Give me your best non-froofy Devil's Food Cake recipes, please
July 26, 2008 2:22 AM   Subscribe

Give me your best non-froofy Devil's Food Cake recipes, please.


I'm baking a cake for a birthday party and it's going to be a Devil's Food. I would love to hear or get links to some recipes that you have baked to great success. But, you know how it is; when an expat asks for a recipe for an item from home, what they are really asking for is the platonic ideal of that foodstuff. What they ate for dessert at a mythological diner when they were 12. So, nothing with contrarian flavor pairings or extraordinary chemical processes, or low-fat/low-sodium please: I'm looking for grandma cake here. I will do any necessary conversion to metric/celsius/eurobutterstick. My preference for cake sweetness is right in the middle, and my preference for frosting texture is airy and creamy. I'm an experienced baker and can deal with timing constraints, double-boiling and the like. The only ingredient which I'd say is right out is Crisco, since it is only known here as a lubricant and I'm not keen on paying a sex shop €10 for a can of the stuff.


Bonus for any recipes which use no or very little baking soda, since it is hard to obtain here while baking powder is ubiquitous, but if not, no prob!

Thank you very much!
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I can't help with the recipe but you should have no probably finding baking soda in Germany, look for Natron or Bullrich Salz.
posted by missmagenta at 3:03 AM on July 26, 2008

Hmm, I've never seen either in any markets in my neighborhood, but I'll take a second look when I pick up the other ingredients.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 3:17 AM on July 26, 2008

Bingo: the market had Dr. Oetker Haus Natron, thank you very much missmagenta!

Every casual baker here I ever asked about it said "we just use Backpulver" so I eventually concluded that it was in that category of the more obscure American dessert-making supplies like semisweet chocolate chips and moist brown sugar (which has been no problem, because the local ingredients you can use as substitutes are generally improvements on the original recipe) but it's a hell of a lot easier to bake a cake if you aren't trying to substitute baking powder for baking soda. Danke!
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 7:39 AM on July 26, 2008

Here's Mom's tried and true chocolate buttercream recipe which we use with devil's food cake, will post the devil's food cake recipe when I can lay my hands on it ... cause it is here somewhere ... rumaging in recipe file ....

Chocolate buttercream frosting/filling for a layer cake/large cake:

3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 or 1 1/4 cups confectioner's sugar, depending on how sweet you like it (confectioner's sugar is also called icing sugar, powdered sugar)
2 egg yolks (I know I know, food safety police, these are not cooked, but we've never had a problem with salmonella)
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled till still liquid but not hot enough to cook the egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream butter, add sugar gradually and cream until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time, and beat till combined. Beat in melted chocolate and vanilla.

For a small cake use:
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 egg yolk
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
posted by gudrun at 9:06 AM on July 26, 2008

time machine - Mom's devil's food cake originally called for shortening, but Mom *always* substituted unsalted butter with no problem. The Crisco folks say that you can substitute butter for shortening, the difference is that butter has more liquid than shortening. So, if you are using 1/2 cup butter when the recipe originally called for shortening, like in the recipe below, then subtract three teaspoons of water from the water called for in the recipe. However, I think *you* can probably just leave the water alone, because if you are using European butter, that has a lower water content than American butter, so I think you can just use the recipe as written but substitute butter for shortening.
Note re sour milk: 1 cup of cultured buttermilk, a soured milk produced by bacterial fermentation, can be substituted with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup. The chemically soured milk can be used after standing for 5 minutes.

Mom's devil's food cake

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup boiling water (see note above if using butter instead of shortening)
1 1/2 cup sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening (can substitute unsalted butter - see note above)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, well beaten (use large or extra large)
1/2 cup sour milk or buttermilk (see note above about sour milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour an 8" cake pan (square or round, sides should be at least 2" high). Melt chocolate (double boiler works well for this). Stir boiling water into chocolate until smooth. Cool. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cream shortening or butter till smooth. Slowly add sugar, continuing to work until creamy. Stir in cooled chocolate, than beaten eggs. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk in small amounts, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Turn into pan and bake 50-60 minutes or until done. Cool on wire rack before removing from pan.
posted by gudrun at 9:40 AM on July 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

That looks good!
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 10:22 AM on July 26, 2008

gudrun, I made your mom's cake and it was excellent. The frosting was a little less "big" than I usually go for, but it was delicious and the cake garnered many compliments. Thanks very much for sharing!

Also, with the info about the differing water content between EU and US butter, you've cleared up a long-standing mystery about what has been going wrong with my pie crusts when I've used the recipe I've developed here when I've been back in the States. I thought I was doing some kind of unit conversion error.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 5:37 PM on August 3, 2008

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