Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Friends Don't Let Friends: Not have their cake & Eat it too

I'm a baker from way back. And a cake decorator.  I actually took 3 courses on cake decorating and have shelves of cookbooks on making things like sugar flowers and tiered cakes etc.

Devil's Food Cake
(modified from Martha Stewart)


• 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) EarthBalance, softened, plus more for pans

• 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, plus more for pans

• 1/2 cup boiling water

• 3 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)

• 1 teaspoon baking soda

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 2 1/4 cups sugar

• 1 Cup unsweetened apple sauce

• 2 Tbl ground flaxseeds whipped with 6 Tbl water
• 1 Tbl pure vanilla extract

• 1 cup soy milk


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease with EarthBalance or vegetable shortening three 8-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment; coat parchment. Dust with cocoa powder; tap out excess. Set aside. Sift cocoa powder into a medium bowl; whisk in boiling water until combined - a thick paste. Set aside to cool.

2. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl; set aside. Put the softened EarthBalance into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until creamy. Gradually mix in sugar until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add applesauce and flaxseed/water mixture , a bit at a time, mixing well between each addition; mix until well blended. Mix in vanilla.

3. Whisk soy milk into reserved cocoa mixture until combined. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture to butter mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the cocoa mixture.

4. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans; smooth tops with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pans on wire racks 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks; remove parchment and re-invert. Let cool completely.

5. Using a serrated knife or cake leveler, trim tops of cakes to make level if needed. To frost: Place the first layer on the cake plate. Spread the top of the first layer with 1 1/2 cups of frosting. Place the second layer on top and repeat process with another 1 1/2 cups of frosting. Place the remaining layer on top of the second layer, bottom side up. Spread entire cake with remaining 3 cups frosting. 

Note: See information about frosting thickness below.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting
(modified from Mrs. Millman's Chocolate Frosting)


• 24 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate morsels (Ghirardelli are my faves)

• 4 cups soy creamer

• 1 teaspoon light corn syrup


1. Place chocolate morsels and cream in a heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until combined and thickened, between 20 and 25 minutes. Increase the heat to medium low; cook, stirring, 3 minutes more. Remove pan from heat.

2. Stir in corn syrup. Transfer frosting to a large bowl. Chill until cool enough to spread, about 2 hours, checking and stirring every 15 to 20 minutes. Use immediately.

Note: my frosting was not as thick as the original recipe produced.  I've been reading more and will test using a combination of soy cream and silken tofu which should add in more of the fat that helps to thicken this up. 

My frosting resulted in a thick ganache style frosting.  Too thin to spread but thicker than traditional ganache.  It set up on the cake after a few minutes and I ladled it on in 3 sets, collecting the run off chocolate and continuing to add it to the cake until is was mostly all used - resulting in about an inch of frosting on the top layer.

This is a very intensely chocolate cake and frosting and is very rich.  The frosting is very milk chocolate-y combined with dark cocoa of the cake.  I'm going to be doing some more experimentation but overall this was good and great for a larger group or party because you don't need to cut big slices to get your chocolate fix.

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