Takes the Cake: One baker's thoughts on a scrumptious devil's food cake recipe

Takes the Cake: One baker's thoughts on a scrumptious devil's food cake recipe

My baking co-worker, Erin Lippitz, has written another guest post for me. I'm going to start calling these guest posts "Takes the Cake," so people can tell they're from Erin by the title. Today, Erin tried making this Design*Sponge recipe for Devil’s Food Cake with Whipped Biscoff Ganache and Chocolate Shards. Although in Erin's case, it turned into Devil's Food Cake with Whipped Nutella Ganache.

I sampled a piece Monday, and let me assure you - you're going to want to try making this, or recruit your favorite baker to do so.

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I'm the cake person in my family. If there's a family reunion, birthday party or general family gathering, I can be counted on to supply a sweet, cakey confection. I love baking and decorating cakes and it's kind of become my gimmick.

So when my husband and I participated in his high school's trivia night in Alton last weekend I, of course, decided to make a cake. This event raises money for the school and is heavily attended by alums, their parents and the community at large. My mother-in-law gathers a team of eight, including whichever of her kids can come plus their spouse and other friends and/or family. My husband and I go every year.

Now a dark chocolate cake with a milk chocolate ganache frosting and chocolate shavings is probably not what you would expect someone to bring to an event like this. The majority of tables have pizza delivered or chow down on taco dip and chips. But I had the ingredients and I needed to use the heavy cream before it expired.

I told my husband what I was making and showed him a picture of what it would eventually look like.
 "Don't you think we should get some nice cheeses from Cheese and Crackers to go with this beautiful cake?" I asked imagining our table full of sophisticated relatives nibbling imported cheeses while trying to come up with the capital of Canada.

He stared blankly at me.

"What for?" he asked incredulously. "They have beer and pretzels."

Because apparently you can't get any classier than beer and pretzels.

The cake turned out beautifully. My in-laws couldn't wait to cut into it once we got seated at our table. My sister-in-law even began picking the chocolate shavings off to munch on. If you use a dark cocoa for the cake batter as I did, your cake will turn out almost black. My in-laws eyes widened when they saw the inside. You could almost see the thought bubbles appear over their heads, "CHOCOLATE!"

If you are accustomed to making cakes from scratch then you'll find this one fairly simple. But here are few tips anyway:

Be careful not to over whip the ganache once you get it in the mixing bowl. Don't treat the ganache like you would egg whites for a meringue, you may end up with pudding. If this happens don't worry. Just popped it in the fridge for a few minutes and it'll be perfect. It should have the consistency of mousse. Also, I used a jar of Hazlenut Nutella (in place of Biscoff) and it worked great.

If you're like me and don't have a double boiler (it really is necessary for melting the chocolate pieces), you can rig one up with a sauce pan and a glass mixing bowl. Fill your pan with a few inches of water and set your bowl over the top. The bowl should be large enough that it doesn't sit down in the water, it should be suspended above it. It's the steam from the boiling water that will melt the chocolate into a smooth consistency.

One last tip: When making the chocolate shards, use the amount of chocolate the recipe says. I didn't think it looked like enough so I added quite a bit more. Trust me, it's enough chocolate.

This isn't your standard-looking cake. Once you get the chocolate shards on the sides and on top it ends up looking very unique. I hadn't seen anything like this until I attempted this recipe. It's also incredibly delicious. And I'm not a fan of chocolate cake.

By the way, we won second place in trivia.

Photo is from the orignial recipe back at Design*Sponge.

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