10 July 2009

Recipe: Make You Own Devils Food Cake Mix!

Cross section of the Chocolate Devils Food cakeDevils Food Cake Image by Sifu Renka via Flickr

From Denny: Are you tired of using a cake mix because you find it uninspiring, bland tasting or are uncomfortable with the food additives and preservatives? Fear not! It's an easy recipe to make from scratch with little effort as if you were using a cake mix!

As a child, when I first went to make this cake I was fascinated with the unusual color AND the name. My English teacher Aunt Noelle, who was pitch-hitting for my mother since my mother had died that summer, was teaching me how to bake, told me the funny name came from the reddish color as people thought for sure this cake must have come out of hell itself as it tasted so good it was sinful! Then she went on to instruct me in the science of how to get that cake color because of the reaction of the cocoa powder and the baking soda. After that I was hooked for a lifetime and have enjoyed this simple cake ever since!

To show you how simple it is, here is a recipe straight from Better Homes and Gardens 75th Anniversary Edition Cookbook:

Devil's Food Cake

Prep: 25 minutes
Bake: 25 minutes
Oven: 350 degrees F.
Cooling time: 1 hour
Yield: 12 to 16 servings


3 eggs

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (this isn't a fussy cake that requires special flour)

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup shortening (try canola oil or unsalted clarified butter)

1 3/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups cold water


Allow eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease and lightly flour two 9x1 1/2-inch or 8x1 1/2-inch round cake pans or grease one 13x9x2-inch baking pan; set aside. In a medium bowl stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt;set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until well combined. Add eggs 1 at a time; beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and water to shortening mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Pour batter into the prepared pan or pans.

Bake in a 350 degree F. over for 25 to 30 minutes for 9-inch pans, 30 to 35 minutes for 8-inch or 13x9x2-inch pans - or until a wooden toothpick or cake wire inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes in the pans. Then remove from the pans. Cool thoroughly on wire racks. You can just leave the larger sheet cake in the pan (the pan size of 13x9x2-inch). Frost with desired frosting.

From Denny: I'm a big fan of chocolate ganache so I'll give this one. It's also less effort than most frostings with powdered sugar and butter.


Start to finish time: 35 minutes

Yield: just under 2 cups


1 cup whipping cream

12 ounces chopped milk chocolate, semisweet chocolate or bittersweet chocolate


In a medium saucepan bring whipping cream just to boiling over medium-high heat. Add the chopped chocolate of your choice. Resist the temptation to stir. Let stand 5 minutes. Then stir until smooth. Cool for 15 minutes. Spoon evenly over cake (which is why using this frosting works best with a one layer cake). To make things easy on yourself: pull out a cookie sheet, line with waxed paper, then place your wire rack with the cooled cake layer on top of this. This setup will catch all the drips and contain the mess as you "frost" with ganache.

Here's another twist on the ganache so you can use this frosting for the top and middle layers and sides of an 8-inch or 9-inch size cake so it looks like a conventional cake:

Truffle Frosting:

Ingredients are doubled from above recipe:

2 cups whipping cream

24 ounces chopped milk chocolate only

Directions: Prepare the Ganache as in the above recipe. Instead of cooling for 15 minutes, transfer to a large mixing bowl. Cover and chill mixture overnight. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds or until fluffy and of spreading consistency when ready to frost cake the next day.

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