Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mile-High Devil’s Food Cake

This month's Cake Slice Bakers choice by popular vote is the Mile High Devil's Food Cake. There are many versions of this popular chocolate cake and each recipe will have a uniqueness about it. To me this particular recipe is different because of the creaming method. In fact inside this book "Sky High" to which Cake Slice Bakers are baking from, you will find a number of recipes which adopts this particular creaming method. I particularly don't own a copy of this book but guess what, I recently ordered one from Amazon and it will reach me by end of June. I can hardly wait.

As usual I scaled down the recipe to a 4" triple layer cake. The cakes baked off nicely in the oven although 2 of them had a slight crack on the top. I told myself not to worry too much as I can always level the slices and cover them with frosting. After cooling for about 20 minutes, I noticed that the sides had developed a cracked rim as well and when I took the cakes out from the pan, the sides well off. The crumbs were extremely soft and I mean soft. I could not possibly assemble this at all. So instead of calling off this challenge all together I decided to use my 3 1/2" ring moulds to cut out smaller cakes. So I'm now down to a 3 1/2" triple layer cake .. ever heard of something like this before? Haha! As the cake was so small, I decided to just use whipped thickened cream with a tablespoon of icing sugar as the frosting. However I must say that the cake is extremely, extremely good and chocolatey. If you decide to eat it the next day, the cake will be a bit more dense due to the refrigeration, but still very yummy!

Check out my fellow Cake Slice Bakers for more beautiful creations of their triple layer cakes.

Mile-High Devil’s Food Cake
From: Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes By Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne
Makes an 8-inch triple layer cake


1 cup of unsweetened cocoa NOT DUTCHED PROCESSED
1 1/4 cups of hot water
3 cups of light brown sugar; packed
2 and 2/3 cups cake flour*
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon of salt
255g unsalted butter at room temperature [2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons]
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
3/4 cup of cold water

{*1 cup of cake flour is equal to ¾ cup of flour plus 2 tablespoons of cornstarch}


1) Preheat the oven to 325F(162C). Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper and grease the paper as well.

2) Place the cocoa in a medium bowl and add the hot water. Whisk until smooth and let it cool to room temperature.

3) In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low blend to combine. Add the butter and the dissolved cocoa. Then raise the mixer to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.

4) In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and cold water until combined. Add this liquid to the batter in three additions scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Divide the batter among the three pans.

5) Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a cakes tester inserted into the almost comes out clean. There should be a few crumbs attached still. Cool the cakes in the pans for 15 minutes. Then invert and remove parchment paper and cool completely on a wire rack.

Bakers’ choice of: Brown Sugar 7-Minute Frosting or Brown Sugar Buttercream

Brown Sugar 7-Minute Frosting

6 egg whites
1 1/2 cups of brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup*
2 tablespoons of water
1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar

{*corn syrup can be substituted with equal parts of treacle OR liquid glucose OR light colored honey}

Do not try to make this frosting on a rainy day or if you live in an extremely humid area. The humidity will make it impossible to work with the egg whites.

1) Place all the egg whites in a bowl and set them aside while you make the syrup.

2) In a small heavy saucepan, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, and water. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Continue to boil washing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush. Boil until the syrup reaches 238 degrees F (softball stage) on a candy thermometer. Immediately remove from heat.

3) Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites in the bowl and beat just to combine. With the mixer on medium speed gradually add the syrup in a thin stream taking care not to hit the beaters. Beat until fairly stiff peaks form but the frosting is still spreadable. If the frosting is too stiff it will be hard to work with. Use immediately.

Brown Sugar Buttercream

5 egg whites
1 1/4 cups of packed brown sugar
1/4 cup of water
453g (16 oz) of unsalted butter (16 ounces) at room temperature

1) Place all the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer; set aside.

2) In a heavy medium saucepan combine the sugar and water. Cook over medium heat stirring to dissolve the sugar. Then bring to a boil without stirring and cook until the syrup reaches 238 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

3) Begin beating the egg whites on medium low speed. Slowly pour in the syrup making sure not to hit the beater. Increase the mixer speed to medium high and beat until the meringue has cooled to body temperature.

4) With the mixer on med-low add 1-2 tablespoons of butter at a time. When all the butter has been added increase the mixer’s speed to medium and beat until the mixture looks curdled or separated. Continue to beat until the icing comes together again looking like soft smooth whipped butter.

Assembling the cake:

Place one layer flat side down and cover it with 2/3 cup of the frosting. Top with second layer and repeat process. Top with third layer and frost the sides of the cake.

Bakers Notes:

** A cake topped with the meringue frosting is the best the day it’s made. It does not do well in the fridge.

** If you choose the buttercream frosting you can keep it in the fridge for 3 days. Make sure to allow the cake to
come to room temperature for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Otherwise the frosting will be hard and heavy.


My Asian Kitchen said...

wow!! this cake is really rich and high!! I bet it's must taste good!!

Monica H said...

Your mini cake is so cute.

This cake was definitely better the next day...something I didn't think was possible!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

you managed to save it and make it look great! nice work!

Katie said...

What an adorably cut mini cake - so creative

Ramya Vijaykumar said...

mmm, a mile high but thats not gonna be enough for me... I will have the entire cake wow... the buttercream mmm I am all so excited at the picture!!!

Anonymous said...

Adorable mini cake and sounds just so delicious! Perfect!

debbmarie said...

Now I do not feel so bad ... I had an oops and only made a 2 and 1/2 layer cake! You are so right the cake was very moist and very fragile. Great save on your cake ... looks great!

Caroline said...

For a little cake, it really does look mile-high! Nice.

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

You overcame this challenge and made a BEAUTIFUL cake! It looks so delicious! :D

symphonious sweets said...

you really pulled this one off! your mini cake is adorable!

Tangled Noodle said...

Even for a 4" cake, it's a tower of deliciousness! I love buttercream but I particularly like how it's only frosted between layers and on top. You still get to enjoy the icing but it doesn't overwhelm the cake. And thank you for the cake flour substitution tip: at our grocery, they only sell a small box of cake flour and the price is outrageous!

Michele said...

Mini-cakes are so hard to make. I think yours looks delicious!

Rachel said...

This is definitely a mile-high cake..

Emily said...

WOW. It's absolutely gorgeous! I bet your cake tasted delicious.

Ramya Kiran said...

Wow Jo, cake looks very moist and delicious!

pigpigscorner said...

A mini tower..hehe...Looks gorgeous!

The Duo Dishes said...

Oh yes, this would be gone in seconds. Seconds!

PheMom said...

Gorgeous!!! I think it turned out great!

Esi said...

Wow! That cake is impressive!

Elyse said...

Mmm, this cake looks delicious!! I'm interested in this creaming method; definitely somewhat unique for a regular ole cake. I just love how "sky high" your cake turned out! Precious (and delicious, I'm sure)!

Lulu the Baker said...

You'd never know you had trouble looking at your photos! Beautiful!

The Food Librarian said...

This is so beautiful and SKY HIGH! It is so cute!

Dragon said...

Now this is my kind of cake! Yum!

gaga said...

That's a monstrous cake! It looks beautiful, you did a great job!

Anonymous said...

Your cake is absolute perfection. Great job!

Jo said...

Hi all, I enjoyed reading your comments and many thanks for dropping by to visit. I loved this cake and it really was delicious. On the day it was baked, the crumbs wes soft. A day in the fridge, the cake becomes slightly dense and the chocolate seems to come out more. Give this recipe a try if you have the time.

And by the way, it was certainly "mile high" and I did have trouble cutting through the layers.

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