Chocolate cake is comfort food. It's not pretentious. It's not expensive. It can be eaten warm or cold, with icing or without. Like I said, perfect.
A couple of weekends ago I made Devil's Food Cake for a good friend's 40th birthday. As you can see, there wasn't much left of it after the party. I got the recipe from the February/March edition of Fine Cooking. The recipe is fancied up a bit; it's layered and has been given a ganache icing treatment. But take those things away and it's pretty close to my mom's recipe.
I repeated the recipe the following weekend, splitting the cake into two smaller ones. One for us and one as a gift for one of Tara's co-workers (who went way out of her way on a Friday afternoon to help out with Tara's studies). I made a few tweaks the second time and I think it came out a little better. I used four 6" pans for the two cakes. But it you want to be a purist, you can find the original recipe here.
I'm sure each and every one of you can do a better job with the icing than I did. I wanted to get it really smooth, but the more I tried, the less smooth it got. I'm sure there are many tricks of the trade for icing a cake, but it's never been a skill I could master.
Devil's Food Cake with Ganache Icing
(all ingredients at room temperature)
3/4 cup butter plus 2 tbsp for buttering the pans
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour plus 2 tbsp for flouring the pans
2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup cocoa power
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cup butter milk
1/3 cup mayonnaise
- Preheat the oven to 305F
- Cut out 4 circles of parchment paper to line the bottom of the four pans. Place the parchment in the pans and butter the parchment and sides of the pans. Dust with flour.
- With a mixer, whip the butter, sugar and vanilla together for a minute or two (until it is light and fluffy). Add the three eggs to the mix, one at a time until they are completely incorporated.
- Sift the dry ingredients together into a separate bowl.
- Whisk the buttermilk and mayonnaise together in a third bowl (or large measuring cup).
- Alternating between the dry ingredients and the butter milk mixture, add the two mixtures to the butter/sugar a third at a time, mixing until fully incorporated.
- Divide the batter into the four pans and bake for 40-45 minutes.
2 cups whipping cream
1 pound chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
1 Tbsp butter
- Boil the cream in a medium pot.
- Pour the cream over the chocolate chips in a bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Gently mix the cream and chocolate until homogonous. Stir in the butter.
- Let cool to room temperture.
Put it all together
- Slice cakes in half.
- Assemble 2 cakes as such: cake slice, ganache, cake slice, ganache, cake slice, ganache, cake slice.
- Apply a thin coat of ganache on the sides and tops of the cakes. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to let the ganache set.
- Apply a thicker coat of ganache to the sides and tops. Re-refrigerate to set the ganache. Remove from the fridge 60 minutes before serving.