Tuesdays With Dorie: Devils Food White Out Cake

February 17, 2009

Update: OK, I was in the minority on this recipe…from what I’ve seen, most people liked it. I will make the recipe that I prefer and will post it for all to see. Give me a few weeks, but I’ll have it out there in March!

Finally, we made the cake that’s on the cover of the book!  Thank you Stephanie of Confessions of a City Eater! You can check Stephanie’s blog for the recipe.


Well how does my cake look on the cover of the book? Dorie’s was just too neat and perfect; I think this rustic, homestyle look is the new trend! I know that picture is small, but I was happy that I could do it at all – getting a larger version just wasn’t happening.

What I did: I didn’t modify the recipe, though I did make 1.5 batches of frosting. The picture shows so much frosting and I knew if I came up short, there was no way I was going to make another batch, so I made extra just in case.  I had leftover frosting, though not an entire half batch extra.  I probably would have been OK with a single batch, but the extra gave me one less thing to worry about.

How it went:  Brown sugar and boiling water in a chocolate layer cake? That was new to me.  I popped it in the oven, took it out when it was done, no cracking, came right out of the pan…all was well with the world. The instructions said that the layers should be cooled right side up, so I picked up the cooling rack, flipped a cake layer onto my hand, and flipped it back. But only part of the cake layer flipped back because the rest of it broke off and plopped onto the counter! Aaaaargh. Careless mistake.  I put the three pieces on the cooling rack, didn’t bother to try to flip the other layer (yes, I know I could have used a plate to flip it), and walked away. I didn’t cry and I was proud of myself for that. After it cooled, I wrapped the layers and put them in the freezer because I have an easier time slicing and frosting a frozen cake.


Fast forward to the next morning and I’m ready to tackle the frosting.  Two cups of coffee followed by boiling a saucepan of hot sugar syrup doesn’t make for a relaxing morning.  It took longer than I expected for the syrup to get to 242 degrees, and as I leaned in to check the thermometer, I found myself wondering if my glasses were adequate eye protection if the hot syrup went astray. Happily, I have no injuries to report.

In the meantime, I worked on the eggs.  I always thought that the cool people separated eggs using their hands, but I read about egg whites in Shirley Corriher’s BakeWise and she says that if you do that, your hand oil gets on the whites and they won’t have as much volume when they’re beaten. Well I don’t like getting egg on my hands so I don’t do that anyway, but it was an interesting tidbit!

I think I ended up whipping my eggs just a little bit too long; they quickly went from shiny to more of a spongy look, and BakeWise says that they won’t have as much structure if they’re overbeaten.  But the syrup and eggs came together and made a nice, fluffy, shiny frosting. Dealing with the broken layer wasn’t that bad:  I sliced each of the three pieces in half and reassembled them into one layer on the cake.   You know that perfect looking slice on the cover of the book? Here’s mine in real life.


How it tasted: Well, there was a lot of feedback. I gave half the cake to my parents and kept the other half for us.  My dad, who is a big time cake lover  gave the frosting a 0 out of 10 rating and the cake a 2 out of 10 rating. Room temperature or cold, he didn’t like it. My mom liked the frosting and and the chocolate chips in the cake; she said that the cake might be good as a trifle, layered with some whipped cream and cherries. I can’t argue with that idea.  My husband and I thought it was just OK when we ate a piece at room temperature and then liked it better straight out of the fridge the next day.  We also both liked the texture of the frosting a lot but thought it didn’t have enough flavor.  It didn’t hold up too well and the leftover cake was slumped over and sad looking the next day – possibly caused by overbeating the egg whites.

Hey! Why didn't I get to taste test?

Hey! Why didn't I get to taste test?

Would I make this again?:  No. Regardless of frosting preferences, there is another chocolate cake I make that we all prefer. If I have a dessert that I really like, I can hear it calling my name from the kitchen…this one was not calling my name!


  1. I’m sorry…I was so happy with it maybe I should try your chocolate cake !!

  2. Well, at least you gave it a shot. It looked pretty, though!

  3. Aww sorry it wasn’t a favorite! Funny, I prefered mine at room temp over the fridge version. At any rate at least you tried it 🙂

  4. Sorry that you didn’t care for it.

    I wish I had made the 7 Minute frosting instead.

  5. Sorry you weren’t a fan!!! I hated the frosting, too, but liked the cake! Well, at least you have another beloved chocolate cake recipe!

  6. Way to go for trying it every which way to see if you liked it! I broke many cake layers before I bought a second cake cooking rack…now flipping cake layers is a piece of cake (sorry, I had to pun!)

  7. Well it looks great! Nice job!
    Cute plate you have too!

  8. You were smart to make extra frosting. I didn’t have enough to make my layers as big as Dorie’s. And I agree, this was just alright – definitely wish the frosting had more flavor!

  9. Too bad this cake didn’t do it for you. It looks lovely, however. It is one of my favorites from the book – go figure.

  10. well, now you’ve got me wondering what your go-to chocolate cake recipe is! Is it something you’ve already posted? Inquiring minds want to know!

  11. For the time involved, it’s too bad you didn’t like the cake, but I agree with you – it was okay. Not fantastic, but okay. Maybe next week will be better!

  12. Oh, my, your picture on the cover is TOO FUNNY. I didn’t even notice it until you pointed it out. That’s how pretty your cake looks!!

    You had some tribulations with this one, including the ratings after tasting. I always use my hand to flip layers. It worked for me this time because I only had a 6″ cake. But I will remember to use a plate in the future!!

  13. I’m sorry it wasen’t a hit… strangely, it was at my house.

    Oh! well… yours looks pretty darn good, though!

  14. Well, it LOOKS fantastic – you did a great job. Especially on the frosting! And who cares about broken cake – it gets eaten anyways! Nice job!

  15. Good for you for rescuing that broken layer and I love your cover picture! I skipped this one because I could tell by reading it that it wouldn’t be my cup of tea, or piece of cake should I say.

  16. I’ve never made a filling/frosting with a texture quite as perfect and lovely as this one, but the flavor just wasn’t there for me, either. I’ll keep an eye out for your chocolate cake recipe next month!

  17. I can’t wait to hear about the better chocolate cake! I didn’t care for this meringue frosting, but I thought the cake was good. Yours looks great

  18. I thought it was good but not great. FYI, I leave my upside down to cool. As long as it’s going to be frosted, no one will ever know.

  19. It wasn’t my favorite but acceptable. I like the chocolate cake recipe on the back of the Hershey’s cocoa can.

    I felt almost bad that I didn’t love it. Funny how it’s hard to be in the minority at TWD sometimes.

    So anyway, now you know! I can’t wait to hear about the other cake you’re making.

  20. Your cake looks great. Sorry it didn’t work out for you.

  21. There is my Toby’s look-a-like!!! What a cutie!!

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