The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Mom's Devil's Food Cake

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baltochef's picture
baltochef

Mom's Devil's Food Cake

My mother's birthday is tomorrow, and I am making a double batch of her mother's Devil's Food cake, which is an institution in our family..I posted the recipe in volumetric measurements in xaipete's Cake Flour thread several days ago..Visit the thread below for instructions on how to assemble and bake the cake..This cake batter makes excellent cupcakes, both mini and full-sized cupcakes..For best results use cupcake papers..


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/11396/cake-flour


Below is my grandmother's recipe converted to weight measures..All weights in grams are rounded up to the nearest half of a gram..


This recipe dates from approximately late in the second decade of the 20th Century..Attentive recipe readers will notice that this recipe calls for no salt..It does not need any salt as the leavening agents themselves are somewhat salty..Like most recipes of that vintage it was intended to be made with cake flour that had been sifted at least twice along with the other dry ingredients in the recipe..I recommend at least a 50-50 ratio of cake flour to all-purpose flour for the best tasting, most tender cake..100% cake flour will yield the best results..I also recommend frosting this cake with vanilla buttercream frosting as opposed to a chocolate frosting..The vanilla buttercream frosting will play off against the rich, moist chocolate cake far better than chocolate frostings will..


Bruce


 


Mom's Devil's Food Cake---circa 1917-1920


7 oz. cake flour  (199g)


2 oz. Dutch-processed cocoa  (57g)


1 teaspoon baking powder


The above three ingredients should be sifted together at least twice for best results..I use a small wire whisk to stir the ingredients around to more evenly mix them before sifting the second time..This usually eliminates the need to sift a third time..


4 oz. butter, or margarine, room temperature  (113.5g)


8 oz. granulated sugar  (227g)


2 large eggs, room temperature


8.3 oz. hot, strong coffee  (234g)


1 teaspoon baking soda


 


Yield: 2-- 8" round cake layers,  1- 9"x13" sheet cake,  16--standard-sized cupcakes in papers,  54--mini-sized cupcakes in papers


Baking Times at 350F: 8" round cake pans = 20-25 min,  9"x13" rectangular cake pan = 24-28 minutes,  standard-sized cupcakes in papers = 14-17 minutes,  mini-sized cupcakes in papers = 9-11 minutes

rainwater's picture
rainwater

I enjoyed one of the best cakes I've ever had....ever!  A lady co-worker brought it to work for an employee who was leaving the company.  The cake was a baked in a Bundt form.  The bottom layer was a chocolate cake, and the top layer was a flan made with condensed milk (she will bring me the recipe soon).  Everyone thought this cake was one of the all time best cakes they had eaten.....wow!  I couldn't help but think that this wonderful cake would be even better with a fresh chocolate cake batter, which you have provided.  The lady used a package chocolate cake mix, but she made the flan herself.  Thank you very much!

baltochef's picture
baltochef

rainwater


You are welcome for the recipe..This cake makes a very dark, moist cake that holds its moistness over a long period of time after cutting..It will hold for at least 5 days, sometimes longer depending upon the ambient temperature and humidity levels..We usually allow this cake, or the cupcakes, to sit UNCOVERED for 12-24 hours before covering them..We no longer keep the cake in a tightly covered cake container or box..Instead, we use a large stainless steel mixing bowl that is large enough to completely cover the plate that the cake is resting on with some room to spare to avoid touching the sides of the cake..Because these bowls are no longer completely level, a little air is always able to get under the rim of the bowl..


This seems to preserve the freshness the longest..Our theory is that some of the moistness from the cake migrates into the icing layer where it is trapped by the crust on the outside of the icing, whereupon the moisture migrates back into the cake itself..Whatever the reasons, I have seldom encountered a chocolate cake, especially one made with cocoa, that holds its moistness as long as this one does..


My grandmother got the recipe out of a cookbook in the mid-to-late 1920's..According to anectdotal evidence the cookbook itself was a bit older..Our best guess is that the cookbook was one of those local affairs that were here today and gone tomorrow..I have never seen another recipe that even resembles this one..Few chocolate cake recipes use coffee in them, all of the recipes that I have seen that are in any way similar to this one ALL have salt in them, and none of the ones that I have read have been Devil's Food cake recipes..


The cake is named in honor of my grandmother..It took my mother several decades to get my grandmother to write the measurements down so that her 5 daughters could make the cake for themselves, and their families..When my mother finally got the recipe she simply named it Mom's Devil's Food Cake, after her mother..


Bruce


 

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

Bruce - your recipe brings back fond memories of what my mother made for us kids as our favorite birthday cake growing up. I think she used a recipe out of a very old Hershey's cookbook. Question: wouldn't it work better to use regular cocoa (as opposed to Dutch Process which is alkalized) in order to get the baking soda in the recipe to react? Or is there something else acidic enough in there (the coffee maybe?) to make the baking soda use worthwhile? Thanks for sharing, great tip on covering with large stainless bowl to store the cake!

baltochef's picture
baltochef

mountaindog


Either type of cocoa, Dutch-process or natural will work fine with this recipe..The coffee is brewed extra strong and should be quite acidic..The baking soda should immediately foam up when stirred into the coffee prior to adding it to the creamed butter, sugar, and egg mixture..Decaffeinated coffee, and the current trend of 50-50 regular coffee and decaffeinated coffee do not allow this recipe turn out as it should..Full strength "real" coffee is required for best results..


Bruce

rainwater's picture
rainwater

I guarantee this cake will not hold for 5 days....there won't be anything to hold after the second day!    :)


I'm thinking this cake will be great without any icing.....just a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream on the top when serving.....????


Do you use regular butter, or unsalted butter.....it it's regular butter, this would account for no salt in the recipe.

baltochef's picture
baltochef

When my grandmother dictated this recipe to my mother in the late 1960's I am sure that she specified just butter..In those days unsalted butter was hard to find in the grocery store, unlike today..For most of our lives growing up my mother made it with margarine..My father was diabetic, and the doctors of the 50's, 60's, and 70's were convinced that he should not eat butter..Same thing with the vanilla buttercream frosting, my mother used margarine..


Nowadays, I use whatever I have on hand, salted or unsalted..It will turn out fine regardless of what fat I use..


I do sometimes make up a recipe into cupcakes, freeze the majority of them until they are hard on a sheet pan, place them into individual inexpensive zipper bags, and just pull out 1-2 as I want them to eat w/o frosting..These freeze well due to their moistness..


Bruce