Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Devils Food Cake with Marshmallow Frosting

Well, if you remember a few posts ago I ranted about not having found the perfect chocolate cake. Since then, I have decided that I couldn't go on this way, I have to find it, the recipe is out there! So I have taken on the task of baking a couple cakes in the last couple weeks to try them out (I know it's a hard job...) The recipe that follows down below was a devils food cake that I made that was awesome. It was by far the best devils food I have made, and I have made a couple. My Grandpa has always talked about a devils food cake that his Mother used to make (my Nani) that was so moist and flavorful that all it needed was simple whipped cream to frost it. I dream of this cake even though I have never had it. So when I knew he was going to be coming over last Sunday, I took it upon myself to bake my new recipe for Devils Food so he could taste it. Although, I had no intention of topping it with just whipped cream, even though it would have been delicious, because I had a recipe for seven minute frosting which is basically a homeade marshmallow without the gelatin (YUM!) It just sounded too good to pass up. A grown up ding dong if you will or hostess cupcake. I was more excited for this cake than perhaps any cake I have ever made and I was crossing my fingers that it would be a winner. Guess what? It was...for about 2 hours.

The marshmallow seven minute frosting, when exposed to the air starts to turn into a meringue of sorts and gets tough and hard but up until that happens it is light and fluffy, not too sweet and absolutely delicious. You could make this cake into cupcakes and fill them with this frosting and it would stay soft and probably taste just like a homeade hostess cupcake, especially if you topped it with ganache and piped those little loops on top. Is anyone else drooling? Even Jeremy liked this cake and he is a bit hard to please in the dessert area. My Grandpa said it reminded him of his Mothers and he loved how the frosting complimented the cake in a not too sweet way just like whipped cream would. It was a proud moment for me.

This recipe has coffee in the batter but you won't taste it. Coffee just makes the chocolate sing. If you don't have buttermilk, make you own sour milk by adding a teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice to regular milk in the same quantity as called for buttermilk. You can do that trick for any recipe that calls for buttermilk.

Devils Food Cake
adapted from The Smitten Kitchen

2 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 cup hot brewed coffee
2 cups sugar
1 2/3 cup flour
1 cup cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1 1/3 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Grease pans and line with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper.

Finely chop the chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let the mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Into a large bowl (or if you are like me, over a big piece of foil) sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes witha standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well.

Divide batter between pans and bake in the middle of the oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 50-55 minutes.

Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made one day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

Marshmallow or Seven Minute Frosting

2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Combine frosting ingredients with a pinch of salt in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (like a makeshift double boiler) and beat with a hand-held mixer at high speed until frosting is thick and fluffy, 6 to 7 minutes, Remove bowl from heat and continue to beat until slightly cooled (1-2 minutes) Use frosting to frost the cake and eat within 2 hours.

If you want to make cupcakes and use ganache here is a recipe

1/2 pound fine quality semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 stick (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter

Finely chop the chocolate. In a 1 1/2 to 2 quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.

transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on the chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistancy). I found that stirring this over a bowl of ice water did a great job of cooling it off quickly and evenly.

Spread frosting over the top and sides of cake. Chilling the cake will harden the chocolate coating.

Although, this particular set up is not what I was looking for initially, it was a fantastic find. I really would LOVE to find the ultimate chocolate cake, dense and moist with thick chocolate frosting that is not too sweet. This very well might be the cake, but alas, I must still find a frosting to match. This variation with the marshmallow frosting is awesome for when I am feeling nostalgic or when my Grandpa comes over and is a definate crowd pleaser.

Please note that this frosting does not keep well. Make and frost just before dinner and it will stay good long enough for you to enjoy it that night (at least 4 hours or so) then, sadly, it will start to get gummy like a marshmallow and form a crust. But, enjoy it while it lasts!