When I think of moving in to my dream apartment, I imagine hosting intimate, cozy dinner parties. The kind of dinner parties where the wine is flowing, the food is delicious, and the laughs can be heard down the hallway. When I lived in my own little abode, I didn’t have enough room to host these kinds of dinner parties, which was unfortunate because my friends and I were eager and willing to have those kinds of parties.
Menu-planning is a skill I don’t really have and I tend to just throw things together. I know how different flavors and ingredients work together but I am not an expert here. A summer menu would obviously rotate around a hot grill, but dinner requires more thought. I would serve a colorful salad, some fresh dinner rolls, and a hearty, warm main dish. As for dessert, I can imagine all kinds of delicious cakes and cookies. However, nothing stuns a crowd like a glorious chocolate cake.
Humble yet devastatingly delicious, a chocolate cake renders a crowd silent as it makes its entrance. And, if prepared properly, will keep the crowd quiet enough that while they are eating bite after bite, the only sound to be heard is the soft scrape of the fork hitting the plate.
This cake, in particular, was special because I made it on my birthday in December. It comes from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented by the duo at Baked. It features a moist devil’s food cake with angel light frosting. Don’t be deceived though. There is nothing angelic about this cake. It will hit your sweet spot hard and make you crave it at all times of the day. Seriously, one morning I woke up and downed some cake with coffee, even though I had had my fill the night before.
That’s the allure of a well-made cake. It has some special power over you. This is not the first chocolate cake featured on this blog. The dedicated readers of this blog know that I am a sucker for a pretty chocolate cake. Some of my favorites include this always-perfect Double Chocolate Layer Cake, this crazy amazing Mountain Meadow Fudge cake, and Martha’s One-Bowl Chocolate cupcakes. All of these recipes hold a special place in my heart and are currently remade in my kitchen.
This February, I think it’s time to get your hands (and face) dirty with some chocolate. Let me know how you like this recipe too!
Devil’s Food Cake with Angel Frosting
Origin: Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
Prep Time: 10 min
Cooking Time: 35 to 45 min
Inactive Prep Time: 15 min to cool
Yield: One 8-inch, 2 layer cake
For The Cake:
1 ounce Good Quality Dark Chocolate, 60 To 72%, broken into a few pieces
½ cup Dark Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
⅔ cup Hot Coffee
⅓ cup Whole Milk
1 ⅓ cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
½ tsp Salt & Pepper
10 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 cup Dark Brown Sugar, firmly packed
½ cup Granulated Sugar
3 large Eggs At Room Temperature 30 Minutes
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
For The Frosting:
5 large Egg Whites, room temp
1 ½ cups Granulated Sugar
1 Tbsp Light Corn Syrup
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
Make the Devil’s Food Cake:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust the parchment with flour and knock out the excess flour.
Place the chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the coffee directly over them and whisk until combined. Add the milk and whisk until smooth.
In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about three minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.
Add the flour in three parts, alternating with the chocolate mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
Divide the batter into prepared pas and smooth the tops. Bake fore 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 45 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack and let them cool completely. Remove the parchment.
Make the angel frosting:
Place the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan over low heat, stir together 1 ¼ cups of the sugar, the corn syrup, and ¼ cup of water. Once the sugar is dissolved, increase the heat to medium-high and clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pot. Heat the mixture without stirring to almost soft-ball stage (about 235 degrees Fahrenheit).
When you wait for the syrup to reach the soft-ball stage, remove the pan from the heat.
Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup sugar over teh soft peaks of the egg whites and turn the mixer to low. Slowly stream in the hot sugar syrup. Once all the syrup has been added, increase the speed to medium-high and beat the icing for about seven minutes until it is thick and shiny. Add the vanilla and beat again for 10 seconds.
Assemble the cake:
Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Trim the top to create a flat surface and evenly spread about one cup frosting on top. Place the next layer on top, then trim and frost it the same way. Frost the sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Serve immediately.
Angel frosting tastes better if it served within four hours of being made.