Devil’s Food White Out Cake

What is not to love about this phenomenal cake?  A delicious, triple chocolate devil’s food cake with chocolate chunks folded in to the batter, layered with a fluffy marshmallow frosting.  For the finishing touch, one of the cake layers is crumbled and used to coat the outside of the frosted cake.  This is great because not only does it look awesome, it is probably the most no-fuss cake decorating I’ve ever done.  No need to worry about a smooth frosting job here – just throw on some cake crumbs and you’re done!

I did hit a snag while baking this cake though.  The original recipe recommends baking the cake in two 8-inch pans and then halving the cakes horizontally to end up with four layers.  I only have 9-inch cake pans, so initially that was what I used.  However, once out of the oven I determined that the layers were too thin to be halved (well, it could have been done, but I wanted them to look thicker) so I ended up baking two more layers, essentially doubling the cake recipe.  This ended up giving me just the look I was going for of a nice, tall cake, so I have altered the recipe below to reflect these changes.  However, if you have 8-inch pans, you can go that route (just halving the amount of cake batter.)

It seemed when the Tuesdays With Dorie group blogged about this cake, many of the members did not like the frosting.  Consequently, I wasn’t expecting to like it either, especially since I’m not a huge marshmallow fan but I wanted to at least try it.  I actually ended up loving it!  It was fun to make and had a fantastic thick, sticky-sweet texture.  It was definitely a hit all around, and one of my friends remarked that the combination of the cake and frosting made this taste like a giant Hostess cupcake!  My only comment is that if you want the frosting between the cake layers to be as thick as they are on the cover of Dorie’s book, I think you’ll need to increase the batch by 50-100%.  However, I really think that would be overkill and I think the current proportions of cake to frosting are just right.

WBW pic

I’m submitting this blog entry to the Got Milk? blog event hosted by Linda at  Make Life Sweeter.  Got Milk? is a blog event featuring any sweet item containing milk in honor of World Breastfeeding Week.  I think this is a very important cause to recognize.  If you have been reading my blog for a long time, you may remember my entry from last year when Andrew was only one month old.  At that time, breastfeeding was still incredibly difficult and challenging for me.  However, I’m happy to report that we made it to 11 months of exclusive nursing and even now at 13 months, we still nurse occasionally.  I know that not everyone is able to breastfeed and I also know how difficult it can be, but when it works out it is truly a wonderful thing.  So, I give you this delicious sweet treat in honor of breastfeeding.

Devil’s Food White Out Cake
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Yields 1 large 9-inch, triple layer cake
For the cake:
2 2/3 cups cake flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
20 tbsp. unsalted butter (2½ sticks), at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 cup boiling water
8 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

For the filling and frosting:
½ cup egg whites (about 4 large)
1 cup sugar
¾ tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

To make the cake, center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350° F.  Line two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment or wax paper.  Grease and flour the edges of the pans; set aside.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy.  Add the sugars and beat for 3 more minutes.  Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition.  Mix in the vanilla.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate.  When it is fully incorporated, add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (beginning and ending with the dry ingredients).  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix just until ingredients are incorporated.  The batter will be thick.  Working at low speed, mix in the boiling water (the batter will thin out).  Scrape down the bowl and fold in the chopped chocolate with a rubber spatula.

Divide the cake batter into four equal portions.  (I like to use four drinking glasses of the same size to accomplish this, to help ensure that all the cake layers will be the same size.)  Use two of the portions to fill the prepared cake pans and bake 25-30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge and turn the cakes out of the pans onto the wire rack and let cool completely.  Meanwhile, clean out the cake pans, reline them with paper and grease and flour the edges.  Bake the remaining portions of batter as before, and cool on a wire rack when finished.

To prepare the filling and frosting, place the egg whites in a clean, dry mixer bowl.  Have a candy thermometer at hand.

Put the sugar, cream of tartar and water in a small saucepan and stir to combine.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, cover the pan and boil for 3 minutes.  Uncover and allow the syrup to boil until it reaches 242° F on the thermometer.  While the syrup is cooking, start beating the egg whites.  When the syrup is at about 235° F, begin beating the egg whites on medium speed with the whisk attachment.  If the whites form firm, shiny peaks before the syrup reaches temperature, reduce the mixer speed to low and keep mixing the whites until the syrup catches up.  With the mixer at medium speed, and standing back slightly, carefully pour in the hot syrup, making sure to pour it between the beater and the side of the bowl.  Add the vanilla extract and keep beating the whites at medium speed until they reach room temperature, about 5 minutes.  You should have a smooth, shiny, marshmallowy frosting.  It is best used immediately.

To assemble the cake, crumble one of the cake layers into a medium bowl.  Place one of the cooled cake layers on a cardboard cake circle.  Spread a generous layer of frosting on top.  Top with a  second layer of cake, and again frost generously.  Finish with the third layer of cake.  Frost the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting (no need to frost neatly, since the cake will be covered in crumbs).  Sprinkle the top and sides of the entire cake with the cake crumbles, gently pressing the pieces into the frosting.  Refrigerate the cake for about 1 hour before serving.

Source: adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

23 Responses

  1. I have Dorie’s book and I saw these when they made them for TwD too. The cake is beautiful, but I have always wondered if the “crumbs” on the outside get dried out or if they stay moist. It’s actually kept me from baking it, even though I love the flavors in there and the appearance of the cake is wonderful.

    • Oneordinaryday,
      I wouldn’t worry about the crumbs drying out too much. I guess I can’t speak from experience because I gave all the leftover cake to the two birthday honorees, but in similar situations I have found that crumbs, cookies, etc. become more moist because they soak up a bit of liquid from the frosting. Just keep it in an airtight container. I did save the remaining cake crumbles to put on top of ice cream, and those were also delicious (despite the fact that they were not in contact with any moisture, just kept in an airtight container.)
      🙂 Annie

    • My gosh, that is a beautiful cake!

  2. I love that crumb decoration, I think even I could handle it 🙂 The frosting sounds delicious as well!

  3. That looks amazing!!! I love devil’s food!

  4. I had the exact same problem with the cakes when I made this! I ended up making two more as well. I did not have enough time to follow through with Dories frosting so I just made a seven-minute icing and it worked out great. It was really annoying when you bake/put everything away/clean-up and you then have to do it all over again!

  5. Oh wow it looks like the cover of Dorie Greenspan cookbook. It looks amazing!

  6. how wonderful! it is a beautifully written review and even prettier picture of a delicious cake. As a mother who did not nurse, I want to thank you for the diplomatic way that you phrased the subject of breastfeeding…not an ounce of judgement! Annie, you are truly precious and I love your blog and recipes!!!

  7. Mmmm I love Dorie and all her yummy desserts. Your cake turned out really awesome:)

  8. Way to go nursing for so long! I nursed my first son for 7 months before I had to stop for radioactive iodine therapy. 😦 I’m hoping to make it a whole year with my two-month-old this time!

  9. I LOVE no-fuss recipes especially if they are so delicious-looking as this one!!!

  10. YUM! I love this cake, my husband was thrilled when we made this for TWD, that frosting is awesome ;o)

  11. Yum! This was one of my favorite Dorie recipes. I could eat the frosting by the spoonful. Yours looks delish!

  12. I too love the chocolate cake part – sooo good. I go between that and the choc cake recipe in the Sky High cake book. I did try to make this frosting, and it tasted like burnt marshmallow, not good at all. I will try it again. When I did make this cake, I went with a whipped cream frosting and then topped it with a choc ganache on top and dripping down the sides. Got the idea of a “tuxedo cake” from the Pastry Queen cookbook. Talk about Ding Dong/Hostess Ho Ho heaven! Yum.

  13. The cake looks amazing! My husband’s birthday is coming up and I want to give this a try. I love cooking but I am kind of an impatient baker. If mine can come out looking half as good as yours, I’ll be thrilled. Your desserts all look heavenly!

  14. YUM! I really want to eat this right up. I’m glad to have recently gotten a candy thermometer.

  15. Love the cake crumbs for decoration, delicious cake!
    Thank you for joining Got Milk? again. Glad to hear the breastfeeding went so well.
    ps The round-up is finally up

  16. I just wanted to say, this cake is amazing! Also if you don’t have a candy thermometer (as I don’t) the temperature to bring the syrup mixture to before adding it to the eggs is called soft ball stage. A way to make sure it is the right temperature without having to actually measure it is to have a bowl of ice cold water next to you. Stick a small spoon in the cold water for a few seconds then quickly dip into the syrup and back into the cold water. If the syrup is the correct temperature it will form a ball, and when picked up the ball should flatten out.
    Annie, your site is on my favorites bar. I love it! Keep up the amazing cooking!

  17. […] Who – Annie of Annie’s Eats Where – Indianapolis, IN, USA What – Devil’s Food White Out Cake […]

  18. Hi Annie,
    I just made this frosting and while the consistency is beautiful, the vanilla flavor is way too strong and I had to throw it out 😦 Did you really mean 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or is it supposed to be a teaspoon?

    • Hi Kerstin,
      Yes, it really is supposed to be 1 tablespoon. I didn’t think the vanilla flavor was very strong at all, it just had a marshmallow-y taste to me. My friends all gobbled it up too, so it wasn’t a problem for us or our taste buds.

  19. Thanks Annie, maybe my vanilla is just overpowering or something. I think I’ll try it again with 1 teaspoon and see how it goes!

  20. Oh, I just thought of something else too – my vanilla extract bottle was almost empty and the cap top was slightly opened, so maybe some of the liquid evaporated and that’s what made it too concentrated. I’ll have to get a new bottle and try again! Anyway, thanks for your input and I hope you have a great weekend!

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