This week, the "Tuesdays with Dorie" crew are baking the "cover cake" -- Devil's Food White-Out Cake, featured on the cover of "Baking: From My Home to Yours" by Dorie Greenspan. Many thanks to Stephanie of Confessions of a City Eater for choosing this! You can find the recipe on her blog, or on National Public Radio's website.
With the goal of not expanding our waistlines, I made a half-recipe and baked it in two 6-inch round cake pans. The batter wasn't very deep when I poured it into the pans, and even though it rose nicely, the resulting cake layers weren't very thick. Next time, I'd use two-thirds of the recipe for this size of pan.
As I was planning a coffee-flavored frosting, I substituted brewed coffee for both the buttermilk and the water in the recipe. I also added some instant espresso powder (dissolved in the coffee), and added some dried buttermilk powder to the dry ingredients. I used bleached all-purpose flour (4.8 ounces to a cup) and a mixture of half Dutch-processed cocoa and half natural cocoa (3 ounces to a cup).
Jim and I don't like meringue. And we don't like sweet frostings. And we live in Wisconsin and do love our dairy products, so a whipped cream frosting sounded like just the ticket! I combined Dorie's recipe for White Chocolate Whipped Cream on page 458 of "Baking," and Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipe for Super-Stabilized Whipped Cream on page 256 of "The Cake Bible," and added coffee and Kahlua for flavoring. Here's my recipe:
Coffee-Kahlua-White Chocolate Whipped Cream for a 3-layer 6-inch round cake
2 cups heavy cream, cold
4 ounces good-quality white chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons water
4 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 1/8 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
3 tablespoons Kahlua
Place the white chocolate and 6 tablespoons of the cream in a heatproof bowl and set over hot water. Stir frequently until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Do not overheat. Remove from heat and let cool.
Mix water and espresso powder until there are no lumps. Sprinkle gelatin over the top and let sit for 5 minutes until gelatin swells and starts to dissolve. Set over the hot water and stir until gelatin dissolves and mixture is warm. Stir into white chocolate mixture.
Once the white chocolate mixture is fairly cool, stir in Kahlua. Wait until mixture is room temperature before beating cream.
In chilled bowl with chilled whisk or beaters, beat the cream just until the marks of the beaters remain on top. Beat in the white chocolate mixture in a steady stream. Continue beating until mixture forms firm peaks. Place in refrigerator to chill for a little while.
Split the cake layers as in the recipe. Brush each one lightly with Kahlua (for my smaller cakes, it took about 1 teaspoon per layer). Fill generously with the whipped cream, frost sides and top lightly, and place in refrigerator to chill and set.
Add more frosting to sides and top (you may have a little left over--I had just enough to fill two small custard cups) and decorate with cake crumbs as per recipe. (My cake crumbs were very moist, so I took a tip from Lauren on the Problems & Questions page and toasted them lightly. Great idea!)
The contrasts of dense cake, crunchy crumbs, crunchy chopped chocolate bits in the cake, and smooth creamy frosting were wonderful!
By the time this is posted, we'll be on an airplane headed for Mexico! So I probably won't be able to do next week's recipe. I hope to post some pictures from our trip. In the meantime, please check out everyone else's cakes -- I bet they're fabulous!