One-Bowl Devil’s Food Layer Cake With Milk Chocolate Frosting 16.000

Jennifer Chase for The Washington Post

Book Report Jul 25, 2017

If you crave the kind of moist, rich chocolate cake that all but requires a cold glass of milk, this is it. Even better, it’s basically dump and stir. Covered, the cake will keep for 24 hours before serving. After cutting, wrap leftover slices individually and store at room temperature for up to 4 days more.

Pastry chef Stella Parks prefers Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt and Gold Medal All-Purpose Flour for this recipe.

Make Ahead: The frosting needs to be well chilled, either for 1 hour in a sink of cold water or in the refrigerator, for 6 hours. The frosted cake can be covered and kept at room temperature for 24 hours. Individual, wrapped leftover slices can be stored at room temperature for up to 4 days.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 16 servings; makes one 8-inch, 3-layer cake

  • For the cake
  • 24 tablespoons (3 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) black coffee or black tea, such as assam
  • 1 cup (3 ounces) Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cups (6 ounces) finely chopped dark chocolate, about 72 percent
  • 2 cups loosely packed (16 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (see headnote)
  • 6 large eggs, straight from the refrigerator, plus 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) egg yolks (from about 3 large eggs)
  • 2 cups (9 ounces) flour (see headnote)
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • For the frosting
  • 3 3/4 cups (20 ounces) finely chopped 35 percent milk chocolate (see headnote)
  • 3 cups (24 ounces) heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (see headnote)


For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line three 8-by-3 inch anodized aluminum cake pans with parchment and grease with cooking oil spray; if you don't have three pans, the remaining batter can be held at room temperature for 90 minutes. (The cakes won’t rise as high in 2-inch pans.)

Combine the butter and coffee in a 5-quart stainless steel pot over low heat. Once the butter has melted, remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa and chocolate, followed by the brown sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Mix in the whole eggs and yolks. Sift in the flour (if using a cup measure, spoon into the cup and level with a knife before sifting) and baking soda. Whisk thoroughly to combine, then divide among the prepared cake pans (20 to 23 ounces each).

Bake (lower-middle position for the rack) until the cakes are firm, though your finger will leave an impression in the puffy crust, about 30 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center will emerge with a few crumbs still attached. Cool until no trace of warmth remains, about 90 minutes.

For the frosting: Place the chocolate in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Heat the cream in a 3-quart stainless-steel saute pan over medium heat. Once it's bubbling hard around the edges, pour over the chocolate; whisk by hand until smooth and stir in the salt. Let cool until the mixture is no longer steaming. Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or until thick and cold, around 45 degrees. (Alternatively, cool in a sink full of ice water, stirring and scraping from time to time with a flexible spatula, about 1 hour.)

Use the balloon-whisk attachment to beat the mixture on medium-high until thick and silky. This can take from 75 to 120 seconds, so watch it closely. It’s best to use the frosting right away; the yield is about 5 1/2 cups, all of which will be used for this cake.

When you're ready to assemble the cake, loosen the layers with a knife, invert onto a wire rack, peel off the parchment and then flip over to the original top. Trim the top crusts from the cakes with a serrated knife. Place one layer, cut side up, on a serving plate. Cover with a cup of the frosting, spreading it into an even layer with the back of a spoon. Repeat with the second and third layers, cut side down. Finish the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from “BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts,” by Stella Parks (W.W. Norton, August, 2017). CORRECTION: An earlier version of this recipe called for both baking powder and baking soda; only baking soda is used.

Tested by Jane Black and Kara Elder.

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