dump's [Note: That would be transfer station for the nouveau riche upwardly mobile types]  book exchange hut, where I found volume 1 of Meta Given's Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking.  It has a weird design, this volume has not only cake and cookie recipes, but also recipes for appetizers and fish dishes.  I wonder what fills volume 2? 

  So naturally I begin by reading the cake recipes, because I love baking cakes.  At the end of the cake section, Meta describes a new method for mixing cakes.  It is the one-bowl-method.  I thought to myself, "This looks familiar." And it was familiar because it was the same method used in the SPRY cake cookbooks.  And for those of you that know me, know that I love making those old fashioned SPRY cakes.  It makes me yearn for real SPRY, but alas I have to use substitutes.

  Basically the one-bowl-method is based on mixing the ingredients in a precise order: Dry ingredients, fats and some milk - Mix at medium speed for 2 ins, then add the eggs and remaining milk/liquid - Mix at medium speed 2 min.  It is important to add the fat first so it coats the flour and to only beat for 2 minutes at a time so you don't toughen the gluten.  At least that is my understanding.  The results are something else, the cakes bake evenly, rise well and nice and soft, yet firm enough to make a nice slice.  These cakes are something to be proud of.

Anyway, here is the recipe.  Leave a comment if you make it and let me know how the cake turned out.

Devil's Food Cake

3 oz of unsweetened chocolate [usually 3 squares] melted over hot water and cooled to room temperature.
2 cups of cake flour [Note: I didn't sift  the flour.]
1 t baking soda
1/2  t salt
1 1/3 c sugar
1/2 c shortening [I used very soft butter]
1 c milk [I used it right from the fridge]
1 t vanilla extract [I use my own homemade extract which beats all brands]
2 eggs [If you can get fresh eggs, they make a big difference in your cake]

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If using glass or dark pans reduce heat to 325 degrees.
2.  Prepare two 9 in cake pans by lightly greasing and lining the bottoms with wax paper. Don't grease the sides of the pans, just the bottoms and the wax paper.
3. Blend the flour, baking soda, salt and sugar in a bowl.  [Sift if you want, but I can't be bothered.  I simply don't have the room in my kitchen.]
4. Add the melted chocolate, shortening, 3/4 cup of milk and beat with a hand mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes, while scraping the sides of bowl with a spatula.
5. Stop beating and scrape the sides of the bowl and beaters.
6. Add the remaining milk, eggs and vanilla extract and beat with a hand mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes, while scraping the sides of bowl with a spatula.
7. Divide batter into pans, pushing the batter up around the edge of the pan.
8. Bake 20 min or until cakes test done. 
9. Cool on racks and frost with French Butter Cream Frosting.

French Butter Cream Frosting

2/3 c sugar
1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 t salt
3/4 c milk
1/2 Lb. cold butter, take it out of the fridge an hour before you start and leave it in a fairly cool spot [i.e. not near the stove.]  It should be cold but  malleable.
1 t vanilla extract or whatever flavoring you like.

1.  Combine the flour, sugar, salt and milk and cook over medium heat until it is very thick. I use a whisk and stir constantly.  You've got to watch the pan closely, so don't fart around in the kitchen while this is on the stove.
2.  After the flour mixture is cooked, beat it until is smooth over a bowl of ice until it is room temperature.  It has to be cold enough so it won't melt the butter.  This is like making Pâte à choux but you don't add eggs. 
3.  Now for the fun!  With a hand mixer, beat the butter into the mixture a tablespoon at a time.  make sure the butter is incorporated until adding  more.  It should take 8-10 minutes. 
4.  Lastly, beat in the flavoring and chill 5-10 minutes before frosting the cake.

Thats it!  Hope you have fun making the cake and if you do make the cake, leave me a comment here.