Devil's Food Cake
adapted from David Lebovitz (can you tell I love this man?)
one 9-inch cake
NOTE: You can use either natural or dutch processed cocoa powder, though make sure to use a good one. Scharffen Berger and Valrhona are my favorites, and what I used. Because the cake is sweet by itself, you only need to use water to make the frosting, but you can use heavy cream if you prefer.
For the cake:
9 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ cups cake flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup strong coffee (or water)
½ cup milk
For the ganache frosting:
10 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ cup water (or cream)
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
For the topping:
2 cartons of fresh strawberrries (you'll have a few left over for your cereal!)
1. Adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Butter two 9" x 2" cake pans and line the bottoms with circles of parchment paper.
3. To make the cake layers, sift together the cocoa powder, cake flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl.
4. With a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar about 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Make sure to scrape down the sides with a spatula as you go.
5. Mix together the coffee and milk in a small bowl. Stir half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture (until fully incorporated), add the coffee and milk, then the rest of the dry ingredients.
6. Divide the batter into the two prepared cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Keep an eye on the cake once you reach 20 minutes, this cake is supposed to be moist and cooking just a little too long will dry it out. Cool completely before frosting.
7. To make the frosting, melt the chopped chocolate with the water (or cream) in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted. Remove the bowl from the pan of water.
8. Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk them into the chocolate until completely melted and the ganache is smooth. Cool until spreadable. This may take an hour at room temperature, but popping it in the fridge for a half hour is good if you're in a rush.
To frost the cake:
Run a knife around the inside of each of the cakes which will help release them from the pans. Tilt one cake out of the pan, remove the parchment paper from the bottom and invert it back onto a cake plate. Spread a good-sized layer of icing over the top. Top with the second cake layer and spread the top and sides with the remaining icing as decoratively as you want.
You can take 1/3 of the frosting and mix with chopped strawberries for filling, or just layer them in between cake layers. Make the rest pretty or pile 'em on top, I promise it will be a crowd pleaser!
Storage: Cake is best the day it is made, although it's fine the next day. You can store the cake itself at room temperature under a cake dome, though if using strawberries or any other fruit, store in the fridge (I learned this the hard way. No one likes moldy strawberries).
Seriously guys, you need to taste this.