Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie: Devil's Food White-Out Cake

When I go to type 'Tuesdays with Dorie' into the post title, a long list of remembered possibilities shows up. I've been doing this a while. Lately, my Tuesdays with Dorie adventures have been a little sedate, half-recipe quickies thrown together out of a sense of duty, usually at the last minute. They've been good the last few weeks, but unmemorable. I keep it up, though, not out of guilt, but out of the real pleasure I get from a project continued, from the real effort to stay with this book, get to know this book, and not just flit off to one of my million other cookbooks. I'm spending some good time with Dorie here, learning her style, expanding mine, tweaking (why does everyone in the blog world seem to think this is spelled 'tweeking'? That drives me mad) and just letting the TWD current carry me.

This week's challenge, while quick, but anything but half strength. A full sized layer cake covered in billowy marshmallow can only be called full on baking. I hadn't given the cake much thought at first, but when a newly-vegan friend mentioned last week that it was her birthday, I thought I would do what I often do, and try to use my TWD assignment for an occasion, killing the proverbial two birds (except vegan-the proverbial seitan in the hand?). I searched out a bunch of vegan recipes and advice on substitutes, and somewhere in the investigation I lost sight of the original recipe and just made a new one, entirely forgetting that the plan had been adaptation. The vegan cake was surprisingly successful, especially given that it consisted largely of beets and soy yogurt, and I'll get to that in the next post, but the devils were not satisfied. They wanted their cake the way they wanted it.

In the blur of getting up to frost the vegan cake on Sunday morning, the devils finally had their say.The Devil's Food White-Out Cake just had to be made, and I had to be at rehearsal by noon, so it had to be made fast.

Luckily, it's a pretty simple recipe, and I'm getting pretty good, so I just whipped it out. Often baking in a hurry leaves me with mediocre product, but this time I was in the zone and my guardian devil was watching, and the results were near perfect. The cake is a simple devil's food, with both cocoa and melted chocolate, and it bakes quickly.
The frosting is an Italian meringue, where a thick hot sugar syrup is whipped into a pile of already-whipped egg whites. I have had varying success with with this method, but this time it was perfect. When the syrup is added, the egg whites nearly double in height, and it's truly satisfying (and so light, compared to classic buttercream).The final product, sprinkled with crumbs from the layer trimmings, was a triumph of classic American cake, huge and sweet and ridiculous and squashy. The vegan cake looked elegant and slightly appalled next to this fluffy sticky monstrosity, but both were appreciated at rehearsal.


Unknown said...

I MISSED DEVIL'S FOOD CAKE!!! I may never forgive myself. Nor will the devils.

Joan said...

That cake looks mighty good. What ever happened to children living close to their ancestral homes so that I might sit down with you for a cuppa and some cake? Sigh.

Leslie said...

Great post! I bet the vegan cake hung its head in shame next to the devil's food.

If "tweeked" gets to you, you might appreciate my source of torment: the rampant inappropriate use of the apostrophe in words that end in "s" and aren't contractions. Grrr.

Anonymous said...

Your cake looks yummy!

TeaLady said...

Cake looks good. Great job.

Lillian said...

My pet peeve -- well, one of my thousand or so pet peeves -- is the its/it's thing. Drives me crazy. Anyway, your cake looks good, and I can only assume it was tastier than the vegan version!