Vintage Recipes

Vintage Recipe: Devils Food Cake

Baking has always intimidated me a bit… okay… a lot. So, it came as a huge shock to me when I suddenly found myself with an urge to tackle vintage recipes. You know the type, jello molds, tomato soup cake, those things you see pictures of in mid-twentieth century ads and wonder just how things like that were made. In fact, it is this which served as the inspiration to build this website. Some of these recipes might be movie related, other times they will be simply something I stumbled upon, which I had to try.

I actually stumbled into this week’s recipe in my grandmother’s recipe. Granny wasn’t much of a cook, so when I say recipe, I mean newspaper article pasted into one of her childhood journals. This is a devil’s food cake from scratch.

Looking at the clipping, it seems to almost to be part of an advertisement (potentially for Crisco?). It does describe a greased cake pan as “Criscoed”.

Now, I’ve been playing with scratch cake recipes for the last few weeks, but this is probably the first time I’ve played with Crisco as an ingredient.

Now… that actually wasn’t too terrible at all! The recipe treated me well for the early stages. All the ingredients go together well, and end up feeling quite “cakey”. (Is that a word). Okay, I am cheating here with my new fangled electric mixer… however, I digress.

Lots of sugar… figures I start my baking during New Year’s Resolution time…

Now, it turns out the trickiest part for me would be melting the chocolate. I went with a fairly standard Godiva baking bar (60%). I found myself immediately faced with two options.

1.) Use the “melt butter” setting on my microwave.

2.) Just wing it and pick of time.

Well, listen to me faithful readers. I started on option 1. However, patience is not my strong suit. The fourth time I selected the melt option (my microwave apparently really doesn’t know how long it takes to melt chocolate), I put in an arbitrary 2 minute time. It seems chocolate doesn’t like that… at least that’s what the smoke and darkening chocolate told me. To make a long story short… use short intervals, kids.

The middle portion of this recipe actually proved to be quite the marathon. Sifting 3 cups of cake flour and the other dry ingredients took quite a bit. Maybe I was being a bit too cautious, but by the time I added the butter milk, it all came out well. No, I opted out of using the sour milk option. Not sure I’m quite there yet.

I cheated in one more area, I made the cake in a bundt as opposed to rounds. Since I was winging it, I didn’t clock the specific time and instead decided to check after every ten minutes. However, when all was said and done, it didn’t feel much different from the 30 minutes on the recipe. I also kept the oven temperature at 350 degrees (F).

Ultimately, this was a good bake! It held together well and received enthusiastic response. Instead of the icing listed above, I opted for a simple dusting of powdered sugar.

Devil’s Food Cake seems like it isn’t the same best descriptor as it wasn’t the most chocolatey. This is the first cake I’ve tried using actual chocolate as opposed to cocoa, and brings a much more subtle taste. As such, it would be really interesting to try the bake again, using different chocolate types.

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