74 thoughts on “P&Q: Devils Food White Out Cake

  1. Did anyone else have theirs not rise very much? I mean, with the amount of frosting, it turns out to be a nice tall cake, but my layers didn’t rise much. Seems to be a theme with Dorie…

  2. I made this before, but can’t remember about having rising issues. Does anyone know if it will make a difference in the rise if dutch processed cocoa is used instead of natural? I only have dutch processed and sub it all the time because I have no choice (it’s harder than you think trying to buy natural cocoa where I live) I was just wondering if that might have anything to do with rising.

  3. for me, the cake rose but then fell after cooling, esp. in the middle. i think i underbaked a little, though, since i’m always afraid to dry out chocolate cakes. i also found that the frosting was a bit fiddly… the more you spread it, the more it sorta deflates.

  4. I made 1/4 of the recipe, and baked it in a 6″ pan. It was as flat as the desert. I could barely split it in two. I didn’t use the frosting recipe in the book, I made a standard 7 minute icing instead. It worked perfectly, and the cake was really good. The kids devoured the whole thing.

  5. Kristin – I also have one 8″ pan, and just poured all the batter in there, then cut it after it was done.

    Kim – did you cook the sugar all the way to 242ºF? My frosting seemed to hold up pretty well, no deflating.

    Ditto with (almost) everyone else on the cake not rising. With all the frosting though, it doesn’t seem to be too much of a problem, it’s just a little more difficult to get those nice cuts.

  6. Do you think I can make the frosting Swiss Meringue style instead of Italian Meringue? (Swiss is heating the eggs whites and sugar in double boiler to 160 degrees and then pouring into the Kitchenaid to cool and whip up). I heard Italian doesn’t get the egg whites as hot as Swiss. (I can’t find pasteurized egg whites in Los Angeles – anyone have luck?)

  7. Steph your comment about Dutch processed vs. regular unsweetened jogged my memory of information in a book written by Regan Daley In the Sweet Kitchen. (if you have it) The difference (she says) is that it has been treated with an alkaline solution to reduce the natural acidity. Paraphrase: If you use DP in place of unsweetened in a cake that only has baking soda for leavening you might need to add some cream of tarter. So its all about the acid balance. However, Dorie has both baking soda and baking powder in this recipe so…..I’m thinking you might be alright. I haven’t made this cake yet so I don’t know a thing other than what I read from everyone else. Logic tells me this cake is a little more dense (less airy) to support the mountains of fluffy icing. Especially since she has us slicing it in half. Also it really might be easier to split if its chilled. Again, I haven’t made it so….. hope that helps.

  8. Anyone else find the frosting directions to be a little vague? I did ok, I think, but they could have been clearer. I didn’t have any trouble with the cake rising. I think it’s just not a very tall cake.

  9. I’m having frosting difficulties I think. How long should the syrup take to get to 242? I don’t know if my thermometer is off or if it’s just taking longer than I expected.

  10. For those who have made this before, have any of you been able to use anything as a template so that you can put some kind of pattern/design on top with the crumbs? Like maybe a big Oreo logo…..Just kidding about that part. Serioulsy though, anyone?

  11. Food Librarian (Mary, right?) – I used a product from the dairy case called “All Whites” – pasteurized egg whites, and had a successful frosting. The carton does say not to use for meringues or angel food cake (and I wouldn’t use them for either of those things) but with a few extra minutes in the KA, they whipped up adequately. I’m thinking if they stock this stuff in my backwoods CT supermarket, they might have it in LA…

  12. Food Librarian — it seems like Trader Joe’s would have what you’re looking for. I know I’ve seen pasteurized eggs there before, so the probably have the pasteurized egg whites as well.

    Looking forward to making this cake! Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

  13. Steph (you TWD blog idol!) – there’s a note in the back of Dorie’s book (pg. 479) that says that DP cocoa is often used in recipes with baking powder, and natural cocoa with baking soda, but that they can be used interchangeably in these recipes. So…that doesn’t help at all, since this cake uses both – so I think we should go with “it doesn’t matter.”

    I’m going to follow Nancy’s lead and scale this down somehow – if it’s as good as it looks I do not want to be alone in the house with it on a three-day weekend! (Well, I DO, but I don’t).

  14. Kristen – once you get to 100ºC, the water starts boiling off. It’s only after a large amount of water is boiled off that the solution will then go higher in temperature. It could take a while to reach the point that the water has boiled off, but once it’s past it, it can get hot fast, so just keep an eye on it and be patient.

  15. My sugar syrup took a long time to reach the 242 temp, also. I make Italian meringue buttercream all the time with a different sugar ratio and it doesn’t take as long.

    You don’t have to get pastuerized eggs for the meringue —the hot sugar syrup heats the eggs to cook the bacteria out–My “Cake Love” book says that.

    I tried adding butter to my frosting at the end to add a bit of flavor….the entire thing deflated and turned into liquid! I had to start over. Anyone else try that?

    My cake didn’t rise much either. The cake tasted better and more fudgy the second day.

  16. Courtney, I have a frosting recipe that starts out similar to this one and then after it’s room temperature, you use the paddle attachment on the mixer and mix in soft butter one small piece at a time. It’s not quite as fluffy in the end, but it’s smooth and really tasty. I prefer a buttery frosting!

  17. My syrup also took a LONG time to reach temperature. I don’t believe that Dorie gives an estimate of how long to expect it to take, and I was a little thrown off by what I believe (it’s been a few weeks) was at least a 30 minute wait. I think that Garrett’s explanation is right on, because that is pretty much exactly how it went for me. The thermometer was just stuck on 170/180 for what seemed like forever. It even dipped below that a couple of times, which didn’t seem right and made me question my thermometer. And then just as I was starting to ponder whether to throw to away in the sink or the garbage can, it suddenly shot up to 242 degrees. The resulting frosting was tasty, and sturdy enough to hold up to the layering.

    My cakes rose enough to not cause me to wonder if they rose appropriately, but they were not towering cakes by any means. They were thick enough for me to cut in half without any trouble, and the assembled cake has a nice height.

  18. I don’t have 8″ rounds. Hadn’t quite settled on a pan and so Lauren, thank you thank you for showing me the light. I have a great Chicago metallic 9/13 which could (as I’m sure you have already planned ) be cut and stacked in like a 6 x 9′ and what a great variation on the presentation. That just may be the ticket. Thank you so much for a fab idea. Might be fun…. Lauren what do you think?

  19. Am I going to completely throw off the taste and recipe if I use sweetened cocoa powder instead of unsweetened? I have a huge canister left over and I would love to use it instead of buying a new one. I was thinking of using less sugar to balance it out. Am I just asking for a disaster?

  20. Betsy, could be risky! You’d need to use more of the cocoa powder (because it’s really only part cocoa powder, the rest is sugar) and you’d have to reduce the sugar too. Figuring out exactly how much to increase one and decrease the other could be tricky. If you have time to make a small test batch first, I’d recommend doing that before investing time and ingredients in a full recipe that might not work out.

  21. Re rising and pan size — I did a half recipe and baked it in two 6-inch round pans. The cake rose well, but the layers were still pretty thin. If I had 5 1/2 or 5-inch round pans (which I don’t), those would have worked better. If I do this cake in 6-inch pans again, I’ll use 2/3 of the recipe for higher layers. More cake! Yes!

  22. Yes AmyRuth, the plan is to cut and stack and do a heart shape for VDay. I noticed my 1/4 sheet was a touch warped so that side won’t be for the camera! As for the filling, I feel like Fluff due to to much to do in too little time. For the crumbs, bake them for extra crunch. Almost like a Brooklyn Blackout, which is out-of-this-world.

  23. I’ve been wondering if this cake is inspired by the Brooklyn Blackout cake. (Anyone have a link to a recipe for that?) I think mine is going to be a Brown-out cake as I’m thinking of using a coffee-flavored frosting.

    Love the idea of toasting the crumbs!

  24. That coffee flavor frosting will compliment the chocolate. As for Brooklyn Blackout, the original Ebinger bakery cake had a chocolate pudding filling/frosting made with the one and only Fox’s U-bet. My mom always had the cake in the house on Mahjong night at our house. Some recipes worth tracking down are from Molly O’Neill, and Elisabeth Prueitt.

  25. I’m all in gear for a nice baking weekend – particularly our cover page cake,- but am in a panic – is anyone having trouble using Blogger, that is, gaining access to the blog writing section. My blogger has been out of commission for two days now – some other people have written in to Blogger but so far no improvement.

  26. kat – I’m not sure, but if I made this again, I think I would try at least halving it. I’m not crazy about the cream-of-tarter after taste. And if you plan to eat it soon after making… I’ve got to think it would propbably be OK.

  27. Well wish me luck, I’m going to make this today. just read through everything here, now I need to read all the ingredients and HOPE I can find them somewhere if I don’t have them.

  28. I’ve just taken the second cake layer out of the oven (German oven too small to do both at once) and the second rose better while the first was flat as heck. I’m not certain I can split either layer (I can tell after I unmold the second). Terribly flat, though. I wish I’d used 6″ pans.
    Bigger question- I didn’t bring a candy thermometer here with me and I’m not certain if I can get one tomorrow. Is there any way to tell when the frosting hits the right temp visually, or should I make another frosting if I can’t get a thermometer?

  29. In response to the Brooklyn Blackout Cake. I have the New York Cookbook by Molly O’Neill, 1992, and she has a recipe that she developed from Ebinger’s bakery in Brooklyn of the BBC. I am not sure if the book is still in print. There are some other yummy sounding recipes also. lola

  30. I just measured my cake pans and realized they are 9″, so I was considering possibly using an 8″ springform pan. but I dont know if that would work and I hate to do all this work and have it flop. So I may follow the suggestion above for the sheet cake!

  31. I accidentally did 1/4 cup boiling water instead of 1/2, which may be a good thing because I was using 9″ pans….the cake rose all right and is VERY moist~ because it was Valentine’s Day and my husband requested, I added some cherries to each layer and to the top, we’re still getting over a cold so we went to bed early last night and can’t wait to eat it today!

  32. I just finished decorating mine and it’s in the fridge. I hope to cut a piece as soon as it’s chilled for one hour so I can take my pics before we lose daylight.

    This came together very nicely. The cake was really moist so a bit challenging cutting the layers, but all worked out well.

    I noticed that some here said it took a long time to reach 242, mine only took about 15 minutes. I wonder if maybe your heat was too low? I had mine at medium high and it worked great. I was very skeptical about the icing as I have never made that before but it came out beautiful!

    I did end up doing mine in a 13×9, the only thing that was really a challenge were the crumbs. Because it was so moist some balled up instead of crumbling. but all in all it came out great!

  33. Thanks, Garrett. I am going to try testing in water as you suggest tomorrow. I also think, because my layers are so thin, that I am going to make a half-round of the cake and cut the layers in half rather than split them. I am really disappointed in the height of the rise. Perhaps I should have shorted the water? Or used 6″ pans.

  34. Whoa, why didn’t I check back on this earlier? PB frosting on this would have been amazing Amy Ruth! Dang. Oh well, the marshmallowy frosting was pretty amazing too. Maybe next time though :P

  35. I made mine tonight, it was wonderful! I was so nervous about the frosting, first about not doing it right, and then about not liking it, but it was easy and tasted great.

    I let my temperature get up to about 250 (my mistake) and everything still worked out perfectly. I didn’t do the crumbs on the outside because I was using a heart shaped filled pan set.

    Can’t wait to see all of the beautiful cakes on Tuesday :)

  36. I haven’t made mine yet. I now make it a point to read through the P&Q before i start. I’m going to halve the recipe and use my 4″ springforms. Any extra batter will go towards cupcakes :)

  37. Am still have serious problems with Blogger – looks like I’ll send pics of my cake to Laurie and Nikki but right now (since Thursday) I have not been able to access my blog to write anything new. Sherrytrifle.

  38. I made mine yesterday. It took forever for the temperature to get to about 230 and then it literally jumped to 250. Just a note of caution if you haven’t tackled the frosting yet…

  39. Just finished and frosted mine. I unpacked the last two boxes from the US and in the last, found my candy thermometer. I was very glad because it blew from 230 to 242 in about 30 seconds: I’m glad I didn’t need to use the “medium ball method”.
    It was an interesting experince.
    Heather- I am having no problem with Blogger. Have you tried logging in and out? Perhaps switching to Blogger in Draft?

  40. I cut this in half and made 12 cupcakes. The frosting was a little tricky but it worked great. On its own, it was OK, paired with the cake, fantastic! I made mine with Dutch cocoa and it was deeply chocolate and divine with the frosting, which I piled high. Even with only 1/2 recipe of frosting it was PLENTY for 12 cupcakes. This recipe is great for cupcakes. Next time I’d probably make the full recipe (cake + frosting) so I get 24 cupcakes with billowy frosting.

  41. Just a quick comment that I made this yesterday and tried it yesterday. Then I left it in the fridge for a while. My daughter tried to cut a piece and it just squished the filling LOL. So I took it out and left it on the counter (covered cake platter) overnight. Today the cake tastes even better than yesterday. this is definitely a room temperature type cake!

  42. I should have started beating the egg whites when the syrup was at 220 or so. I had to try to maintain the temp at 242 while waiting for my whites to form peaks. I must have added the syrup too quickly because my whites scrambled a bit. But with all the crumbs on there, it’s not too noticeable. The cake tastes amazing even if it was a rocky process for me – a novice at layer cakes.

  43. I made the frosting 2x. The second time worked out as planned. As Dorie says, a SMALL saucepan (1 quart) AND covering as it boils for three minutes (makes a big difference). Start to finish a little over 15 minutes.

  44. I used 9″ pans with no problem. It was hilarious to shuttle back and forth between the rapidly-whipping egg whites and the equally rapidly-heating sugar syrup, but it all came together at the end into a beautiful filling/frosting.

  45. Heather — I got a “cookies must be enabled” message from Blogger even though I did have them enabled! I was able to fix it by viewing all my cookies and deleting the ones that ended with .blogger.com. (You can also ask your browser to delete all your cookies, but that’s a pain because then all sites forget who you are.)

  46. My cakes only rose one inch but still tasted good. My frosting turned out well and made enough to amply compensate for the missing layers.

    Barbara, I had to laugh at your “cookies must be enabled” message which seems oddly appropriate for a baking forum…

  47. Oh….I’m almost afraid to say anything out loud because it’s going so well so far. My cakes are out of the oven and cooling, my frosting is finished and it came together easier than I thought. Now if I don’t screw anything up when I cut the layers in half, I’ll be a happy baker!!

    Thanks to everyone for their tips. Y’all are so helpful.

  48. Amy Ruth,
    I used a heart cookie cutter on the top and sprinkled in red sugar. Plus, I put red food coloring in the syrup so mine is pink! :)

    I don’t think mine rose much, but it was better than the berry surprise cake for sure! Oh yeah and I put mini m&ms in instead of chopped chocolate. They sunk.

  49. OK, so making Devil’s Food White-Out Cake was fun! The boo-boo’s I made were around parchment paper (forgot to put it in the bottom of the pans after I cut them out!) and forgetting to add the melted chocolate to the batter before pouring into the pans. I drizzled the melted chocolate on top of the batter in the pans. It ended up making an interesting design. The problem was trying to crumble the baked cake with this melted chocolate drizzle. I didn’t realize, but this made the crumbles a bit big, but I think it still looks fine and we’re looking forward to a slice later tonight. And isn’t that the bottom line for a cake?

  50. Mine’s done and the photography has begun. I’m now ready to slice this baby and let DH enjoy the cake (instead of the crumbles which he was eating as I was trying to use them!!!!). Looks good – hope it tastes good too :)

  51. Pingback: Confectiona’s Realm » Blog Archive » Tuesdays With Dorie: Devil’s Food White-Out Cake

  52. Pingback: Tuesdays with Dorie: Devil’s Food White-out Cake « my famous recipe

  53. I tried to leave a message with Stephanie, but was unable to do so. I loved this cake and know my family and friends did too. Thanks TWD bakers for giving me the chance to make this cake. It was fun!!!

  54. I made this cake a few months ago for a friend’s birthday, and it was a hit. (I also gave her a copy of Dorie’s book as a gift.) It tasted great and looked pretty. The frosting between the layers wasn’t as thick as on the cover, and that was what I’d hoped for. I made a note to try 1 1/2 times the amount of frosting next time. Or else mine just didn’t hold up, but it seemed to have the proper consistency. Also, I didn’t think I needed 1/4 of the cake for crumbs and had wondered about baking one pan with a bit more batter and cutting the other not quite in half to have three equal layers and fewer crumbs.

  55. Whew! The “devil” in this one really got me. My cake cooked up too fast; it didn’t rise very much and ended up with a 1/2 circle cake. The sugar syrup took FOREVER to reach the set temp. It spiked and started to darken, so I started over. The egg whites seemed to take forever too. Then the crumble layer was too dense and created big, not as pretty crumbs. The only thing that worked… the taste! Everyone loved it. Go figure!

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