In a world full of cakes, the chocolate cake seems to eternally reign supreme. All Devil’s Food cakes are chocolate, but not all chocolate cakes are Devil’s Food. And in the family that composes chocolate cakes, I think that Devil’s Food is the best of them all. It’s a moist, rich cake that is deep in chocolate flavor, yet has a delicate crumb and texture.
Since we are on the subject of devils and devilish things, now is the perfect time of year to bake up one of these dark and luscious cakes. It seems over the last 20 years, Halloween has become a very big deal. Stores are chock full of candy, costumes and decorations as early as Labor Day. Right now, in the middle of October, many stores are simultaneously selling Halloween and Christmas merchandise, which I find really interesting given the focus of the two holidays. And somewhere in between we have to squeeze in Thanksgiving!
So, in this season of celebrating the dark and scary, here’s a ghoulishly good cake that is sure to tame the evilest of spirits. It’s also a cake recipe that does not require eggs, butter or milk. Some have said that this type of cake evolved out of the food rationing days of World War II, when dairy products were scarce. And the cake rises by a combination of baking soda and white vinegar. It comes together quickly and easily – no need for a mixer, just use your whisk. The recipe makes on 8” layer cake or one 9”x13” sheet cake, but I think the layer cake is the most impressive. A little instant coffee in the cake and frosting serve to boost the chocolaty goodness! Happy Halloween!
Double Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake
3 cups flour (all purpose)
2 cups sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put all dry ingredients in a large bowl and gently whisk together making sure that everything is thoroughly mixed. Set your dry ingredients aside.
In another bowl or large measuring cup, combine wet ingredients:
¾ cup vegetable oil
2 cups hot water
1 TBSP instant coffee granules (I use de-caf, but you can use whatever you prefer)
1 TBSP vanilla
2 TBSP white vinegar
Whisk wet ingredients together until combined and coffee granules are dissolved. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and gently mix until totally incorporated.
Lightly grease (I use a non-stick spray) two round 8” inch cake pans or one 9”x13” baking dish. If using round cake pans, divide batter into the two pans. Put pans on the center rack of a 350 degree oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the center of the cake springs back when gently pushed. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Let cake cool for 15 minutes in pans and then invert cakes out of pans onto cooling rack (you don’t need to do this if you baked it in a 9”x13” baking dish). Allow cake to cool completely.
While cake is cooling, prepare the frosting.
1 stick butter (unsalted)
1 ½ cup sugar
1 ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
1/8 tsp salt
1 ¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup sour cream
1 ½ tsp instant coffee granules
2 tsp vanilla
In a large pot over low heat, melt butter. Then add sugar, cocoa and salt. This will be a very thick and clumpy mixture. In a bowl or large measuring cup, combine heavy cream, sour cream and instant coffee. Add cream mixture to pot, whisking in until mixture is completely smooth. Remove frosting from heat and add vanilla. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature (it will thicken). When frosting has cooled and is of spreading consistency, proceed to frost cooled cake. Enjoy!