I've been on some sort of Cake Hiatus. And I'm not sure why. It could be because the leftovers are a little harder to get rid of - mind you our doormen don't mind if there's a slice cut out. I think part of it was that sometimes people thought it was all just cake over here. I have been introduced a few times as 'This is Erin, and she makes amazing cakes!' Which is all well and good and I hugely appreciate that people think the cake is amazing, but I like to think that i'm a little more versatile than just being a cake person. Or even just a sweets person - I have a fairly strong pasta game too ;). So I guess I've just been making other things to prove a point that I can do it, even just to myself? What a weirdo. Or maybe it's because I fell down a giant pie rabbit hole - there's something so calming about making pie. And Bread. Sorry Cake.
The excitement of making cake slowly crept back up on me - I forgot how fun it was. And then when Stella's new book: Bravetart: Iconic American Desserts showed up in my mailbox, I knew it was time. I've been waiting for this book for what feels like the longest time ever, and it is even more amazing than I knew it was going to be. Stella is an absolute wizard, and a lady after my own heart - she treats baking as a science (because it is), heavily endorses the use of a scale (if you don't have any, buy some RIGHT NOW because it will change your baking forever), and includes things like cooked temperature for cakes, and little hacks you never knew you needed. I have followed her work since way way back when she had a blog, and her magic ways have made their way into the way I bake. Her recipes are solid, easy to follow, and reliable, and can easily be adapted to suit your liking - I just can't say enough good things about them.
Deciding what to make from the book first proved to be kind of difficult. Because I didn't grow up here, there's so many nostalgic childhood desserts in this book that I have never tried. Which I kind of like - it means that the first time I try them, they will likely be home made. However I kept turning back to the one bowl devil's food layer cake. It looked rich and fudgy, and had a milk chocolate frosting. I can never go past a double chocolate situation.
This cake is a dream - I almost went full on Bruce Bogtrotter on it. It all comes together in one pot, which is amazing. The layers bake lovely and flat, which makes assembly super easy. The frosting is a simple whipped ganache, which you make in the bowl of the stand mixer, leave to cool, then whip up all in the same bowl. (Best Idea ever?!? I think so). You need it in your life. Congrats Stella! This book is so, so beautiful, and I can't wait to slowly work my way through it! xx
A few wee notes:
- This recipe is made in three pans. While owning three pans the same size probably seems excessive to most people, trust me on this one when I say that they are insanely handy to have. Trying to cut a cake in half cleanly and evenly sucks. Baking the layers in individual pans sucks much less. You can also use the pans for all sorts of other things - cinnamon rolls, cheesecake, quiche, ice cream, etc. I have three of these and I love them to bits. They are super easy to wash, and things don't stick to them.
- Be careful when covering the ganache to cool - I was silly and didn't let it cool enough before putting it in to the fridge and a teeny bit of condensation dripped into it which made it the tiniest bit grainy, but still tasted amazing.
- The Ganache needs up to 6 hours to cool before you can whip it, or you can cool it in an ice bath.
- Buy this book because you need it.
I am doing a giveaway over on Instagram where you can win a copy of this book! Head on over to enter! Feel free to stop by Saveur and pop a vote in on your way past too! x
One Bowl Devil's Food Layer Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting
- Makes one 8 by 4 inch, three-layer cake -
Reprinted with Permission from Bravetart: Iconic American Desserts
Devil's Food Cake
3 sticks (12oz) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups (12 oz) Black coffee or black tea
1 cup (3 oz) Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups (6 oz) finely chopped dark chocolate, approx 72% cocoa solids
2 cups gently packed (16oz) Light brown sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp kosher salt
6 large eggs, cold
3 Tbsp (1 1/2 oz) egg yolks (about 3 large eggs worth)
2 cups (9 oz) all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking soda
Milk Chocolate Frosting
3 cups (24 oz) heavy cream
3 3/4 cups (20 oz) good quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 tsp kosher salt
- PROCESS -
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Line three 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper, and spray with baking spray. (If you don't have three pans, the batter can be kept at room temp for 90 mins)
Combine butter and coffee in a 5 quart pot, and set over low heat. Once the butter is melted , remove from the 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 and baking soda. Whisk thoroughly to combine, then divide the mixture between the 3 pans (it should yield approx 23 ounces in each)
Bake until the cakes are firm, about 30 minutes, or until they register 210˚f on a thermometer. A toothpick inserted in the centre will emerge with a few crumbs left on it. Cool until no trace of warmth remains, at least 90 minutes.
MILK CHOCOLATE FROSTING
In a 3 quart stainless steel pot, 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 six hours, or until thick and cold (45˚f) about 6 hours. Alternatively you can cool in an ice bath, stirring frequently, for about an hour.
Whip with a whisk attachment on medium high until the frosting is thick and silky. (75 to 120 seconds). Use immediately.
Invert each pan onto a wire rack, and peel off the parchment. Trim the tops of the cake using a serrated knife. Place one layer cut side up on a serving plate or turntable. Cover with a cup of the frosting spreading evenly with the back of a spoon or offset spatula. Repeat with the second and third layers, cut side down. Finish the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting, and the decorations of your choice (I piped a little leftover on as blobs around the top of the cake, and then added some chocolate balls).
The frosted cake will keep under a dome or pot for 24 hours. Once cut, wrap slices individually and store at room temp for up to 4 days.