You can’t beat a traditional Devils Food Cake. If you are anything like me, you wonder where some of these names for cakes come from. Devils Food is considered the opposite to Angel Food Cake – the light and airy sponge cake that my father loves. Devils Food is moist, rich and airy. The recipe first appeared in the early 20th century.
I bet you are now wondering what distinguishes Devils Food from regular chocolate cake. I was curious too. Some of the earliest recipes for Devils Food call for the inclusion of shredded cooked beets. These add moisture and give the cake a red tinge. Sounds a lot like Red Velvet cake, right? Red Velvet cake is generally topped with a white icing, where Devils Food calls for chocolate icing. Also, Devils Food will use cocoa or as in this case, shredded chocolate, as opposed to melted chocolate.
Over the last 100 years, the recipes for Devils Food and standard chocolate cake have become almost interchangeable, so another way to distinguish if you have a true Devils Food recipe is the inclusion of baking soda. This will up the ph of the cake batter, causing it to turn a bit more red – something about the reaction between the baking soda and the cocoa. Anyone who thinks baking is nothing like a chemistry experiment has never baked from scratch, heh.
This particular recipe is typical for the 20th century homemaker, in that she knows exactly what to do here. For those who aren’t as experienced, I have included my thoughts below in italics.
Devils Food Cake (May Rosemont)
1 cup grated chocolate, 1/2 c sweet milk, 2/3 c b[rown] sugar, 1 teasp vanilla. Beat together & boil 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 2 eggs beaten separately, 1/2 cup milk, level teas soda, 2 cups flouer [sic]. Add choc when cool. Bake in 2 layers , cover with choc icing.
Combine the grated chocolate, sweet milk, 2/3 c brown sugar & vanilla. Beat all together and bring to a boil.
Mix together the remaining ingredients, then add the chocolate mixture when it has cooled. Continue with baking as usual. 350 for 30 minutes, check for doneness with a toothpick.