Monday, November 23, 2015

One of America's Favorites - Devil's Food Cake

Devil's food cake is a moist, airy, rich chocolate layer cake. It is considered a counterpart to the white
Devil's food cake with vanilla icing
or yellow angel food cake. Because of differing recipes and changing ingredient availability over the course of the twentieth century, it is difficult to precisely qualify what distinguishes Devil's food from the more standard chocolate cake, though it traditionally has more chocolate than a regular chocolate cake, making it darker. The cake is usually paired with a rich chocolate frosting.

Devil's food cake is commonly a dense, rich chocolate cake, quite different from other chocolate cakes such as the German Chocolate cake. It traditionally uses unsweetened chocolate baking squares in lieu of unsweetened cocoa powder. However, contemporary recipes more often than not use cocoa powder for its convenience over the more traditional chocolate baking squares. Also, because of its reduced amount of cocoa butter, cocoa powder has a more intense chocolate flavor than unsweetened chocolate. Moreover, the addition of coffee is frequently used as a liquid enhance the chocolate flavor. There are some recipes found that use hot, or boiling water as the cake's main liquid, rather than milk. One of the more famous Devil's Food cake recipes was called "The Vassar Devil" which was on the menu of the historic and now closed restaurant "The Treasure Chest." A competing recipe was the Wellesley Fudge Cake that uses a half pound of unsweetened baking chocolate, four ounces for the Devil's Food Cake and Four ounces for the Fudge Frosting. Devil's Food Cake historically is baked as a layer cake. Its antithetical counter part is the Angel Food Cake which is a very light, white cake that uses stiffly beaten egg whites and no dairy. However, the Devils Food cake is most often paired with vanilla, yellow cakes and the two combined may create a marble cake.

Devil's food cake is sometimes distinguished from other chocolate cakes by the use of additional
A Devil's food cake sliced into portions
baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) which raises the pH level and makes the cake a deeper and darker mahogany color. Devil's food cake incorporates butter (or a substitute), eggs, flour and less egg than other chocolate cakes. Devil's food cake was invented in the United States in the early 20th century with the recipe in print as early as 1905.

A loosely related cake is the red velvet cake. This cake was invented in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel In NYC. It is very popular throughout the US, but was a particular favorite in the south. Most red velvet cakes today use red food coloring but the unrelated addition of “red” to a chocolate cake’s name initially arose due to the chemical reaction of acid in unsweetened bar chocolate and natural (non-alkalized) cocoa powder in conjunction with an acidic liquid (generally buttermilk or sour milk) with an alkali (baking soda), which reveals the red anthocyanin, a water-soluble vacuolar pigment. (In contrast, chocolate cakes made with baking powder and a non-acidic liquid turn out blackish in color.) Near the beginning of the 20th century, these chocolate cakes became known as “red cake,” “red regal cake,” “red feather [as in light-as-a-feather] cake,” “feather devil’s food cake,” and “red devil’s food cake.” However, their slightly reddish-dark brown hue was quite different from and much duller than food coloring-enhanced red velvet.

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