Thursday, April 08, 2010

Devil's Food Cake Cockaigne from Joy of Cooking

My favorite chocolate cake, hands down. This is the quintessential American chocolate cake that you want for your birthday. The recipe is word for word from Joy of Cooking, although I have added a few tips of my own, like lining the pans with parchment paper.  Don't be tempted to skip this step. It ensures that your cakes will come out of the pans without any problems. Why go to all this trouble and then leave half the cake stuck to the pan--never a good thing. I always top this with Julia Child's buttercream frosting. 

A reader posted the following about cupcakes-I made the Cockaigne cake last night as cupcakes. Mine were made in standard muffin tins, but with extra tall liners I get at Hobby Lobby (Crafts Etc.). I baked mine at 350 for 20 minutes and they were perfect. Made 15, but I should have used less batter and made about 17. Bake time would have decreased a little. My Joy has both this recipe and the cocoa recipe. The cocoa recipe is also called Devil's Food, but doesn't have the Cockaigne term in the name. on Devil's Food Cake Cockaigne from Joy of Cooking

Preheat oven to 350.

Take everything out of the fridge, so that it can come to room temperature.

Prepare your cake pans:  *Cut 2-9" rounds of parchment paper to fit the bottoms of your pans. If you don't have parchment paper, use Release Aluminum Foil or wax paper. Don't skip this step! Spray your pans with Baker's Joy or butter & flour them.  Then place the parchment paper in the bottom of the pan.  Then spray it with Baker's Joy. *To cut the rounds--tear off a piece of paper large enough to cover your pan. Fold in 1/2, then 1/4, then 1/8, then 1/16.  Set the point in the middle of the pan and eyeball where you need to cut. Crease to mark it and then cut. Unfold, and --this always seems like a miracle to me--you have a perfect circle.  If it's too big, refold and cut it a little smaller.

Cook and stir in a double boiler--over not in--hot water:
4 oz. dark chocolate
1/2 cup milk (not skim)
1 Cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg yolk

Remove from heat when thickened. Sift before measuring:
2 cups cake flour
Resift with:
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt

Sift:
1 cup sugar

Beat until soft:
1/2 cup butter (preferably unsalted)
Add the sugar gradually.  Beat until very light and creamy. Beat in, one at a time:
2 egg yolks

With mixer on slowest speed, add the flour to the butter mixture in 3 parts, alternating with thirds of:
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Stir the batter until smooth after each addition. Stir in the chocolate custard.  Whip until stiff, but not dry:
2 egg whites
Fold them lightly into the cake batter.

Pour into prepared cake pans and bake about 25 minutes. They are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Remove the cake pans to a rack and let cool before turning the cakes out on to racks to finish cooling.  Don't try to ice them until they are thoroughly cool, otherwise your icing will melt and slide off.
 

17 comments:

  1. Hmmm... My Joy of Cooking (1997) has a completely different recipe.... and so far, although I've achieved consistent results, they are consistently disappointing. The cake falls.

    To illustrate how different the 1997 version is, consider this: It calls for cocoa, not chocolate (and there is no custard making step!), it calls for yogurt (or buttermilk) not milk and water, and it does NOT call for two egg whites at the end.

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  2. D.W., I'm so sorry that your recipe has not succeeded. I have used this one for years(about 40). I hope that you have better luck with this one. Make sure that you line your cake pans!

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  3. I have a 1975 version and the book has both. The cocoa recipe is right after the one illustrated in this article.
    Joy has been known to alter their recipes over the years by taking out some recipes or modifying them to make them more modern.
    This recipe yields amazing results.
    Hope this helps!

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  4. You're absolutely right. I have 3 versions of Joy of Cooking--from WW2, the 1950's, and the 1970's. They are all somewhat different. I'm so glad that you, like me, love this cake. I've made a lot of great birthday cakes with this recipe.

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  5. I too find this a wonderful recipe and the most satisfying chocolate cake I make. I live in England and can’t get cake flour so I use plain flour cut with cornflour (2 cups plain flour minus 4 Tbs plus 4 Tbs cornflour).
    Because I sometimes need a smaller cake than this recipe yields I have found halving the recipe and baking in 2 6” pans works well.

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  6. Anonymous4:26 AM

    This has always been my favorite chocolate cake, with a close second being the Moosewood Mississippi Mud Cake (but don't make that with fancy chocolate, make it with grocery store chocolate!). In fact, this cake is the reason I keep my shredded copy of the 70's Joy.

    I have tried the Joy cocoa-and-buttermilk Joy cake and been very disappointed by it. But the custard-based recipe you cite here has failed me only once: when I mistakenly used pastry flour instead of cake or all purpose flour. This is great with all-p.--just take out 2 T of flour.
    Cindy

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  7. Anonymous1:54 PM

    This is my go-to chocolate cake recipe. Have make it many times for various occasions. I often halve the chocolate to make a light chocolate cake. Love that!

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  8. Anonymous5:09 AM

    Can these be made into cupcakes?

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  9. I don't know why you couldn't try it. Joy of Cooking says to line muffin tins with cupcake liners. Preheat oven to 375 and fill cupcakes about 1/3 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let me know how they turn out.

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  10. Anonymous6:40 AM

    I made the Cockaigne cake last night as cupcakes. Mine were made in standard muffin tins, but with extra tall liners I get at Hobby Lobby (Crafts Etc.). I baked mine at 350 for 20 minutes and they were perfect. Made 15, but I should have used less batter and made about 17. Bake time would have decreased a little.

    My Joy has both this recipe and the cocoa recipe. The cocoa recipe is also called Devil's Food, but doesn't have the Cockaigne term in the name.

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. Anonymous12:42 PM

    What is."dark chocolate" in this recipe?

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  13. I've always used baking chocolate (unsweetened chocolate), but you could also use bittersweet.

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  14. Anonymous12:06 PM

    Thanks, Kathy. I'll use the 100% then!

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  15. Anonymous2:02 PM

    I have made this cake through the years with much success. However, almost 17 years ago, I moved to a high altitude town (3700'), and have sometimes had a hit or miss success rate with certain baked goods. My cakes fell in the middle this time, and I am wondering if it was due to the altitude. I did not preheat my oven correctly though, putting the pans in when the temp was 345 degrees. Also, I set my mixer on medium speed when adding the flour. Both of these could've been the culprit as well since I did a little research afterwards. (Over mixing and oven not hot enough). I am still wondering though, if the altitude here has anything to do with that as well. Otherwise, the cake turned out delicious just not as pretty!

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    Replies
    1. You may have already read Joy of Cookings advice on high altitude baking. It recommends, among other things, underbeating the eggs and raising the temp 25 degrees. If you are above 5000 feet they list additional things to do. Good luck!

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  16. You may have already read Joy of Cookings advice on high altitude baking. It recommends, among other things, underbeating the eggs and raising the temp 25 degrees. If you are above 5000 feet they list additional things to do. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete