Today’s post is in celebration of the birthday of a good friend. My friend Johnie turns twenty-six today. While twenty-six is a distant memory for me, I’m hoping it’s a great year for him. I can’t say enough about him, really. His relationships with others remind me every day that love knows no boundaries. When I got fed up with being a single girl over the summer (don’t judge me!), he was there to listen, and assured me that Mr. Right had to be somewhere. He wished me luck before numerous dates, and sat with me watching the Golden Girls and drinking wine after the bad ones. When I started dating Lane Meyer, he was almost as happy as I was about it. Through him, I’ve met some of the people who are now my closest friends, and I can’t imagine my life any other way. I truly appreciate having each and every one of these people in my life. I frequently express my appreciation with baked goods :).
When Johnie decided to put together a birthday dinner, I gladly volunteered to make the cake. After he suggested funfetti, he suggested “something chocolatey and fun,” and immediately this cake came to mind. No recipe of Dorie Greenspan’s has ever failed me. This cake is dense and fudgey like a brownie, and the frosting is like delicious marshmallow. As an added bonus, neatness doesn’t count when you frost it, because you’re going to sprinkle cake crumbs all over it. It is a smidge labor-intensive, but it really is worth it.
Devil’s Food Whiteout Cake
for the cake:
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
- 1/2 cup buttermilk or whole milk, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 4 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup egg whites (about 4 large)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Butter two 8-x-2-inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms with parchment or wax paper.
Put the pans on a baking sheet.
To make the cake, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a hand mixer in a large bowl), beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy.
Add the sugars and continue to beat for another 3 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time and beat for 1 minute after each addition.
Beat in the vanilla. The mixture may look curdled.
Reduce the speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate.
When the chocolate is fully incorporated, add the dry ingredients alternating with the buttermilk. Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients).
Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter.
At this point, the batter will be thick, like frosting.
Still working on low speed, mix in the boiling water, which will thin the batter.
Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl and stir in the chopped chocolate.
Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with the rubber spatula.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point.
When fully baked, the cakes will be springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers will come out clean.
Put the cake pans on rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners.
Flip the cakes over to cool to room temperature right side up.
When you are ready to fill and frost the cake, inspect the layers. If the cakes have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them.
With the same knife, slice each layer horizontally in half.
Set 3 layers aside and crumble the fourth layer into a bowl.
To make the frosting, start by putting the egg whites in a clean, dry mixer bowl or in another large bowl.
Have a candy thermometer handy.
Put the sugar, cream of tartar and water in a small saucepan and stir to combine.
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover the pan and boil for 3 minutes.
Uncover the pan and allow the syrup to boil until it reaches 242 degrees F on the candy thermometer.
While the syrup is cooking, start beating the egg whites.
When the syrup is at about 235 degrees F, begin beating the egg whites on medium speed with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer.
If the whites form firm, shiny peaks before the syrup reaches temperature, reduce the mixer speed to low and keep mixing the whites until the syrup catches up.
With the mixer at medium speed, and standing back slightly (it might splatter, and this is 240 degree sugar), carefully pour in the hot syrup, pouring it between the beater(s) and the side of the bowl.
The sugar mixture may splash onto the side of the bowl, don’t try to scrape it down and mix it in.
Add the vanilla extract and keep beating the whites at medium speed until they reach room temperature, about 5 minutes.
You should have a smooth, shiny frosting that resembles marshmallow.
Put a bottom layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or on a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper.
Using a long metal icing spatula, cover the layer generously with frosting.
Top with a second layer, cut side up, and frost it.
Finish with the third layer, cut side down, and frost the sides and top of the cake.
Neatness doesn’t count- the frosting should be swirly.
Cover the entire cake with the chocolate cake crumbs, gently pressing the crumbs into the frosting with your fingers.
Refrigerate the cake for about 1 hour before serving. You can also cover it loosely and refrigerate it for 8 hours, just be sure to keep it away from any foods with strong odors, the cake will pick them up.
Makes 12 servings.
Source: Dorie Greenspan, Baking: From My Home To Yours