Sunday, 15 January 2012

Weekly Bake Off: Devil's Food Cake

I'm really excited to participate in my first Weekly Bake off, the brainchild of Amy from Weekly Bake Off.  The premise is simple, to bake her way through Mary Berry's 100 cakes and bakes. A random recipe is selected by Amy every Monday and bakers have a week to bake and post a photo by Sunday evening. I bought this book months ago but due to other commitments was unable to participate at the end of last year. So I was really excited for the first January challenge which is a devil's food cake. However, all did not go to plan and I debated if I should post it or not. I think I'm often too hard on myself and this blog is about sharing my experiences - good or bad. So I present to you the Lopsided Artistic Devils' Food Cake :) 

I made this in a hurry (I never learn my lesson!) which is partly what cause the downfall (no pun intended!) I had a really busy week but really wanted to bake this cake. I had to go to a friend's birthday dinner and drinks and had less than 2 hours to bake, frost and get myself ready for a night out! Could I do it? Well I do like a challenge so I decided yes. I whipped up the cake quickly and it turned out beautifully. I was a little nervous about the icing as it involves a sugar thermometer and the last time I tried making a meringue buttercream, it didn't turn out well. Sadly, I have not perfected the meringue buttercream. Perhaps I should have whisked it longer as it didn't stand in peaks. Remember I was against the clock here so I just put the icing on and left it to set while I had a great night out. When I got back at 1am, the top layer had slid off! :( 

The plus point is the cake is delicious!! It's quite a sweet frosting but it works well with the cake. The sponge was light and moist and you can taste the cocoa in it. I'm dubious about chocolate cake that uses cocoa powder rather than real chocolate but it worked well here. It's a good cake to bake to impress (if you get it right of course) 

A note on the frosting - it really does set very quickly so you have to be quick. I would also half the frosting recipe next time as I had a lot leftover. I think I didn't whisk it long enough to achieve the peaks. Any thoughts on this? 

 cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy - i could just tell the sponge was going to be good :) 

 ready to go in the oven 

 using my sugar thermometer 

 the lopsided cake 

 I like to call this my 'artistic cake' :) 

 Glad I still managed to get a layer slice so really if you didn't see the above pictures, you'd have been none the wiser :) 

Recipe from Mary Berry's 100 Cakes and Bakes Page 162-163 

For the cake 
55g cocoa powder
280g caster sugar
115g butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
175g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

For the American frosting
450g sugar
2 large egg whites 

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Grease and line 2 x 20cm sandwich tins.
  • Whisk the cocoa powder into 225ml water and set aside. 
  • Whisk the sugar and butter in a separate bowl until light and fluffy as shown. 
  • Add in the eggs until well combined. 
  • Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl.
  • Alternately fold in the flour and the cocoa mixture to the butter mixture.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the tins (I usually weigh mine).
  • Bake for 30 - 45 minutes until well risen and firm to touch.
  • Allow to cool in the tine for a few minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool completely. 
  • To make the frosting, heat the sugar with 135ml water gently until the sugar has dissolved.  
  • Next, bring it to a boil and boil until it reaches 115C/240F on a sugar thermometer. The mixture will bubble and thicken. 
  • Whilst you are heating the sugar, whisk the egg whites until stiff. 
  • Once the sugar syrup is ready, allow the bubble to settle then pour slowly into the egg whites, whisking constantly. 
  • Continue whisking until the mixture stands in peaks. 
  • Sandwich the cakes together with a LITTLE frosting (I used too much which caused the cake slide plus the frosting was not stiff enough).
  • Spread the remainder of the frosting over the top and sides. 
  • Work quickly as the icing sets rapidly. 


  1. It actually does look artistic! Looks tasty too...not a disaster after all! I think we've all been cursed by Friday 13th this week, no one seems to have had a good week of baking! :-)

  2. omg this looks soooo moist! Well done!

    Nom! x

  3. Meringue buttercream, eh? Sounds delicious... I've never heard of it actually... how does it set? Hard or soft?

    The cake looks delish - I'd totally go for a slice, even if you say it didn't turn out *quite* as you'd hoped :)

  4. You really are too hard on yourself, Ros. It is so difficult to keep up with life and then bake, blog and take pictures. I'm don't know how you do it. I know I can't!!!

    Your cake looks absolutely delicious. It reminds me of the Devil's Food Cake I baked oh so many times when I was a teenager. I never could get it to not slip away but I tell you, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

    Thank you so much for breathe, lol...

  5. I actually really like the lopsided look! It's unique and therefore interesting! Not to mention that I love art anyway!

  6. Your post has given me a smile on this dreary Monday morning. The picture of the slice of cake looks absolutely lovely - never mind the other photos!!

  7. It does look like a piece of art! As long as it tastes good, though, I don't care how it looks. Hopefully this week will be less crazy for you!

  8. Gloria - thanks :)

    Laura - thanks, it was very tasty :) and yes I'll blame friday the 13th!

    Nom - thanks :)

    Charles - it sets quite hard and is crispy like meringue. It is quite sweet though so be forewarned :)

    Louise - thanks for your kind words Louise, really appreciate them :)

    Mr Pineapple Man - thanks :)

    Mariam - thanks, i'm beginning to like it too - maybe its a new way of presenting cakes ha ha :)

    Rolling Pin Claire - So glad it put a smile on your face :)

    Cookie Sleuth - thanks and it definitely tasted good! :)

  9. Lop sided is good for when you got ready to go out and need the same style of cake when you get back after a few drinks :) You attempted the meringue buttercream oh brave one!

  10. Baker Street - thanks :)

    Cakeboule - LOL the lopsided look is growing on me :) talk about cake disasters! Still have not perfected meringue buttercream and I will not give up! ;)

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