Devil’s-Food Cake With Toasted-Marshmallow Frosting
Stella Parks developed this recipe for an all-butter triple-layer chocolate cake with a shockingly tender crumb and deep, fudgy flavor. The cake looks intimidating at first, but Ms. Parks's technique involves simply stirring all the ingredients together in a single 5-quart pan and then pouring it into 3 pans. Once they're cooled, level the puffy tops with a bread knife and put them together with marshmallow frosting for a true showstopper.
- Serves: 16 persons
- 1 ½cups (340 grams/3 sticks) butter
- 1 ½cups (354 milliliters) black coffee
- 1cup (85 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1 ¼cups (170 grams) finely chopped dark chocolate (about 72 percent)
- 2packed cups plus 1 tablespoon (453 grams) light-brown sugar
- 1tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 6large eggs
- 3large egg yolks
- 2cups (255 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1tablespoon baking soda
- 1cup (226 grams) egg whites
- 1 ¾cups (340 grams) sugar
- ½teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¼teaspoon vanilla extract
Step 1Place oven rack in the middle position, and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 8-by-3-inch anodized-aluminum cake pans with parchment paper, and grease them.
Step 2Combine butter and coffee in a 5-quart saucepan, and set over low heat to melt. Remove from heat, and whisk in the cocoa, chocolate, brown sugar, vanilla and salt, until there are no lumps of cocoa or unmelted chocolate. After mixing, add the eggs and yolks, and whisk well to combine. Sift flour and baking soda right into the pan, then whisk thoroughly to combine, making sure there are no pockets of flour. Divide batter among the three cake pans (about 23-24 ounces each).
Step 3Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cakes are firm, but a light touch with a finger still leaves an impression, and a few crumbs cling to a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake.
Step 4Set aside on a wire rack until the pans, and the cakes, are completely cool to the touch, about 90 minutes.
Step 5Fill a 3-quart pot with 1 1/2 inches of water, and place over medium-low heat. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg whites, sugar, salt, cream of tartar and vanilla. Place the bowl over the steaming water bath, and use a spatula to stir and scrape down the bowl, keeping the mass moving over the steam for about 10 minutes, or until a digital thermometer inserted into the mixture reads 175 degrees.
Step 6Place the bowl in the stand mixer with the whisk attachment, and whip on high speed until it quadruples in volume and turns thick and glossy, about 5 minutes.
Step 7Loosen the sides of the cakes with a knife and invert them onto a wire rack. Peel away the parchment paper, then flip cakes right-side up again. Use a long serrated knife to evenly trim the puffy tops off the cakes (set these aside for snacking).
Step 8Place one cake, cut-side up, onto a serving plate. Top with a cup of frosting, and spread it into an even layer with a small palette knife or the back of a spoon. Repeat with the second and third layers, placing these cut-side down. Finish the sides of the cake with remaining frosting, then lightly torch with a blowtorch, so the frosting turns golden brown.