Michael's Devil's Food Cake (Project 1309111)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

This is a fabulous recipe that is now my go-to chocolate cake.

Made it 2 years ago for my birthday. Then a few months ago Michelle made it for her Foods final and here it is again for Michael's birthday. Considering the fact that the Internet is chock full of chocolate cake recipes and I have tried a considerable amount, that we have come back to this one proves that it is indeed a winner.

When making just 1 cake, I would usually double the recipe, however since this will be 1 out of 4, I am cutting back a little and multiplied it by 1.5! And it made 3 beautiful layers for a medium sized 9 inch cake. That simply means it not going to be on the tall side, but a good height, nonetheless.

For the frosting, the quantities of the original recipe were maintained as I didn't want too much of it. It yielded enough to cover all 3 layers, albeit not so generously, which is my preference. So if you'd like thicker frosting and more to cover the sides, I suggest you double the frosting recipe.

I also added my own syrup, which always yields moist layers. Especially if you'd like to booze it up a notch, it's much preferred to add the alcohol in a syrup after the fact, then to have the alcohol evaporate during the baking process.

So here it is...

12 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2-1/4 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
225 g - 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
Scant 2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup strong coffee
1/4 cup Frangelico (or any chocolate liqueur)
1/2 cup whole or low-fat milk

Coffee syrup:
1/2 cup strong coffee or espresso
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup Frangelico

Frosting: (enough to cover 3 layers, but not the sides)
280g Valrhona 61% chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup cream
1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut in 1 cm cubes

1. Adjust the oven rack to the center. Preheat to 350 degrees.
2. Butter 3 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

3. Sift together the cocoa powder, cake flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a small bowl.
4. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy.
5. Add the eggs one at a time until fully mixed in.

6. Mix together the coffee, liqueur and milk.
7. With a spatula or wooden spoon, stir half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.
8. Then add the coffee and milk.
9. Finally stir in the other half of the dry ingredients.

10. Divide the batter into the 3 prepared cake pans, place all 3 in the center rack and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until it passes the toothpick test.
I usually rotate the pans 3/4 way into total baking time.
11. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
12. Run a knife along the edges to release the cake from the sides of the pan. Invert it gently onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

13. For the syrup, combine coffee and sugar in a cup. Set aside. When cooled, add the Frangelico.

14. For the frosting, melt the chopped chocolate with the cream in a microwave safe bowl in 15 second spurts, stirring occasionally until melted.
15.  Whisk the butter into the chocolate until completely melted and the ganache is smooth.
16. Cool until spreadable, which may take about 1 hour at room temperature.

To assemble the cake:
17. Even out the tops of the cakes with a bread knife.
18. Place the tallest layer on a cake platter, making sure to save the smoothest cake bottom (when the parchment is removed) for the top most layer.
19. With a silicone brush, brush the cake top with the syrup. Allow time to soak in, about 2-3 minutes.
20. Place a dollop of icing, about a third obviously, and spread gently over the cake. For a more even distribution and a cleaner finish, pipe the icing. Fancy nozzles? Go for it...
21. Repeat with the middle layer.
22. Last layer goes bottom side up. Drench with syrup. Wait a bit. Empty rest of ganache frosting on the top and try to make the best of it.

Were it not for the fact that I have to make 4 similar cakes for a simultaneous display, I would have left the sides unadorned. However, aesthetics ruled this one out the door and unfortunately, I was left with nary a dollop left of frosting for the sides. Wisely I chose to wait until I finished all the cakes, when I discovered I had extra chocolate and coffee frosting left over from 2 other cakes. It was enough for a modest layer on top and decent coverage on the sides. We were none the wiser as the flavors melded beautifully.

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