Thursday, April 22, 2010

Heirloom Devil's Food Cake

Heirloom Devil's Food Cake - made April 8, 2010 from Chocolate Chocolate by Lisa Yockelson

I turned to baking as a crutch to get me through what would turn out to be a weekend vigil at the hospital for my uncle’s final days. I made this devil’s food cake to keep myself busy before it was time to go see him at the hospital. I had made this recipe before and my notes said it had turned out pretty well. I made it again and it did turn out well – the texture was moist and a bit dense but not too heavy. The chocolate butter frosting was rich but not as overwhelming as the one for the Godiva chocolate cake. But I will admit the Godiva chocolate cake itself was the better cake. It had more flavor and a slightly softer texture which wasn’t as dense. If I’m in the mood for an all-chocolate cake again, I would pair the Godiva Ultimate Chocolate Layer Cake with the Chocolate Butter Frosting and call it a day. I didn’t time how long the layers took (I hardly ever do) but you do need to keep an eye on baking time, especially with chocolate cakes since you can’t rely on them turning golden brown or other visual cues to tell you they’re done. By the time a chocolate cake looks done, it’s probably overbaked, especially if the top feels really firm and/or there are cracks on top.

Devil’s Food Batter
2 ¼ cups bleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 ¾ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled to tepid
1 ¼ cups buttermilk, whisked well

Chocolate Butter Frosting

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lightly grease the inside of two 9-inch layer cake pans (1 ½ inches deep) with shortening, line the bottom of each pan with a circle of waxed paper cut to fit, grease the paper, and dust with flour.
2. Mix the batter: Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper.
3. Cream the butter in the large bowl of a freestanding electric mixer on moderate speed for 3 minutes. Add the sugar in 3 additions, beating for 1 minute after each portion is added. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 45 seconds after each addition. Blend in the vanilla extract and melted chocolate. On low speed, alternately add the sifted mixture in 3 additions with the buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the sifted mixture. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl frequently to keep the batter even-textured.
4. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans, dividing it evenly between them. Spread the batter evenly.
5. Bake and cool the layers: Bake the cake layers in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until risen, set and a toothpick inserted in the center of each layer withdraws clean (or with a few crumbs attached). Cool the layers in the pans on racks for 10 minutes. Invert the layers onto other cooling racks, peel away the waxed paper, and cool completely.
6. Set up the serving plate: Tear off four 3-inch-wide strips of waxed paper. Place the strips in the shape of a square on the outer 3 inches of a cake plate.
7. Assemble and frost the cake: Center one cake layer on the plate (partially covering the waxed paper square; the strips should extend by at least 1 inch). Spread over a layer of frosting. Carefully position the second layer on top. Frost the top and sides of the cake, swirling the frosting as you go. Once set, gently remove and discard the strips of paper. Let the cake stand for 1 hour before slicing and serving.
Bake and serve within 1 day

Chocolate Butter Frosting

4 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled to tepid
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
7 tablespoons milk, heated to tepid
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, softened

1. Place the confectioners’ sugar, salt, melted chocolate, vanilla extract and milk in the bowl of a heavy-duty freestanding electric mixer fitted with the flat paddle. Scatter over the chunks of butter and beat on moderately low speed for 2 minutes to being the mixing process.
2. When the frosting begins to come together, raise the speed to moderate and beat for 3 minutes, or until very smooth. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl to keep the frosting even-textured.
3. Increase the speed to high and beat for 2 minutes, or until very creamy. Adjust the texture of the frosting to spreading consistency, as needed, for adding additional teaspoons of milk or tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar.

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