Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Devil Made Me Do It

My birthday was a couple of days ago and I must say that as an adult, it's hard to think of things to ask for. So when the family asked me for a list, I could only think of kitchen things. I asked for (and got) good quality cake pans, spring form pans, stainless steel mixing bowls, and a killer kitchen scale. It makes a difference to have higher quality things to work with!

To test out my new goods, I whipped up a Devil's Food Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting. This recipe is from King Arthur Flour's Baking Companion. I followed the recipes to the letter, but I have a few suggestions on how to improve things.

  • 12 Tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks--I use unsalted butter for baking. This should be at room temp)
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt (use normal table salt--not kosher or sea salt--for baking)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 large eggs (these should be at room temp)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk or water (I use whole milk for baking)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Grease and flour (or use cocoa powder instead of flour so you don't get any white residue on the outside of the cake) two 9-inch or two 8-inch cake pans (this can also make a 9 x 13-inch sheet cake or about 24 regular sized cupcakes).
  3. In large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, salt, baking soda, and vanilla until fluffy and light, about 5 minutes. You should really let your mixer do it's job here. Give it time to fully incorporate the ingredients.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa.
  5. Add eggs to the butter mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition (again, let your machine have time to fully incorporate each egg).
  6. Slowly blend 1/3 of the flour mixture into the creamed mixture, then 1/2 of the milk, another 1/3 of the flour, the remaining milk, and then the remaining flour. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally. Also, you may want to give the mixture a final stir by hand.
  7. Pour the batter evenly in the prepared cake pans. Tap the pans on the counter a bit to help settle the batter.
  8. Bake the cakes for 30-35 minutes (longer for sheet cake, a bit less for the 8-inch or cupcakes) or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the sides of the cake begin to pull away from the pan.
  9. Remove cakes from oven and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before removing them from the pan.
  10. Let cakes cool completely before frosting.
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups (1 pound) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk (you may need to increase the milk to up to a total of 10 Tablespoons)
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter and vanilla.
  2. Add confectioners' sugar in three parts, alternating with milk, stirring until the frosting is smooth and spreadable.
  3. Frost cake as desired.
  • If you don't want the peanut butter frosting, pick whatever you like best.
  • Next time I make this cake, I am going to add some instant espresso to the mix to really bring out the chocolate flavor.
  • I used whole milk, but I wonder if buttermilk or sour cream would give the cake a bit more tangy-ness. I'll have to give that a try!

1 comment:

phairhead said...