Saturday, February 26, 2011
The origins of the term " devil's food " to describe the chocolate cake are extremely difficult, if not impossible to identify. However, even a cursory investigation shows that the devil's food cake recipes started to appear at least as early as the 1920s. The recipes will vary slightly. There are versions with heaps of cinnamon, versions including a variety of nuts, and quite a few with mashed potatoes. In the end, however, devil's food cake is really just a chocolate cake that's more chocolaty than most. This cake is dense and moist without being heavy, and it's full of rich chocolate flavor imparted by the combination of dark chocolate, dark cocoa powder, and coffee.
PS This recipe makes a great cupcake. If you are adapting it for cupcake use, be sure to reduce the baking time by 25 minutes, keep a watchful eye on the oven, and only fill the cup holders three-quarters of the way full.
For the Devil's Food Cake
1 ounce good quality dark chocolate (60-72%) broken into a few pieces
1/2 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (like Valhrona)
2/3 cup hot coffee
1/3 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/14 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, softened
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Angel Frosting
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract)
Make the Devil's Food Cake
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Butter two 8 inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust the parchment with flour and knock out the excess flour.
Place the chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the hot coffee directly over them and whisk until combined.
In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.
Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with chocolate mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
Divide the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 45 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack and let them cool completely. Remove the parchment.
Make the Angel Frosting
Place the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan over low heat, stir together 1 1/4 cups of the sugar, the corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water. Once the sugar is dissolved, increase the heat to medium high, and clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pot. Heat the mixture, without stirring, to almost soft ball stage ( about 235 degrees F) do not let it go above 235 degrees F.
While you wait for the syrup to reach soft ball stage, whip the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form-do not beat beyond this.
As soon as the sugar mixture reaches the soft-ball stage, remove the pan from the heat.
Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup sugar over the soft peaks of the egg whites and turn the mixer to low. Slowly stream in the hot sugar syrup. Once all the syrup has been added, increase the speed to medium high and beat the icing for about 7 minutes until it is thick and shiny. Add the vanilla and beat again for 10 seconds.
To Assemble the Devil's Food Cake
Place one cake layer on a serving platter. trim the top to create a flat surface and evenly spread about 1 cup frosting on top. Place the next layer on top, then trim and frost it in the same way. Frost the sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Serve immediately.
Angel frosting tastes best if it is served within 4hours of being made.
Even though this recipe uses almost an entire cup of hot coffee., the taste is undetectable in the final dessert. The coffee merely enhances th e chocolate flavor while cutting a little bit of the sweetness. If you want, you can substitute the coffee for 2 teaspoons of instant espresso powder dissolved in 2/3 cup boiling water.
Posted by Roadtrek Girl at 8:25 AM
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Whoopie Pies are total nostalgia, aren't they ? Just the name evokes thoughts of the 50's and someones mother in the kitchen in her starched apron,hair perfectly arranged, a perfect little dress with little red bows down the front and matching red heels. Really who cooks like that anymore ? And did anyone ever ? I think it was just smoke and mirrors by the ad companies. Anyway, Whoopie Pies are making a slow but steady comeback-popping up all over the country ranging from basic chocolate or pumpkin to crazy gourmet versions. Where did these little delectable cakes come from ? According to the New York Times "food historians believe whoopie pies originated in Pennsylvania, where they were baked by Amish women and put in farmers’ lunchboxes. Tired from a morning’s work, the farmers purportedly would shout “Whoopie!” if they discovered one of the desserts in their lunch pails" After making this Red Velvet version I would yell Whoopie if I found one in my lunch pail !
Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
Yield:10-12 large or 15-17 small pies
For the Whoopie Pies
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder ( like Valrhona)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening, at room temperature
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon red gel food coloring
For the Cream Cheese Filling
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cram cheese, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the Assembly
1/2 cup toasted walnuts,chopped coarsely
Make the Pies
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour,cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a small bowl, whisk together the canola oil and buttermilk.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and shortening until smooth. Scrape down the bowl and add the sugars. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, add the red gel food coloring, then mix on low speed for a few more seconds to incorporate. Do not over mix.
Turn the mixer to low. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk mixture, in three separate additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture until just combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl , then mix on low speed for a few more seconds.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill the batter in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
Remove the batter from the refrigerator. Us a a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism to drop heaping tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Bake for 10-20 minutes, until the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. Let the cookies cool completely on the pan while you make the filling.
Make the Cream Cheese Filling
Sift the confectioners' sugar into a medium bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until it is completely smooth. Add the cream cheese and beat until combined.
Add the confectioner's sugar, vanilla, and salt and beat until smooth. Be careful not to over beat the filling or it will lose structure. (The filling can be made 1 day ahead. Cover the bowl tightly and put it in the refrigerator. Let the filling soften at room temperature before using.)
Assemble the Whoopie Pies
Spread the walnuts in an even layer on a small plate.
Turn half of the cooled cookies upside down (flat side facing up)
Use an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon to drop a large dollop of filling onto the flat side of the cookie. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edges of the cookie. Turn the whoopie on its side and roll through the walnuts. Repeat until all the cookies are used. Put the whoopie pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm up before serving.
The whoopie pies will keep for up to 3 days on a parchment lined baking sheet covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator.
Be true to the South, do not substitute other nuts for the walnuts-a true Southern Red Velvet cake is always finished with walnuts.