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Let Them Eat Cake … Devil’s Food that is!


Mile-High Devil’s Food Cake
Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting



My icing and decorating skills still need a lot of fine tuning … but remember until  recently I only made cakes in 9 x 13 pans!   I swear, I did everything short of pulling out a level to get this cake stacked and iced nice and straight.  But somewhere along the line a small bit of the “lean” factor crept back in.   My mother gave me a starter Wilton cake decorating kit for my birthday, so I pulled it out to add a bit of decoration to the cake in hopes of disguising any flaws.  ( Note to self:  When trying to use decorative icing as a disguise, make sure it is straight -not crooked- and make it is all the same size! )   I have learned  that a slightly crooked cake tastes just as good as a perfectly straight one, so for a while my cakes will taste better than they look!

Mile-High Devil’s Food Cake

From:   Sky-High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes
By:  Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne

Makes an 8-inch triple-layer cake:   (My cakes raised almost the full 2 inch height of my cake pans.)

1 cup of unsweetened cocoa  (not Dutch process)
1 and 1/4 cups of hot water
3 cups of light brown sugar: packed
2 and 2/3 cups cake flour  (1 cup of cake flour is equal to 3/4 cup of flour plus 2 tablespoons of cornstarch)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon of salt
9 ounces of unslated butter at room temperature  (2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons)
3  eggs  (I like eggs to be a room temperature.  I used large eggs.)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
3/4 cup of cold water

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans.  Line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper and grease the paper well.  (I always hate to have to stop and cut the parchment paper for my cake pans just before baking, so I sat down one evening and cut out many rounds of parchment to fit my 8 and 9 inch cake pans.) 

Place the cocoa in a medium bowl and add the hot water.  Whisk until smooth and let it cool down to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, flour, baking soda and salt.  With the mixer on low combine these ingredients.  Add the butter and the dissolved cocoa.  Then raise the mixer to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.  

In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, vanilla and cold water until combined.  Add this liquid to the batter in three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions.  Divide the batter among the three pans.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the cake almost comes out clean.  There should be a few crumbs still attached.  (At 35 minutes the cakes seemed like they had a long way to go to finish baking.  (My cakes took the full 40 minutes plus 7 additional to bake completely.  Cake tester had a few moist crumbs attached.)  Cool the cakes in the pans for 15 minutes.  Then invert and remove parchment paper and cool completely on rack.  (At 15 minutes as the recipe suggested, I attempted to remove cake number one from the pan and ran into a bit of trouble.  The cake was very moist and very fragile and half the cake broke up.  I waited until the other 2 cakes had cooled 25 minutes in the pans before I successfully removed them.)

So, now that you know I only had 2 and 1/2  cake layers, I can show you another picture of my finished cake.

My cake ... 2 and 1/2 layers !!!

My cake ... 2 and 1/2 layers !!!

Brown Sugar Buttercream   (I made 1 and 1/2 the recipe.)

5  egg whites
1 and 1/4 cups of packed brown sugar
1/4 cup of water
1 pound of unsalted butter  (16 ounces)  at room temperature

Place all the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer; set aside.

In a heavy saucepan combine the sugar and water.  (I used a small saucepan so that the bottom of the thermometer would reach the sugar water.)  Cook over medium heat stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Then bring to a boil without stirring and cook until the syrup reaches 238 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

Begin beating the egg whites on medium low speed.  Slowly pour in the hot syrup making sure not to hit the beater.  Increase the mixer speed to medium high and beat until the mixture has cooled to body temperature.  (Body temperature huh … I just kept touching the stainless steel mixing bowl until I thought it was just slightly warm to the touch.)

With the mixer on medium low add 1-2 tablespoons of butter at a time.  When all the butter has been added increase the mixer’s speed to medium and best until the mixture looks curdled or separated.  (It will look terrible … but don’t worry it comes together to form a beautiful smooth frosting.  It seems to happen in just an instant.)  Continue to beat until the icing comes together again looking like soft smooth whipped butter.

ASSEMBLING THE CAKE:  Place one layer flat side up and cover it with 2/3 cup of frosting.  Top with second layer and repeat process.  Top with third layer and frost the top and sides of the cake.

AUTHOR’S NOTES:  A cake made with Buttercream frosting can be kept in the fridge for about 3 days.  Make sure you allow the cake to come to room temperature for 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours before slicing.  The icing will be hard and heavy just out of the fridge.

Mile High Devil's Food Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting

Mile High Devil's Food Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting


Grab a fork!

Grab a fork!


8 Responses

  1. OMG this is absolutely beautiful! Holy moly!

  2. Wow! I would never ever dare such a tall cake.

    Looking forward to your weekend biryani. Good luck 🙂

  3. Hahaha I love how you disguised the broken layer in the first photo! I never would’ve guessed! 😀

  4. LoL that is too funny! You are a born food stylist, I would never have guessed what was lurking (or lackin) around the back of the cake!

  5. I loved that a broken cake layer didn’t stop you from finishing the cake. Love the shot of your 2 1/2 cake, down to the frosting.

  6. Good thing I have an extending fork 🙂

    I love your 2 1/2 layers–looks scrumptious to me!

  7. Your cake looks wonderfully tall. I don’t think the half a slice on top matters – your buttercream looks so silky smooth

  8. Will you send me some of those parchment circles you cut out?? 😉

    You cake looks great, even with that crazy 1/2 layer!

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