Thursday, July 1, 2010

Long Overdue Devils Food Cake (the best chocolate cake you'll ever have)

I can't tell you how many times I've made this cake. It has to be in the upper 20s by now. I could probably make it with my eyes closed. It's not a difficult recipe but requires a few extra steps than your normal, simple cake, but believe me, it is worth it. I know I say on here that "such and such is the best thing I've ever made" or "this is the tastiest thing ever" etc. etc. What can I say? I'm an extreme person. I either love it or I hate it. And in most cases, if something exceeds my expectations, it's really GOOD. I have high standards for the things I bake and will honestly tell you if something is not that good or if it's ok and there are ways to improve it. This cake, however wonderful, was no exception. It still needed it's improvements. And when I say improvements, I mean, don't make shortcuts like I do, just follow the recipe. I swear I made this 6 times before I was like, OK FINE, the recipe is the best way to do it!! I didn't really ever think of this until the last time. Hmmmm. What it comes down to is that I normally resent it when recipes call for cake flour. It just annoys me. Why do I need to buy special flour when it turns out the same in the end anyway? Why do I need to spend $4 on 32oz of flour? Not going to happen. 

Devil's Food Cake is a wily beast and doesn't hold to such conventions. 

So I've held out this long on the cake flour and after testing time after time my preferred unbleached flour and having the devils food cake cave in on my every time, I did a bit a reaserch. The first thing I discovered was that unbleached flour actually can not hold room temperature butter in suspension. I guess this makes a certain amount of sense? I didn't care to think about the science behind this too hard and took the internet's word for it. I tried it with bleached white flour. Nothing changed. They still caved in. I should say that all the other times I've made it, they did cave in a bit but the deliciousness of the cake made me never care that they did. It is so dense and so moist, who cares that there isn't a perfect dome on top? The taste was a siren song and I never cared to correct it's structural deformeties....

....Until I was asked to bake them for a wedding. 

I couldn't allow them to look the way they did at someone's WEDDING even if they tasted amazing. It would be humiliating and shameful. So I set down the path of perfecting these perfect tasting cakes and after altering a half a dozen variables I buckled and bought cake flour, as well as actually waiting for the unsalted butter and the eggs to be room temperature. I'm a very impatient person. Very. So these things are hard for me. Waiting is not something I do well. I usually put butter out the night before to avoid the waiting and if for some reason I forget or I run out the next day I microwave it a bit. Shameful. The eggs I usually use cold since you can't really microwave them, that just sounds like trouble. Scrambled egg inside it's shell...But to keep with the real recipe I used room temperature ingredients (I had Collin hold the eggs to bring them up to I said, I'm not a good waiter). You also have to wait for the hot water/chocolate mixture to cool which is so difficult for me I usually put it in the freezer instead of the fridge. But as long as you don't leave it too long, that doesn't seem so wrong. 

So with the combination of cake flour and room temp eggs and butter, the cupcakes were a success! No caving in, perfect little flatish tops and the same wonderfully dense texture. I guess there's some science behind smooth, bleached, lifeless flour holding on to the soft butter for dear life and not allowing the cake to deflate. 

I can tell you that this really is the best chocolate cake I've ever had or made. I'm sure my lab would agree since it's the usual request for all birthdays. Nothing really compares to devils food cake. I've learned this the hard way after trying countless other chocolate cake recipes, they just aren't the same. Give it a try and see for yourself. 

To top of the cupcakes I just use chocolate buttercream. For a cake I use a simple ganache that has been refrigerated overnight. It turns into mouse-like frosting. Amazing. Ah those milk fats.....miracle workers. 

I've happily converted the amounts in to ounces/cups. Your welcome. 

Rose's Heavenly Devils Food Cake:
adapted from Rose's Heavenly Cakes
1 oz bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup dutch processed cocoa
1 cup boiling water
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 oz cake flour
1 1/2 cups light brown Muscovado sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

In a medium heat-safe bowl combine the boiling water, the chocolate and the cocoa and mix until smooth. Place the bowl into the refrigerator/freezer to cool.

Butter and flour two, 9 inch cake pans and line with a piece of parchment or put cupcakes liners in your cupcake tin. 

In a bowl, mix together the egg yolks, eggs, vanilla and sour cream and set aside.

In your stand mixer using the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt for a minute on low speed. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the ingredients are crumbly. Scrape down the sides and add the egg mixture, beating for 90 seconds until light and well blended.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and add the cooled chocolate mixture while mixing on low speed. Once added raise the speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds, until slightly fluffy.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and with a couple of strokes from a silicone spatula scrape down the sides and bottom to mix in any remaining chocolate and then pour into the prepared pan.

Bake for 30 minutes until the cake springs back when lightly touched or a toothpicks comes out clean when inserted.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Slide a butterknife carefully around the sides of the cake to release and then carefully remove onto the rack to cool completely.

Frost with Chocolate Buttercream:
(enough for a cake, plenty for cupcakes, half this comes up just short for 24 cupcakes)

1 stick butter
3/4 cup cocoa powder 
~1/4 cup warm milk (or as much as needed)
1 tsp. vanilla. 
32 oz. powdered sugar (2 lbs)

Or frost with Chocolate Ganache: (Plan accordingly)

Dark Chocolate Ganache:

8oz dark chocolate (I like 60% Dark Chocolate Chips)
1 cup heavy cream

Bring the cream to a simmer and pour over the chocolate. Allow to sit for one minute. Whisk until smooth. Refrigerate overnight and allow to come back to room temperature before frosting the cakes. 

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