It was Dani’s and Melissa’s birthday so I asked…what can I make for you?  Melissa said your meringues please and Dani said anything chocolate!  So I made the meringues easily enough – then found this devils food cake in Rose’s Heavenly Cakes that looked perfect.  (Funnily enough Rose adapted it from chef Joanna Chang who owns Flour in Boston and worked under Rick Katz after I did.  I feel connected in a way.  The recipe is a non traditional way of making devils food.)  Anyway, I paired it with some Oreo chocolate drizzle ice cream (soon to be posted), dark chocolate sorbet, chocolate sauce and freshly whipped cream – and well, I think they were pleased 🙂  This cake is very chocolaty, moist and “just very good” Rob said when I asked him for a description – and he is a picky chocolate cake eater.  Enjoy this – it is a keeper!

devils food cake from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Heavenly Cakes:

(Rose includes grams and ounces which I love because it is more accurate.  I will share with you but use whatever form of measurement that you like.)

1 oz unsweetened chocolate (or 30 g), chopped into small pieces
3/4 cup plus 1.5 tablespoons dutch processed cocoa powder – sifted before you measure (2.2 oz, 63 g)
1 cup boiling water
2 large eggs at room temp
1/4 cup creme fraiche (I used) or sour cream (2 oz, 58 grams)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sifted (into the cup) cake flour (or 8 oz, 225 g)
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar (11.5 oz , 326 g)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) butter, room temp

(You can probably get away with half of the following ganache recipe for this cake if you are careful.  I happen like extra because if I need more or I get messy or sloppy, I don’t have to make it again.  It is also nice to drizzle (warmed) over a plated devils slice with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream.  Nice too as a chocolate sauce or a dip for fresh fruit.  It can keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks.  Just warm in microwave or over a pot of barely simmering water.)

12 oz choppped semi sweet (or bitter if you prefer) chocolate
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

extra (for sides of cake)
mini chocolate chips (optional), or chocolate sprinkles, chopped nuts, or another confection your choice.

cake – Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line the bottom of two 9 inch round cake pans with butter or spray, parchment, and butter or spray again, then a little flour.  Tap out excess.

If you have cake strips, use them (these slow down the baking at the perimeter of the pan which helps avoid peaked cakes – you can make your own by wrapping wet paper towel inside tinfoil and wrapping them around the cake.  But buy them if you can.  You can also bake with out and trim off the dome after baking.)

In a medium bowl, whisk the chopped chocolate, cocoa and boiling water until smooth.  Cover with plastic wrap and cool to room temp (about an hour) – to speed the cooling place in the fridge but bring back to room temp if it gets too cool.

In another bowl, whisk the eggs, yolks, creme fraiche (or sour cream), and vanilla until combined.

With the paddle attachment of your stand mixer gently mix the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt on low speed for 30 seconds.  Add the butter and mix on low until the dry ingredients are crumbly.  Add the egg mixture and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes – until light and incorporated.  Scrape down the bowl and mix another 30 seconds.

With the mixer on low – add the the chocolate mixture gradually.  Raise the speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds until fully incorporated.  Scrape and fold in any leftover chocolate by hand and pour into the prepared pans.

Bake the cakes for about 30-35 minutes (using cake strips), might be less with out – so check often and before with a wooden toothpick.  The cake should spring back lightly when touched in the centers.

Let the cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes.  Then run a knife around the edges and invert and unmold.  Set upright again.  Let cool completely before icing.

ganache – Place chopped chocolate in a bowl.  Heat the cream over medium high heat until it almost boils (scalds).  Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate.  Let stand 30 seconds.  Working from the center gently stir or whisk to melt and blend all until smooth.  Let the ganache sit (at room temp) until thickens about 30+ minutes.

assembly – If cakes are domed, slice horizontally with a bread knife to even out the layers and remove the dome.  Save the domed shavings in the freezer to add as a mix-in to ice cream 🙂

Place cake layer on a cardboard round (with a little bit of ganache on it so it will stick) for best icing results.  You can buy cardboard cake rounds at  If you don’t have, make one with a cardboard box by cutting a circle the same size as the cake and cover with foil.

Alternatively, you can ice on a plate, but it is trickier –  line the cake with strips of wax paper or parchment (all around) so that the falling ganache has a place to land.  When complete, pull the strips away – to have a clean looking plate.

If you have the cake round, place it (with the one cake layer) on a wire rack set over parchment and on top of a cookie sheet (the covered sheet will catch the leftover ganache that you can re-use to ice the cake, or scrape into a container for later use.)

Pour some ganache on top of the layer.  (I like a lot!)  Place the second cake layer on top.  Now spread the ganache on top and around the cake as best you can.  Do this bit by bit using an offset spatula if you have (look to baking tips for where to purchase).  Then place in the fridge to set this “crumb coating.”  It does not have to be perfect…you will come back to it.  After 20-30 minutes, pour ganache on top of the cake again -and with an offset spatula, coat the top and sides as best you can.  Level off the top to make clean and pretty.

You can leave as is, or cover the sides with a confection.  I usually opt for this since my sides never look that fabulous.  Place a bunch of mini chips (or confection or nut of your choosing) on top of a large piece of parchment or tin foil.  Hold the cake with your left hand (or vice versa if you are lefty) and with your right hand gently scoop up chips and press into the cake sides so that they stick.  Repeat and turn the cake with your left hand – so that you complete all.  (Next time I will try to video this.)  Place on plate or cake stand to set.

Finally done!  Enjoy-

Oh and serve at room temperature for tastiest cake.  If you make in advance, pull from fridge for 1 hour before service.

(This cake freezes well if you have leftover.)

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