One-Bowl Devil’s Food Layer Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting
This devilish cake is as black as sin, loaded with coffee, chocolate, cocoa and butterscotchy brown sugar. The acidity of these deliciously dark ingredients provokes an intensely fizzy reaction from the baking soda for a cake that bakes up fluffy and light, without the need to whip or cream the batter—just stir everything together, and you’re done! Paired with mellow Milk Chocolate Frosting, it’s a celebration of chocolate in every form.
- Pan spray
- 12 ounces unsalted butter
- 1½ cups black coffee, or black tea such as Assam
- 1 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, such as Cacao Barry Extra Brute
- 1¼ cups finely chopped dark chocolate, about 72%
- 2 cups gently packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (half as much if iodized)
- 6 large eggs, straight from the fridge
- 3 tablespoons egg yolks (from about 3 large eggs)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, such as Gold Medal
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 3¾ cups (20 ounces) 35% milk chocolate, finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt, or more to taste (half as much if iodized)
- 1 cup Oreo cookie crumbs, optional
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 350 degrees. Line three 8-by-3-inch anodized aluminum cake pans with parchment and grease with pan spray; if you don’t have three pans, the remaining batter can be held at room temperature for up to 90 minutes. (The cakes won’t rise quite as high in 2-inch pans.)
- Combine butter and coffee in a 5-quart stainless steel saucier and set over low heat. Once the butter is melted, remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa and chocolate, followed by the brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. Mix in the eggs and yolks. Sift in the flour (if using a cup measure, spoon into the cup and level with a knife before sifting) and baking soda. Whisk thoroughly to combine, then divide among the prepared cake pans (about 23 ounces each).
- Bake until the cakes are firm, though your finger will leave an impression in the puffy crust, about 30 minutes (or 210 degrees). A toothpick inserted into the center will emerge with a few crumbs still attached. Cool until no trace of warmth remains, about 90 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the Milk Chocolate Frosting; note that the frosting must be used as soon as it is made. In a 3-quart stainless steel saucier, warm the cream over medium heat. When bubbling hard around the edges, pour over chocolate in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk by hand until smooth, stir in the salt, and set aside until no longer steaming. Cover and refrigerate 6 hours, or until thick and cold, around 45 degrees. Alternatively, cool in a sink full of ice water, stirring and scraping from time to time with a flexible spatula, about 1 hour. With a whisk attachment, whip on medium-high until thick and silky, with a frosting like consistency. This can take from 75 to 120 seconds, so watch it closely. Use immediately. Leftovers can be frozen up to 6 months in a pint-sized zip-top-bag, then gently warmed to spoon over your favorite desserts.
- Loosen the cakes from their pans with a knife, invert onto a wire rack, peel off the parchment and re-invert. Trim the top crusts from the cakes with a serrated knife (this helps the cakes better absorb moisture from the frosting). Place one layer cut side up on a serving plate. Cover with a cup of the frosting, spreading it into an even layer with the back of a spoon. Repeat with the second and third layers, cut side down. Finish the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting, and coat with cookie crumbs, if you like.
- Under a cake dome or an inverted pot, the frosted cake will keep for up to 24 hours at room temperature. After cutting, wrap leftover slices individually and store at room temperature for up to 4 days more.
- Excerpt from BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts by Stella Parks. Copyright © 2017 by Stella Parks. Reprinted with permission of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.