The host is important because in true Eat Run Read fashion, I expect good snacks to go along with my book discussion!
In August I hosted our discussion of The Master and Margarita, a Russian classic about the devil taking over Moscow. I pondered my food-options…something Russian perhaps? But borscht and potatoes and dumplings didn’t sound too appealing to me (I’m sure there’s great Russian food out there, I just don’t know much about it). So instead I opted to take the devil angle of the book literally and make a Devil’s Food Cake with Raspberry Filling and Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.
Devil’s Food Cake is just another name for chocolate cake – probably called “devilish” because it’s sinfully rich and delicious. (Umm hello - if I were a devil I would eat this cake. And if I were an angel...I would still eat this cake!) Usually I make the classic Hershey’s chocolate cake, but this time I busted out a cookbook and made the All Cakes Considered Devil’s Food Cake.
And the frosting, oh the frosting! It was a stroke of absolute genius on my part. I made a classic cream cheese frosting, then added chocolate. Yowza! So smooth and delicious and not too sweet. Then I layered it with raspberry jam for that devilish little something extra.
This cake, and our subsequently well-fueled book discussion was a great success!
Devil's Food Cake
From All Cakes Considered by Melissa Gray (Chronicle Books, 2009)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup strongly brewed coffee
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cake pans, spraying and lining bottoms with parchment paper. (Or just spray and flour them.)
2. In separate bowl, hand whisk cocoa and coffee until smooth. Set aside.
3. Using mixer, combine shortening and sugar. Add eggs, beating after each. Add vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.
4. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder.
5. Add flour mixture and cocoa/coffee mixture alternately to creamed mixture. Beat until smooth.
6. Pour batter into prepared cake pans.
7. Place pans on rack as close to the middle as possible without touching. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cake tests done.
8. Cool for 10 minutes in pans, then unmold onto cake rack.
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese – room temp.
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup) – room temp.
½ cup cocoa powder
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk (as needed)
1. Beat butter and cream cheese until mixed.
2. Beat in cocoa and powdered sugar and vanilla.
3. Add milk and/or more powdered sugar until you reach a spreadable consistency.
To assemble cake:
1. Slice layers in half to make 4 layers.
2. Place first layer on plate. Spread with a thin layer of raspberry jam.
3. Spread with frosting.
4. Place next layer on top.
5. Repeat for all layers, and then cover the whole cake with frosting.